Ten days left to the ProZ.com 2015 international conference: “Supporting each other, learning from each other” Reply

The ProZ.com 2015 international conference is just ten days away. Translators, interpreters, students, sponsors, organizers and staff are getting ready to support each other, to learn from each other in the great city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Program and speakers

The conference will be a two-day event showcasing outstanding speakers and presentations on the most trending topics in the translation industry:

  • Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask… Answered – Konstantin Kisin
  • Drafting legislation in 24 languages – Hans te Winkel
  • Paradoxes of freelancing: maintaining individualism when belonging to a community – Marta Stelmaszak
  • The Challenge with being international – Doug Lawrence
  • The globetrotting freelancer: making the most of your work’s flexibility – Pavel Janoušek and Daniel Šebesta
  • What works for me, could work for you – Doug Lawrence
  • Top Secrets of Effective Proofreading – A powerful though underrated way to learn from each other – Francesca Airaghi
  • Social Media or Anti-Social Media: a lifestyle choice or a death sentence? – Erik Hansson
  • Famous for 10 minutes – Nigel Saych
  • Translators: Stand Up! Time to confront the devil – Sameh Ragab
  • Honing your expert skills and building an expert translator profile through cooperation with other freelancers – Anne-Charlotte Perrigaud
  • Teaching Translation Today and Tomorrow: Breeding the next generation of translators – Joop Bindels and Nathalie de Schipper
  • Training the client – Gary Smith
  • Work-life balance during illness: a freelance perspective – Ellen Singer and Joy Maul-Phillips
  • Internships and mentoring – Attila Piróth
  • The first steps of a graduate in the translation market – Fedde van Santen
  • Find your balance with the aid of technology (and some other great tips!) – Fernanda Rocha
  • TransQuiz – Gabriel Cabrera


For more information and details about each session, click here to view the entire conference program.

Social activities

In addition to the two full days of sessions, workshops, round-tables, interviews and whatnot, the international conference will also offer attendees the possibility to network and have fun by taking part in other social events:

  • June 11th – Pre-pre-conference powwow

Tour behind the scenes at Schiphol airport and a subsequent dinner at Vork en Mes, Hoofddorp.


  • June 12th – Pre-conference powwow
Kinderdijk windmills, near Rotterdam 1583279

A boat trip to Kinderdijk, a walking tour to Rotterdam and a ‘Rice Table’ meal.


  • June 13th – Gala dinner

Dinner at the Inntel Hotels Rotterdam Centre.


  • June 14th – Post-conference powwow

Dinner on the SS Rotterdam, an ocean liner.

For more details on social events planned, click here.

Conference package

This year, the conference organizer, Nigel Saych, and ProZ.com have put together a conference package that not only includes full pass to Saturday and Sunday sessions, and to the gala dinner on Saturday night, but also the following:



There are still a few seats left for the conference. To book yours, visit the conference page and click on Buy now next to the package that best suits your needs.

For special discounts, please contact site staff through the support center.


ProZ.com and the conference organizer, Nigel Saych, would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of this event:

SDL_logo Travod_new

Meet the ProZ.com 2015 international conference organizer: Nigel Saych Reply


Nigel Saych
ProZ.com member and conference organizer

This year’s ProZ.com international conference will take place on June 13-14 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, organized by Nigel Saych, a former teacher and professional copywriter, and now one of the most active professionals in Europe.

Nigel has been part of the ProZ.com community since 2006. With nine ProZ.com conferences attended –and impressive presentations in most of them– his first organized conference will certainly be, as he puts it: a great event!

“Conferences are the main face-to-face opportunities,” Nigel says. “Joining forces with other translators is the way I suggest to survive in a changing world.”

The conference will be a two-day meeting featuring nineteen speakers on the top floor of a great venue right by the waterside and overlooking the Erasmus Bridge and Rotterdam harbor. Four social events are also being organized for before, during and after the conference, including a gala dinner and a sightseeing tour.

Wanna know more about the conference? Click here to visit the official conference page or follow the event via social networks using the official event hashtag, #RotterdamConf.

And stay tuned for next week’s post on event topics and speakers.


Visit event page »            View event program »            View related social events »

Guest blog post: Last-minute solutions in official translations Reply

As an assistant professor and ProZ.com professional trainer, Jasmina Djordjevic has sought to share the knowledge that she’s gained over her 17 year career as a language professional with others. Jasmina has a PhD in Applied Linguistics, is an appointed and sworn translator, and has published numerous articles and books on the study of translation. 

In this guest post, Jasmina shares some tips and advice on the translation of official documents.

926659_r4b29510c59f40The translation of official and court documents, such as decrees, judgments, certificates, authorisations, Powers of Attorney, Powers of Authority, last wills, Retention-of-Title clauses, etc. belong to a separate field within the translation industry. As such documents are either crucial pieces of evidence in a legal process or the product of some procedures, official and court documents depend on accuracy and precision. Therefore, they adhere to a separate set of rules when it comes to solving specific issues, such as signatures, stamps, illegible text, errors, typos, etc. Although these rather small issues might seem insignificant to some translators, when not handled correctly, an illegible signature or stamp might be the cause of serious consequences related not only to the accuracy and authenticity of an official document, but also to an entire procedure where the document might be a piece of crucial evidence or otherwise important information.

proz-101-eventsMany translators with little experience in the area of translation related to official and legal documents, resort to different solutions when faced with things they do not know what to do with. Unfortunately, such solutions are mainly incorrect. The list provided here should be regarded only as an attempt to identify the most common problems a translator is faced with, offer some solutions how to resolve them and thus provide a comprehensive review of suggestions related to some of the afore-mentioned issues, such as illegible text, handwritten insertions, errors, typos, stamps, signatures, etc. The list is actually a compilation of instructions derived from various translation instructions and style guides included in so-called Purchase Orders (PO) that agencies supply translators with when assigning translation jobs to them. Hopefully, the translation business will find a way to standardise problematic areas in translations, thus transform these last-minute solutions into standard techniques to be used by all professionals in the business.

1. Illegibility
Illegible sections in the source text should be marked in the target text with the equivalent of the word “illegible” in the target language put in square brackets. For instance, in German that would be “unleserlich”. Yet, all pieces of text and all numbers that are legible, even if only part of a sentence, should be translated or reproduced whereas the illegible part should be put in square brackets and identified as illegible.

Target language = English
… the form of [Text illegible] is quite common…
28 [Number illegible] million Dollars

Target language = German
… die Form des [Text unleserlich] ist sehr verbreitet…
28 [Zahl unleserlich] Millionen Dollar

2. Omissions and errors in the source text
Any omission or error in the ST should be marked in the TT by writing the equivalent of “error in the original” or “omission in the original” in the TL in square brackets.

Target language = English
[Error in the original: … the text identified as an error in the original in the source language …]
Target language = German
[Fehler im Original: … der Text, der als Fehler erkannt wurde in der Ausgangassprache…]

An alternative would be to include a translator’s note, which should be kept to a minimum and be as concise as possible.
Notes should be presented as follows (using the equivalent phrasing in the target language):

Target language = English
[Translator’s note: … the text of the note kept to a minimum…]
Target language = German
[Anmerkung des Übersetzers: … der Text der Anmerkung, so kurz wie möglich…]

If the note is short it may be included in the main body of the text, but added in square brackets as indicated above. Longer notes should appear as a footnote or marked with an asterisk * (which may be numbered (*1) if there is more than one footnote). If the source language text contains its own footnotes, the remarks made by the translator have to be marked in a different way (for instance, by adding square brackets) and clearly indicated at the bottom of the page.

3. Stamps/seals, logos and signatures
The procedure with stamps and signature should be as follows:
The location of the respective stamp, logo or signature should be the same as in the ST. This will be achieved by typing the target text in square brackets into the area of the document approximately coinciding with the area of the original stamp, logo or signature. The type of the particular insertion has to be identified in the target language and all text appearing in the original stamp, logo or signature has to be translated and included in the square brackets inserted into the translation.

Target language = English:
[Stamp/logo: … translation of the text appearing in the original…]
Target language = German
[Stempel/Logo: …. Übersetzung des Texts im Original…]

Target language = English
[Signature: John Smith]
Target language = German
[Unterschrift: John Smith]

If the signature is illegible, the equivalent of “illegible” in the target language should be added in square brackets, if it is written in a different alphabet, it should be identified:

Target language = English
[Signature: illegible]
[Signature in Cyrillic: John Smith]
[Signature in Cyrillic: illegible]
Target language = German
[Unterschrift: unleserlich]
[Unterschrift in Kyrillisch: John Smith]
[Unterschrift in Kyrillisch: unleserlich]

4. Handwritten text
The procedure with stamps and signature should be as follows:
The location of the respective handwritten text should be the same as in the ST. This will be achieved by typing the target text in square brackets into the area of the document approximately coinciding with the area of the handwritten text. The exact wording of the particular piece of handwritten text has to be translated into the target language and included in the square brackets inserted into the translation.

Target language = English
[Handwritten text: … translation of text…]
Target language = German
[In Handschrift: … Übersetzung des Texts…]

If the text is illegible, it should be stated as explained above.

5. Abbreviations
Comprehensibility should be the main consideration of a translator working with official texts. When a foreign abbreviation unfamiliar to readers occurs for the first time, it is usually best to write out the full term followed by an appropriate abbreviation in the target language in round brackets.

Thus two things may be considered crucial:
a) Standard equivalent abbreviations in the target language should be used if they exist.
b) If no standard equivalent abbreviation exists, a translation of the term in full should be written out each time rather than improvising an abbreviation in the target language.

calendar-tileThanks to Jasmina for sharing this information with us!

If you enjoyed this guest blog post, be sure to check out Jasmina’s upcoming and on-demand training sessions on note-taking, oral interpreting, and the translation of official documents here: http://www.proz.com/translator-training/trainers/946/courses

As always, feedback and comments can be submitted below or via Twitter @ProZcom

Getting the most out of industry events: Part ten 2

This is the tenth –and last– post in a series of weekly blog posts with tips to get the most out of translation industry events (click here to see a full list of previous posts). As explained in the first part, tips are grouped into “before the event”, “during the event” and “after the event” for easy reference. Please feel free to post below and share your tip(s)!

After the event

Tip 10: organize your own event

As mentioned in the first part of this series, translation industry events are probably one of the most important parts in the marketing strategy of many language professionals. By attending conferences, workshops, seminars and other industry events, translators and interpreters not only get the chance to learn about new industry trends, but also to network with colleagues while promoting themselves. The same principle applies to organizing translation industry events, where organizers can not only learn and network with colleagues, but also do something different that enhances their translation business and professional profile.

So, what are the benefits of organizing a translation industry event? Why would anyone want to devote time and effort in setting up a conference, a seminar, a workshop? Initially, language professionals who have organized at least one translator event have reported the following benefits:

  1. Interaction with people from all around the globe.
  2. Networking not only within the local community, but also within the international translation community.
  3. Acquisition of new interpersonal and organizational skills.
  4. Relationship with companies, associations and other major players in the industry.
  5. Gained exposure.

Organizing an event is not for everyone though -it requires a great deal of time, responsibility and dedication. Willingness to interact with other language professionals and form relationships with them is a must, but organizers should also meet other criteria if they want to organize an event that has the purpose of providing language professionals with the opportunity to network, learn, expand their businesses and have fun. These criteria include:

  • Experience with industry events (as attendee, co-organizer or organizer).
  • Active participation in the translation community.
  • Reactive, responsive and collaborative attitude.
  • Task orientation.
  • Business understanding (keeping in mind that the organization of an event is a business investment for all involved, including for event attendees).
  • Creativity.

If you believe that you have all of the above and you would like to learn new skills, network with colleagues and market yourself, you may consider organizing an event for translators in your country. There are several ways to do it either individually or with the support of colleagues, private companies or associations.

Becoming a ProZ.com event organizer

Rather than seeking to organize events on its own in locations around the world, or on a variety of topics, ProZ.com normally seeks to provide others with the tools, support and promotion that they need to organize events.

Applied in varying degrees for various events and event formats, this “enabling” approach make it possible to offer low-cost events that have a local focus, or that delve deeply into a given topic. It also makes it possible for ProZ.com events to be held in many languages.


ProZ.com conferences, powwows, workshops and virtual events.

Utilizing both online and offline approaches, a variety of specific event formats have evolved at ProZ.com:

Powwows – informal meetings, usually carried out in-person, often over a meal.

Virtual events – events with planned agendas, carried out primarily online using video, chat, etc. (sometimes with a corresponding real-world component).

In-person events – events with planned agendas, carried out primarily in-person (and ideally streamed and recorded).

Events have been held with various other formats, and more formats (for example, hybrid formats that combine virtual and in-person elements) can be imagined and explored.

If you would like to give it a try at organizing an event with the support of ProZ.com, go ahead!

In the end, the translation industry is like other industries, in that it is important for professionals to have opportunities to learn, network and socialize among peers. Then why not get the most out of an industry event by organizing it yourself?

Have you ever organized an industry event or considered organizing one? 

Please share.

Summary of the ProZ.com 2014 international conference in Pisa, Italy Reply

It’s been a week since the ProZ.com 2014 international conference in Pisa, Italy, and I still wake up thinking about diversification, machine translation, negotiation, marketing and other translator challenges. Fortunately, I can see from social network comments and attendees’ feedback that I’m not the only one! Without a doubt, Sunday and Saturday sessions, lectures, workshops and social events not only offered those who attended the opportunity to learn, network and have fun, but also left us thinking about the conference main topic: Looking forward: skills, challenges and perspectives.

Twenty presentations, a sightseeing tour around Pisa, a gala dinner, two powwows and the presence of a great number of language professionals made this great conference. Translators and interpreters had the chance to meet colleagues, promote themselves, learn how to get the most our of their profession and have fun.


So, what now? If you attended the ProZ.com 2014 international conference in Pisa, Italy, you are invited to:

If you did not attend this conference, you can:

And don’t forget to sign-up for the 2015 international conference to be organized by Nigel Saych:

ProZ.com 2015 international conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands »

Or propose your own ProZ.com event.

Special thanks to Daniela Zambrini, an amazing event organizer and a great friend, to Valentina Pardini and Catia Argirò for their outstanding assistance, to speakers for sharing their time and knowledge, to sponsors for their support of the event, to Esther Zambrini for recording great conference moments with her camera, and to attendees for being there to make of this conference a huge success!

Looking forward to seeing you all again soon!


Getting the most out of industry events: Part three Reply

This is the third post in a “Getting the most out of translation industry events” weekly series. As explained in the first part, tips will be grouped into “before the event”, “during the event” and “after the event” for easy reference. Please feel free to post below and share your tip(s)!

Before the event

Tip 2: plan your event

Attending an industry event should be more than just showing up. Yes, signing up and being there are important, but these two may not pay off if not supported by some serious planning. Mind you that planning here does not entail flight and hotel booking, or finding a good friend who is willing to water your plants. Planning your event means preparing yourself to learn, network and have fun.

iStock_000017671802XSmallIf you are planning to attend an industry event, here are some tips for you to start making your own plans:

  • Carefully pick the sessions you will attend: check the conference program and the learning objectives of each session. Keeping in mind your own learning objectives and your business plan, sign up for sessions that will provide you with information that you don’t have and that could help you to improve your work and expand your business (i.e. presentations that you could not give yourself).
  • Prepare questions: once you have signed up for sessions of your interest, prepare a set of questions for which you would like answers. You may ask these questions during the QA portion of the session, or to the speaker during a coffee break or at lunch.
  • Know the speakers: familiarize yourself with speakers, know their names, their background and the presentations they will be offering. Remember that, even if you are not attending a given speaker’s session, you will still have plenty of opportunities to network with them and discuss topics of interest to both.
  • Know the sponsors: in general, translation industry events are sponsored by companies that are also part of this industry and that may offer a wide range of solutions to language professionals. Find out who is sponsoring the event you are attending and what they offer. Do they sell language services? If so, are they hiring? Do they sell translator software tools? Which ones? Can you get a demo for free?
  • Spot attendees with common interests: if there is a list of attendees available, search for colleagues working in your top language pairs and fields of expertise. Get their names and, if possible, contact them in advance and make plans to share a drink. Meeting with colleagues who have the same specialization could help you to learn more about your niche (rates, volume, types of clients, etc.).
  • Share your plan with others: now that you are familiar with sessions and have signed up for the ones that interest you, and you know the speakers, the sponsors and a few colleagues with the same interests as you, share your plans with other attendees. Let colleagues know the sessions you are planning to attend and why, the questions you would like those sessions to answer, the speakers you can’t wait to meet. This will encourage other attendees to do the same and set the tone for the event before it even starts. For more pre-event networking tips, see Getting the most out of industry events: Part one and Getting the most out of industry events: Part two.

Remember, if you want to optimize the value of attending an industry event, making plans before attending is as important as showing up that day (if not more!). Think of your plan as a strategy to achieve a return on your investment of time and money into an event. In the end, you will attend an event to network, but also to learn how to do your job better and more efficiently.

Do you make your own plan before attending industry events? 

Post below.

The next part in this series will discuss tips to develop a marketing plan before attending an industry event depending on your goal(s).

Translator training: Olga Arakelyan on the power of social media Reply

Olga_ArakelyanOlga Arakelyan is a freelance translator, teacher, and ProZ.com professional trainer. The courses she offers are centered around the power of social media marketing for freelance language professionals, and are geared specifically towards her Russian-speaking colleagues.

In this interview, Olga shares a little bit about herself, explains how social media marketing has worked for her, and tells us why you should be using Google Plus to promote your business.

MK: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you decide to become a translator, and what lead you to become a professional trainer?

OA: Hi Maria! First of all, thank you for inviting me for this interview! As you already know, I am a freelance translator and ESL teacher. I am married and have a 9 year old daughter. Since I was about my daughter’s age, I wanted to become an English teacher. It was my dream. So I pursued this dream and went to study at the foreign languages department of our local teachers’ training university. But during my second year in the university I also started working as a translator and interpreter at a local non-profit organization and I just never stopped translating (though I eventually stopped interpreting). I still like both teaching and translating and would never be able to choose one of them above the other. So I guess becoming a trainer was a natural step for me because I love teaching. Besides, I believe that with time I have gained valuable experience in the subjects I teach, and I am happy to help my students promote their businesses through blogging and social media marketing. There are quite a few social media courses and webinars for English-speaking translators, but there’s a definite lack of information in Russian about SMM specifically tailored for translators (our business is unique, so we have to test everything those SMM experts teach to see what works and what doesn’t, and adapt their recommendations to our reality and way of doing things). I thought my 4 years of SMM experience could be helpful to the Russian-speaking colleagues and the encouraging feedback I get from my students proves that I was right.

MK: The themes of your training sessions revolve around social media marketing for translators. Why should language professionals use social media to promote their services?

OA: When I was preparing for my first webinar on social media marketing for freelance translators, I came across some interesting statistics:

  • 81% of companies in the USA and Canada use social media.
  • In 94% of cases, the company managers consider their social media marketing a success.
  • 60% of entrepreneurs confirm that they find clients through social media.

And guess which businesses are the most active in social media? Exactly: it’s small and medium sized companies experiencing fast growth. Those are perfect clients for us freelancers! Large companies mainly work with translation agencies, but smaller businesses often prefer to work with individuals. So if they spend a big chunk of their time in social media, shouldn’t we? You know, to make it easier for them to find us? I’ve been promoting my translation services mainly through social media and blogging since 2010, made tons of mistakes and learned a lot of valuable lessons in the process. Social media marketing is now an inseparable part of my marketing and I am impressed with its results.

MK: Which social media platforms have you found most effective in promoting your business?

OA: My absolute favorites are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (I put them in this order based on their effectiveness for me. The situation can be different for others). I am also learning to use Pinterest and especially Google Plus and I can say that I like the latter network more and more each day.

MK: Anyone can use social networking sites to market their services. How can clients distinguish if these translators are actually suitable?

OA: Thank you for the question! Actually, that’s one of the concerns I hear over and over again from colleagues, especially experienced translators who have been marketing their services for a long time. Many of them think that social media marketing is evil because bad translators can turn out to be good marketers and can end up getting new clients. They think that our great work should be our best marketing tool. And I agree! I always say that we should all work like crazy on the quality of our work and never ever stop! But at the same time I want to ask my experienced colleagues: Do you know any good translators who hardly make ends meet because they don’t have enough work? I do, quite a few. So if my courses can help these great colleagues to make more money and build long-term relationships with new clients, I will be very happy. That’s why I am providing the training.

As for the concern that bad translators can also start marketing themselves and get jobs, I don’t worry about that. It’s not hard to spot a bad translator in social media by the content they curate and by their grammar and spelling. And vice versa, true expertise always shows itself by the content the person publishes in social media and by the way he or she writes. Oh, and by the way, even if a bad translator markets him or herself well and wins a project, I don’t think it should bother good translators. It won’t take long for a client to figure out that he or she was the wrong choice. Yes, these translators can use social media to win isolated projects, but they would never be able to build a long-term relationship with their clients. And how long can a person stay in the translation business if he or she is a bad translator? Maybe they can stay there for a long time, but I doubt that their business will flourish.

MK: In one of your upcoming training sessions, you’ll be discussing how translators can use Google Plus to promote their services. Why is Google Plus an effective tool for translators?


  • First of all, anything under the umbrella of Google should interest us. It’s a search giant and everything it does reflects on the search rankings. So if you aren’t on Google Plus, it’s high time to register! It’s more than just another social network, it’s also a platform, as well as the basis for all other Google products (or at least the majority). So your Google Plus activity impacts your search engine ranking. Which is surely good for you!
  • Google has developed useful tools for authors, like Google Authorship. It’s not hard to make your photo appear in Google next to your content, but it adds credibility and a personal touch to the search results, which can often help you win the trust of your colleagues and potential clients (that is, if you publish great content of course).
  • There are Google Plus Communities! It’s the service similar to groups on LinkedIn, with their own notifications and events, and forums to discuss different issues. I am a member of a couple translation-related communities and I like the level of activity I see there, so I am planning to become more active there, too.
  • There are Google Plus pages for brands and companies. So if you have established your own personal brand, setting up a page on Google Plus would be your next logical step! It allows you to post content not as a private person, but as a business entity. Plus your Google Plus page can have a physical address that is added to Google Maps! I think it is really neat.
  • The most obvious thing I haven’t touched upon yet is Google Plus circles. You can build many different circles and share your content with everybody, with all of your circles, or with specific circles of your choice. Thus you can be sure you share the right content with the right people. And the better content you share, the more people will add you to their circles because they will want to read what you post!

So yes, if you ask me, I’d say that Google Plus is surely worth our attention as freelance professionals. It is definitely a helpful tool in building our businesses, growing professionally and building relationships with colleagues and potential clients. And that’s what I am going to share at the upcoming webinar for Russian-speaking colleagues.

prozcom_trainingFor Russian-speaking professionals, Olga will be offering an upcoming course on Google Plus for translators. You can learn more about this session and register to attend here: http://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/10094. This training course is scheduled to take place on May 22nd.

You can also connect with Olga via LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or check out her blog at http://www.yourprofessionaltranslator.com/