News from the 2013 ProZ.com conference in Porto 2

This year’s ProZ.com International Conference is being held in the World Heritage city of Porto, Portugal, and I am having the pleasure of being one of the attendees, together with staff members Maria Kopnitsky and Jared Tabor, and more than 200 members! With 28 speakers and 30 sessions scheduled, this conference is one of the largest ProZ.com events organized in the last 5 years.

Attendees, as they arrived, getting ready for the opening session.

As the conference goes by, the organizers, Certified PRO Paula Ribeiro and members Maria Pereira and Rafaela Lemos, are working together with other language professionals to find the answer to a question that appears to be a major concern within the translation profession: “What are the new demands of the translation industry?” To address this concern, presentations on personal branding, SEO, the state of the industry and translation technology were offered earlier today. Sessions on meeting and keeping clients, CAT tools and ethical practices are reserved for tomorrow, Sunday 9th.

The social side of this event included so far: a photo tour, the visit to a cellar, a pre-conference powwow and the presence of Alejandro Moreno-Ramos, author of the MOX series, who was kind enough to take a couple of hours to autograph his books (thanks Alejandro!).

Alejandro autographing his books, “Mox” and “Mox II”.

Just a few hours ago, there was a gala dinner at Burmester Cellars, a cellar located in one of the most beautiful places of Vila Nova de Gaia. The food was great; the wine, exquisite; and the company, the best! Now getting ready for Sunday sessions and a post-conference powwow at Restaurante BibóPorto.

Click here to see what’s going on in this event in real time.

Congratulations organizers and attendees for this outstanding event!

Lucía

On taking a professional translator / interpreter career a step further 2

Something that cannot be said about the translation or interpretation profession is that it is a static one. Translation and interpreting –and the way these two activities are performed– have evolved throughout the years and continue to evolve, allowing language professionals to seek new challenges, inviting them to review their career plans from time to time.

Even if most language professionals feel good about what they have achieved, they may also feel compelled now and then to take their careers a step further. However, this step further may not always be that clear, and there are several options available that go beyond translation and interpreting.

One option translators and interpreters have if they feel like taking their careers a step further is the expansion of the services they offer. Expanding the list of services you offer to clients may involve learning a new language, adding a new field of expertise and even learning additional techniques such as subtitling or desktop publishing (DTP). Of course, adding a new service, like investing in anything else, means devoting time –and usually money– to getting it ready.

More…

Risk management in translation: ProZ.com knowledge base for translators, translation companies, and others in the language industry 2

Every business type is exposed to risks influenced by numerous factors and the translation and interpretation business is no exception. Regardless of the type of activity involved, everyone either offering language services or looking for language service providers is exposed so several types of risks that should be acknowledged if a reliable and successful service provider-outsourcer relationship is desired.

With this in mind, ProZ.com has been creating content and developing new tools with the purpose of helping translators, translation companies, and others in the language industry to learn about the different risks involved in doing business online and how to prevent them.

One of these resources, and probably the most widely used by service providers when assessing risks, is the ProZ.com Blue Board. The Blue Board record is the complete, searchable database of records made up of feedback entries posted by language service providers in connection with outsourcers they have worked with. For service providers, the Blue Board record has proved to be a great tool for assessing the reliability of specific outsourcers before accepting a job offer from them. For outsourcers, being listed in the Blue Board record with a good number of positive entries from service providers represents a great marketing tool. Outsourcers with a good Blue Board record report a higher degree of trust and shortened project launch cycles among those service providers who reference the Blue Board. More information about using the Blue Board record is available here.

Another great source of information in connection with business risks in translation is the ProZ.com Wiki. The ProZ.com translation industry wiki is an ever-evolving collection of articles about relevant, industry related topics, written and updated regularly by translators themselves. In this wiki, there are several articles on risk management, addressed both to language professionals and to outsourcers. Risk management-related wiki articles include the following:

For more information about the ProZ.com industry wiki, visit this page.

A recently released scam alert center is another potentially valuable resource for those seeking to manage risk when it comes to false job offers and other scams. The Translator scam alert center is an area used to provide organized, concise information regarding false job offers or requests and other scams which may be aimed at or are affecting language professionals and outsourcers. Information provided in the center is based in part on reports made by ProZ.com members through the online support system and in the ProZ.com Scams forum, and ProZ.com members have the option of subscribing to receive useful news and alerts of new scams as they are detected. The scam alert center is available here.

Finally, ProZ.com also offers its members a free webinar on “Risk management for translators and interpreters” on a monthly basis. This training session enumerates and explains risk management procedures that translators and interpreters should follow as part of their everyday professional activities. The schedule for these webinars is available here.

Regardless of the number of years a service provider or an outsourcer has been in the translation industry, risks are everywhere when doing business. However, the above-listed resources and tools have been made available by ProZ.com to promote not just professional practices, but also clear and concise information on the steps that should be taken to avoid risks when participating in the language industry. If you have any questions about these tools and resources, or if you need assistance with using them, contact site staff through the support center.

Guest blog post: “Work/Life Balance as a Freelancer”, by Konstantin Kisin 9

This is the first in a series of guest blog posts on the T.O. by member Konstantin Kisin. Konstantin has some valuable tips on communication, negotiation with clients, productivity, and striking a balance between life and work (be sure to check out the interview with him in last week’s podcast as well).

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“Work/Life Balance as a Freelancer”, by Konstantin Kisin

During the London workshop on Negotiation Skills, I asked the attendees to raise their hand if they felt they were “too busy” and more than 50% did. I then asked the group to answer the question of “How busy do you want to be?” and most people looked at me with a mixture of bemusement and disbelief!

You see, a lot of us think that the answer to this question is obvious: we “should” be as busy as possible. This belief is so ingrained that even when we notice the impact of being “too busy” on our lives (poor health, relationship problems, stress, mental and emotional suffering), we “get on with it,” “get through it,” “tough it out,” “try to stay on top of things” and so on.

As language industry professionals, we spend a lot of time with words and it can sometimes be useful to look at them very literally. Take the word “freelancer” as an example – whatever it means, one of the things it tells us is that a freelancer is someone who is free… or is she? Many of us become freelancers to enjoy the flexibility being your own boss can offer, and yet “having freedom” and “being free” are very different things. If you have the freedom to work your own hours but end up working 12 hours a day with little or no time off, you may not be as free as you think.

If there is one thing I know to be true, it is that the success of your business and your quality of life depend on the questions you ask yourself. Only if you can answer questions like “How much do I want to work?,” “What level of income do I want to have?” and “How do I need to change what I am doing to achieve this?” can you understand what you want and how to get there.

Many people who attend my webinars, presentations and workshops comment that the ideas we discuss apply to all areas of their lives, not just their business. This always delights me because I don’t believe you can separate the two, especially as a freelancer. Whether you are happy or unhappy, healthy or unhealthy, excited or bored, energized or tired, pleased or frustrated will affect how you treat your clients, how many mistakes you make, how you handle difficulties and misunderstandings, how motivated you are and all this determines how successful you are in your business.

In the next few blog entries and podcast interviews, I will share ideas and suggestions for achieving more of the balance you want in a way that creates more happiness, health, excitement, energy and freedom.

For now, I invite you to ask yourself these important questions and listen carefully to the answers.

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Stay tuned for the next guest blog post by Konstantin, coming soon!

Konstantin has done in-person workshops on this and other subjects, and some of his presentations can be seen in on-demand video format:

Guest blog post: What is CLAS? by Claudia Brauer 1

I’m happy to announce a second guest blog post from Claudia Brauer, this time regarding Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS).   You can see Claudia’s previous guest post here.
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What is CLAS? by Claudia Brauer

CLAS is the acronym for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services. The term was originally born from the Office of Minority Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In the United States, CLAS Standards for healthcare fall within varying levels of stringency, including federal mandates, general guidelines, and recommendations in three frameworks: Culturally Competent Care, Language Access Services, and Organizational Supports for Cultural Competency.

Although initially CLAS referred to the healthcare industry in America, the concept has acquired a much wider application and has been adopted, adapted and localized by other countries and by many government agencies throughout the world. Additionally, similar standards have been adopted by others in the public and private sectors, including the legal environment, the educational establishment, financial services and the business world in general.

Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services, CLAS, encompasses a group of policies, behaviors and attitudes that allow professionals, companies, and government agencies to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. CLAS also refers to services that are respectful of the beliefs and practices of diverse populations and are responsive to the cultural and linguistic needs of those individuals, requiring workforce and providers to acquire or enhance their ability to understand and respond effectively to multicultural clients and patients.

One of the most interesting definitions of Culture and Competence states that: “Culture refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups. Competence implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities.”*

(*)[The Office of Minority Health, U.S. DHHS, “What Is Cultural Competency”. Definition “based on Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis K., & Isaacs, M., (1989). Towards A Culturally Competent System of Care Volume I. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Child Development Center, CASSP Technical Assistance Center” http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=11.]

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In an association between ProZ.com and Claudia Brauer, starting August 16 a new Bundle of 5 sessions on CLAS concepts will be provided. These CLAS Online Workshops are intended for working and aspiring translators, interpreters, and linguists working in the Global Village of the 21st Century.

  • August 16: Cross-cultural communication
  • August 23: “CLAS” healthcare standards
  • August 30: “CLAS” – privacy and confidentiality
  • September 6: The Hispanic market
  • September 22: “The Tribal Mentality (in the Global Village of the 21st Century)

Interested individuals may register at: http://www.proz.com/translator-training/topic/Interpreting

Guest blog post: Interpreting in the Global Village of the 21st Century, by Claudia Brauer 6

Today’s guest blog post is from Claudia Brauer, who writes on the subject of interpreting. See more information about Claudia at the bottom of this post:
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Interpreting in the Global Village of the 21st Century, by Claudia Brauer

Let’s start with the basics, because sometimes there is no clear understanding about the fundamental differences between translation and interpretation in today’s multilingual language industry.

Translation is the conversion of a text in a source language to its equivalent text in a target language. Translators must accurately translate the meaning of the concepts represented by written words, with fidelity, coherence, transparency and equivalence. Most translating efforts occur using a computer, they are received and submitted electronically, done with the help of computer-assisted translation tools (CAT) and are edited, proofread, corrected and formatted via computer.

Interpretation relates to the verbal rendering of a message from a source language into its approximate equivalent in a target language; for the interpreter to appropriately convey the message that the speaker is directing to the recipient, he/she must not only transform the spoken words and the immediate meaning of their thoughts or expressions, but must also take into account feelings and intention, as well as tone, register and speed of speech. Most interpreting takes place in real time and in person, be it face-to-face, or by phone or video.

A few months ago, InterpretAmerica Co-President Barry Slaughter Olsen addressed the members of the National Judiciary Interpreters and Translators Association, and stated, “Speech is perhaps the most human of all forms of human expression. And that is what makes human interpreters essential. In an increasingly interconnected and multilingual world, the demand for professional language expertise will only grow, in some cases exponentially…” (*1) This is wonderful news, supported by serious research.

First, let’s talk about speech. It is speculated that there are some 7000 languages in the world, yet only 2000 of them have a writing system and, of these, in many countries less than half the population has acquired functional literacy. Even in some industrialized countries about one in five adults reads at the 1st grade level (*2). Additionally, most humans speak way before they can read and write. It is a fact that all languages existed first as spoken before they ever had a written version, and most of us spend a great deal more of time talking than we do writing or reading (even in our instant messaging world).

Second, let’s talk about interconnection in the Global Village of the 21st Century. In accordance with the Internet World Stats, “the Internet has made distances shorter and the world smaller. However, the great divider that stands in the way of a truly global society is the fact that there are many different different languages spoken in our planet Earth.” (*3) Thus, in an interconnected world, the ability to verbally communicate in “my preferred language” (whatever that may be) has become a crucial component of our world. In terms of interpreting, in less than a decade we have gone from face-to-face simultaneous or consecutive interpreting, to over-the-phone, remote video-interpreting and web-based interpreting (simultaneous or consecutive). Technology is transforming our profession at the speed of light, literally, surprising us with many innovations. The term “video interpreter”, for example, is so new that many in the profession don’t even know of its existence, yet its technology is already commercially available and used in healthcare and court settings, and is sure to change the language services industry.

Third, let’s talk about the demand for professional interpreters. In addition to the business and financial world, and conferences and international events, interpreters are specially in high demand in the healthcare industry and in legal and military settings. Employment is projected to increase 22% across all industries (above average for other careers). As international commerce increases and the interaction of individuals from different parts of the world grows – exponentially – interpreters are every day more in demand. A recent market study identified interpretation as a “high-growth, high-pay profession”. Explaining the results of this study, Katharine Allen, co-founder of InterpretAmerica, stated: “Interpreting is a vastly undermarketed, underpublicized profession, especially within younger generations…Many bilingual staff pressed into interpreting at work may not even realize they are taking part in a professional activity that not only requires training, but which also offers a pathway to a dynamic career. An interpreter might be working one day for a high-profile court case, the next day for a business executive, and the next day in the emergency room of a hospital. The life of an interpreter is certainly never boring.” (*4)

Last, lets talk about training. Interpreting is recognized as a profession, but there is no unified certification process. There are different levels of certification for any given language, in any given industry and specific to each country. Basically there are three categories of interpreters: Certified Interpreters (in different fields like court or healthcare); Professionally Qualified Interpreters; and Language Skilled interpreters. The definition of certification varies widely, program components and structures differ significantly, and test forms used for certification are not consistent. However, any interpreter certification program involves some combination of training and testing, and attempt to provide the skills and abilities to perform professionally in the workforce, along with an evaluation of the knowledge acquired. This allows the interpreter to hold tangible proof that he/she can provide quality interpreting services and is able to interpret with an acceptable level of quality.

1) http://interpretamerica.blogspot.com/2011/05/interpreting-and-digital-revolution.html
2) http://www.centreforliteracy.qc.ca/health/finalsum/bd/backdoc.pdf
3) http://www.internetworldstats.com/emarketing.htm
4) http://www.miis.edu/careers/contact/erhodes/node/20803

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Starting in mid August 2011, ProZ.com starts offering its newly developed interpreting training series, conceived and instructed by Claudia Brauer, a 30-year veteran of the interpreting and translation industry.

These Virtual and CLAS training workshops are intended for working and aspiring translators, interpreters, and linguists working in the Global Village of the 21st Century.

Each one of these 15 courses has been designed to be a 3-hour stand-alone session but may also be part of a 5-session bundle of progressive acquisition of practical knowledge. These bundles are brief and intensive, with novel information, emphasizing problem-solving, and packed with ready-to-use tips and resources.

Interested individuals may register at:
http://www.proz.com/translator-training/topic/Interpreting
for any of the following bundles, or any of their stand-alone sessions:

Supported by ProZ.com infrastructure as the world largest community of translators and interpreters, Claudia aims to foster the development of culturally competent interpreters, translators, linguists, and bilingual individuals in the workforce, and to provide training that improves Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in the healthcare, legal, financial, educational, and business sectors.

Attendees who take the bundles are eligible to receive one or several of the Skills-Building Certificates that will be issued by ProZ.com:

– BASIC CLAS KNOWLEDGE in the Global Village of the 21st Century
– BASIC INTERPRETING KNOWLEDGE in the Global Village of the 21st Century
– INTERPRETING TERMINOLOGY KNOWLEDGE in the Global Village of the 21st Century

Additionally, starting in 2012, ProZ.com and Claudia will be launching a series of in-depth interpreting virtual studio classes, designed for working AND aspiring translators, interpreters, and linguists, as well as fully bilingual personnel working in the healthcare, legal, educational, legal, financial or business industries.

The 2012 interpreting studio series will include Consecutive Interpreting, Phone & Video (OPI+RVI) Interpreting, and Healthcare Interpreting. The “ProZ.com Interpreter” certificates will assure future employers and contractors that the holder has undergone adequate high quality training to perform as an interpreter.

For additional information, visit http://www.proz.com/translator-training/topic/Interpreting.

Podcast: interview with Eric Candle on medical interpreting 2

Here’s a new ProZ.com podcast. These podcasts are designed to provide an opportunity to hear the week’s news, highlights of site features, interviews with translators and others in the industry, and to have some fun (see announcement).

As you may already know, next Thursday (July 21st) the first ProZ.com Interpreter Virtual Workshop will be held so I talked to Eric Candle, who is a Member of the Board of the International Medical Interpreters Association and who will be one of the speakers at a session called “Leaving the semi-professional status behind” – advancing the professionalization of medical interpreting field and National Certification for Medical Interpreters — What Every Interpreter Needs to Know to Become Certified”. In this interview Eric describes his role as  a member of the Board of the International Medical Interpreters Association and explains the association’s mission.  He also describes some of the topics that will be covered during his presentation. Eric also provides some insight about the current trends in the medical interpreting field and mentions the different ways in which this service can be provided (telephone interpreting, video remote interpreting, on site interpreting, etc.) Eric highlights the importance of the professionalization of medical interpreting and refers to the major difference between being a bilingual person and being a professional medical interpreter. When asked what advice he would give to an interpreter willing to work in the medical field, he does not hesitate to assert that the two sound steps to take in this direction are: to get trained and, for U.S. residents, to join the IMIA.

You can listen to the interview here ProZ.com podcast, 2011-07-15

I hope you enjoy this interview. If you are an interpreter do not forget to register for the first ProZ.com’s Interpreter Virtual Workshop to be held on July 21st (that is next Thursday!)

Feedback and comments are welcome. You can reach me at romina at proz.com or via Twitter @ProZcom .

To listen to previous podcasts, check the podcasts tab in this blog.

Later!

Romina