Summary of the BP19 Translation Conference

This year I attended the BP Translation Conference for the first time. It was held in Bologna, Italy, on May 1-3.

It was a fantastic experience! I especially liked the app where attendees were able to engage and create activities for everyone to join. It was a great way to get to know people before the conference. When we arrived at the conference, it was as if we were all long-time friends! It’s great not only for newbies and shy and introvert people, but also for everybody who likes networking and meeting new people.

Here is a brief overview on the sessions I attended. The post is longer than usual, but only because there were so many great presentations and insights.

May 1: Workshops

Multilingual SEO for translators, by David García Ruiz

Fresh content is king. Our website’s content should be useful, valuable, relevant (describing what we do and what our clients look for using keywords), competitive (the more specific, the better). Each page should have from 600 to 2,000 words. If your website is in more than on language, you should include language meta tags (hreflang); otherwise, Google will not recognize it as multilingual.

According to a research mentioned by David, “75% [of web visitors] prefer to buy products in their native language. In addition, 60% rarely or never buy from English-only websites.” Therefore, it is important to have a website translated into your working languages.

May 2: Long sessions

Hectic lives + happy clients: four tendencies to rule them all, by Anne-Sophie De Clerq

We develop habits to be able to deal with constraints and expectations, both useful and bad ones.

The big question we should make ourselves is: Who are you? How do you respond to internal and external expectations?

Anne-Sophie’s presentation was based on Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies framework, which helps getting people to do what you want by identifying what type of tendency they have:

  • Obligers: Respond well to external expectations and like being of assistance.
  • Questioners: Respond well to internal expectations and love knowledge.
  • Upholders: Respond well to both internal and external expectations; their motto is “In discipline we trust.”
  • Rebels: Do not respond well to neither and love freedom.

Listen to what clients have to say to understand who they are and identify their tendency in order to facilitate your selling your services to them.

Suggestions of things you can do according to their tendency:

  • Upholders: Send your portfolio and let them judge, do not pressure them, and ask just the essential questions.
  • Obligers: Show how much you can help them; go for the human touch.
  • Questioners: Describe your process and your strengths; answer any questions thoroughly.
  • Rebels: Display your identity and your passion; offer them choices.

Bottom line is: We are all different, so flexibility is paramount.

What legal clients want – As told by a former client, by Paige Dygert

According to Paige, who is a lawyer herself, most lawyers are horrible procrastinators. However, they are loyal clients. They will hang on to you. And they have the budget, so do not be afraid to charge what you are worth. You can charge for being good, and fast!

When communicating with law clients, be polished (reflect what you want from them; it is not about what you like and enjoy or not), precise (detail-oriented), concise (appreciate their time, be straightforward), and complete.

When working with them, just be the translator, know your role. When asking questions, group them, offer solutions, and know when to ask. Be succinct, reliable, and responsive. Provide excellent translations.

Law journals are the best source of reference material and the highest quality one! Their content is, most of the time, perfectly written.

Get a lawyer mentor to help you. LinkedIn and Facebook are great places to find lawyers. If you reach out to them, respect their time!

A killer marketing strategy to win your dream clients, by Sarah Silva

Persistence is key when trying to find dream clients. Be prepared to stand out and be different. Have a long-term strategy (not a one-time sales promotion).

You can use direct client marketing to keep existing clients, contact old clients, or find new ones. Examples: physical post (lumpy mail, letter, postcard), email and digital marketing, and real conversations (phone, video call, in person). Lumpy mail is comprised of a surprise and delight package in order to make a great first impression. Follow-up with a postcard, email, call, etc. People respond better to handwritten messages.

Do not be afraid to dream big. Dream as big as you like and see what happens. Start with whom you want to work with. Ask for referrals from your good existing clients. Get to know your market (better) and have fun!

Keep that in mind this question when prospecting: “So what?” What do your prospects care about? Grab their attention, talk about their problems, and how you can be the solution.

Let your dream clients know that you exist and care, and that they can trust you.

GDPR and translators: easy steps to protect your and your clients’ data, by Irene Koukia

Backup options: Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive. Backup every day! What to backup: TMs, CAT folders, etc.

Boxcryptor: Data security across smartphones, tablets, and desktops. You can choose what to encrypt and what not.

Whisply: secure and easy file transfer.

A VPN secures your private network. Ideal if you work on the go or use a shared Wi-Fi (almost all of us, right?).

Learn what is what about terminology extraction tools, by Andriy Yasharov

Terminology extraction is like data mining, where terms are subtracted from a text. It can be helpful for creating glossaries, thesaurus, and dictionaries; extracting terminology for TMs, etc. It is important because it also extracts the context of a term. Terminology extraction tools: SDL Multiterm Extract, memoQ TE module, SynchroTerm, Sketch Engine, PlusTools for MS Word, FiveFilters, WebCorp, AntConc, Rainbow.

May 3: Short talks

The very first of the day was mine. I will try to write about it in another future post.

Strategies to get more translation clients in a non-spammy way, Olga Jeczmyk Nowak

How to increase clients and keep them coming? Study the market. Contact prospects with a personalized email. Offer them something they are looking for. Reply to them as soon as possible. Don’t spam! Avoid being spammy by personalizing your emails and writing enough professional content (spam filters dislike short emails!). Be honest. Find your identity and make some noise online.

Be online and be active: If you’re not on Google, you don’t exist. Choose the best platform(s) for you.

How to distinguish yourself? Create a brand and keep improving it. Offer something different and more elaborate. Adapt your service according to each client. Keep reinventing yourself!

How to raise your rates (and still keep your clients), by Susanne Präsent-Winkler

Start raising your rates with new clients, especially when you are busy. Then do it with your current clients. Base your raise on your country’s inflation rate. Set your limit as to how low you can go on the rate to still make a living and stick to it. Don’t work for peanuts, for the sake of the entire industry!

Add all relevant steps of your translation process in the quote, so that the client knows what is included in the price.

Dealing with difficult customers – conflict management for translators, by Peter Oehmen

After a negative client experience, 67% of the customers buy somewhere else, only 33% of them stay. One unhappy client tells 15 other people about their negative experience. One happy client, on the other hand, tells six other people about their positive experience.

Conflicts are based on differences of perspective, so we need to understand others’ perspectives and be able to explain our own. Be clear and factual in your communication. Go for consensus and compromise.

The power of soft skills in a digital age, Jaquelina Guardamagna

We need to get better at being human. That is why soft skills have become essential nowadays. They are personal traits that enable individuals to interact effectively. They can help us win clients, when combined with hard skills.

Essential soft skills in the digital age: Empathy, decision making (decisions are part of human nature), flexibility, creativity (it’s what keep us dreaming), collaboration, self-management. If we use them effectively, we will never be replaced! Soft skills will be the difference between those who get replaced by machines, and those who succeed in a digital age.

Bucking the trend of self-promotion (and still obtain the results you want), by Magda Phili

Self-focused narratives: As translators, if we don’t talk about ourselves, who will, right? However, improve your narrative to avoid being perceived as arrogant: Rephrase it and involve other people.

Magda said that her experience showed her that translators working together and promoting each other see their business grow. Solidarity and collaboration boosts confidence, improves quality and efficiency, and helps you gain perspective.

Humility brings collaboration, collaboration brings more work and excellence, while perseverance brings results.

Are you really a professional?, by Vasiliki Prestidge

According to Vasiliki, prices don’t say anything about you and your services. We’re more than just a number!

“Every package is the golden package,” she said. Therefore, we should treat everybody with the same level of professionalism. In a hyperconnected world, one contact can change our life. Be professional in all aspects of your work. You never know who will be impressed by you and request your services. “You look like a business, you behave like a business, you get the business.”

Productivity hacks for translators, by Sherif Abuzid

Sherif talked about Can Newport’s concept of deep work, which is mastering how to focus on a single task in order to boost productivity and maximize your energy expenditure.

If your laptop battery would last for only one hour and you had to choose one app to use, which one would you choose? Your answer will show your priority. We have a limited amount of energy, like batteries. We need to make the best use if it, setting priorities.

Deep work means working in a distraction-free environment, fully focused. If you totally focus at one task at a time, you are more productive. “Focus is the new IQ.” Focused professionals stand out from others. Start with the most important tasks and keep your main goals in mind.

It’s not only about business. We can apply deep work to our personal life as well. Keep your phone away during family time!

How to follow the deep work principle: Plan for tomorrow; focus on goals, not tasks (do what makes you move forward); and set tight deadlines for all activities

Do you diversify your business?, by Francesca Manicardi

Diversification is for creative minds who can easily switch from an activity to another and who can properly manage their time.

Pros of diversifying your business: More stable source of income; creativity boost; change of perspective; and increased visibility.

Effective time management for translators, by Iwona Piatkowska

The bad news is that time flies. The good news is that you are the pilot.

The first step to greater productivity is to create a distraction-free environment, and that is something only you can do, e.g. mute your phone, close the door, have a dedicated office, switch off push/desktop notifications, etc.

Work in chunks and take cycled breaks, e.g. Pomodoro Technique. Take into account that our attention span is of 45-50 minutes. Make your breaks effective: Change constantly, go away from the computer (walk the dog, do the dishes), energize your body, etc.

Track your progress, especially in long projects. It boosts your confidence and keeps you motivated. Do 50-60% of the project as soon as possible. Be a (wo)man of action!

A balanced and healthy lifestyle is the foundation of productivity on a daily basis. Exercise frequently, eat nutritious meals, and sleep well.

Clean your desk every evening, plan your day ahead, set a timer for tasks, and invoice projects immediately.

Running a translation business as a restaurant: tips for a balanced menu, by Carlos la Orden Tovar

According to Carlos, there are four types of restaurant: 1. Just another takeaway: Unbelievably average; rat race. 2. The franchise: Generic, but familiar; safe money; average service = average clients. 3. Luxury restaurant: High-end clients, elaborate services, based on a thorough experience. 4. Classic revisited: Pick classic stuff; add a new, unique touch; charge double; focused on clients who value quality and innovation.

Make a list of your skills, things you are good at. Make a list of what is trending in the market. Score them and craft the perfect menu of your service offers.

Stretch your services by offering, for example, DTP, QA, testing, glossary & TM services, etc. But don’t stretch it too much. Focus on your strengths.

Study your ideal client, engage and find out, list your needs, plan buffer time, and consider investing in proper training.

 

That’s it! I hope you like my brief summary of the conference. As you can see, it was totally worth it. So if I got you into considering attending it next year, it will be held in Nürnberg, Germany, on April 24-25, 2020! Save the date and stay tuned for more information.

If you were interested in any talk in particular or in all of them, their recording are available to be purchased on demand here.

Learning from customer experience

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

As translators/interpreters, we are service providers. All companies/brands that sell services/products also provide an experience to their customers, and this experience starts from the very beginning, even before prospects contact us, when they try to find us or someone who can provide what they need. And it ends way after the product/service is delivered, but it doesn’t necessarily need to, that’s also the point.

As a customer, I love great experiences! I easily become loyal to brands that go beyond and provide me the best service possible. Likewise, I easily let go of brands who let me down somehow. And when there is reasonable competition, even the smallest detail can make a difference. As customers, we have a lot to learn also as entrepreneurs. After all, learning from mistakes (and successes) of others is better than making our own, right?

When we need something, a service or a product, we are vulnerable (or at least control freaks like me are). Leaving our comfort zones is not easy. We have to look for someone who can provide us something we need with quality, a reasonable price, reliability, and, most of the times, we do not have a clue as to what this means. If the service provider makes us feel at ease, comfortable and happy with their service, then we can easily trust them. If, on the other hand, they make our lives even more difficult than they already are, the entire experience becomes a nightmare.

Here are three real-life scenarios that I’ve been through and from which I learned a lot!

Scenario 1: Post office

Important fact: here in Brazil, mailmen usually don’t work on Sundays.

Another important fact: as you might all be aware, Brazil is not exactly a safe country. And I live by myself at a house, as opposed to an apartment, that is usually safer.

At 9 a.m. on a Sunday, the doorbell rings. I was still sleeping, because I had gone out the night before and arrived really late. I answer the intercom. A man on the other side identifies himself as the mailman. Still sleepy, I think, “The mailman, on a Sunday?” I ask him whom the package is for (something I always do, to check the person is indeed the mailman and the package is indeed intended for me, since other people have lived in my house before and their mail still keep coming). He confirms my name, in a rather impatient voice, probably noticing I’m reluctant. I think, “Ok, that is information people can easily get ahold of. This is still weird.” I tell him I find that strange, “I’m sorry, sir, but what guarantee do I have you are indeed the mailman, on a Sunday morning?” He becomes quite mad, goes away and leaves me speaking to myself over the intercom.

Later on, I find out they had been working on Sundays because they were late on deliveries. But I learned this from someone else, because the mailman himself didn’t even care to try to explain that to me.

I tried to track the package and see where it had been taken to, with no success. I got yelled at over the phone and hung up on a couple of times, so I just gave up.

Of course mailmen know they don’t usually work on Sundays. The guy was probably so pissed he had to work on a Sunday morning that he simply didn’t care. No empathy at all, no trying to understand my position, no respect, just plain rudeness.

Takeaway: We often complain that clients say “translator,” when they mean “interpreter,” or that they want everything for yesterday, and so on. And many of us are even rude or have no patience at all with people that are not from our area and that have misleading ideas about it. How would they know? It’s our role to be patient and try to explain, in a way they understand, how things work. Whining, complaining and having lack of patience with people are not the solution.

Scenario 2: Landline technical support

My landline was silent. I had no signal to make calls, but I ran some quick and simple tests and found out it was probably the device itself, not the connection. I took it to a place specialized in technical phone support. The girl ran not one, but several tests, in different power supplies, using different wires, until she found what the problem was.

This is it, plain and simple, right? You are probably thinking, “C’mon, that’s her job.” Yes, it is, I agree. However, unfortunately, people simply don’t do their jobs anymore. They simply don’t care. What I expected: her trying once or twice, at the most, and giving up, saying it was broken and that I needed to buy a new device. Instead, I was really impressed at how much she cared and tried to find what the problem was.

Takeaway: Are we doing our jobs? My clients are frequently ecstatic with me for just doing my job: delivering on time, sometimes, if possible, even earlier, doing a good job, etc. Basic things we are expected to do, but that, apparently, most translators don’t. Is the competition fierce? Are there a lot of translators out there? Yes and yes. However, what’s the quality of the service they provide? Delivering on time is Translation 101, Lesson 1. If, apart from that, you go a bit beyond and try to deliver earlier whenever you can, believe me, you win the client. Go the extra mile. Be the solution your client needs and, if you can’t solve their problem yourself, be proactive and try to find someone who can. Clients usually don’t have a clue about the translation world. We do.

Scenario 3: Nike store

I love Nike products. In my opinion, they are high-quality and worth every penny. I still wear clothes that are more than five years old and that are still in good shape. Ok, so I am already a fan of the brand, fine.

They have a cool store in São Paulo (I live in a town about two hours from the big city). The last time I went there I was amazed! As I was taking a look at the store and choosing what I would try on, the salesperson was preparing the dressing room with other suggestions of things I could like based on my choices. When I arrived in the dressing room, they had even written my name one the door! Maybe you wouldn’t care less about it, but I do. Who doesn’t like to feel special?

Takeaway: Each client is special in their own way and should be treated accordingly. We should make our clients feel they are unique, because they are. Pamper them whenever and however you can. I send personalized handwritten Christmas cards with a branded little something every end of the year to all my clients. I also send branded handwritten Thank You notes to clients and partners or whomever I feel like thanking. Whatever you do, make sure all your clients feel that you care about each of them and that they are special to you. This simple attitude may be what differentiates you from other equally great translators and what makes your clients not even think twice before requesting your services.

A key aspect to a successful customer experience (and to everything in life, let’s face it) is empathy. Wearing our customers’ shoes is essential to understanding their needs and providing the best service possible. It’s like that old saying by Confucius goes, “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.” And vice-versa. It’s as simple as that. No need to overcomplicate or overthink things. No secret formula. No million-dollar strategy.

What have you learned from your own customer experiences?

Living and learning, as always

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Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Happy New Year, dearest followers!

I know I’m late to the party, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve been up to.

After more than a half year later (seven months, to be more precise), here I am, writing on my own blog. We did have guest posts and the Greatest Women in Translation interviews (though not with the normal frequency either), but I, myself, haven’t written on the blog since June last year. Time flies, huh?

Although I didn’t feel inspired to write an end-of-the-year post with a review of the past year and resolutions to the year to come (hello, 2019!), I gave it a lot of thought.

Professionally, 2018 was a great year!

  • I earned a dream direct client.
  • I received some amazing and rewarding feedback on my work (as a translator, as a blogger and as a conference speaker).
  • I let go of tasks and clients that were not doing me good.
  • I increased my workflow with a dear overseas translation agency I work for.
  • I worked closely with a dear colleague and friend on two joint projects.
  • I was invited and presented a webinar for the members of PEM (Panhellenic Association of Translators).
  • I curated the TranslationTalk rotation curation Twitter account.

However, as I always say, our work is not everything in life. And even though I am a strong advocate of a work-life balance, even I learned a few things this past year.

  • I need two vacations a year; one is not enough. Apart from taking a month-long vacation in April/May (European trip, attending the BP and the ITI conferences), I will spend a week at the beach with my family next month and plan on taking some time off in the second semester as well.
  • Working from home being single and living by myself silently took its toll this year and I learned that living a balanced life is not enough; we also need to go an extra mile and care for our mental health. Working and living alone is great, but socializing is necessary. Anyone up for a chat or a coffee? For those who live in Europe, I’ll be in the UK, Bologna and Stockolm in April/May. Let’s meet!
  • We should never wait for Monday or a new year to start something. I finally started yoga in December and will start taking Italian classes again next month.
  • We need to reduce our online time. Scrolling social media is not a way of relaxing; on the contrary, it is not doing us any good. I’m trying very hard to avoid scrolling social media for no reason and I keep on turning my mobile off to read a book every night in bed.
  • No matter what people say we should or should not do, either personally or professionally, essentially, we have to be true to ourselves first and foremost. We are the only ones who truly know what works and doesn’t work for us, and we should respect that.
  • Even when we think we have a perfect life, there is always room for improvement.

Since I am still trying to truly get to know myself and identify what can be improved and what needs to be changed, I do not have any resolutions this year. I am going with the flow and changing as I go.

I still believe the New Year is great to revitalize, but even more importantly is constantly living and learning and changing as we go, truly getting to know and deeply understanding ourselves and identifying what is good and bad for us. As a one-man/woman business, we owe it to our professional life, but most importantly to ourselves.

What have you learned in 2018? What would you like to change in 2019?

On speaking the client’s language (not the opposite)

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Photo by Alexandra on Unsplash

I changed my bank accounts – moved to another bank. There I was, at my new bank, signing the endless sheets of contract papers while the manager was explaining how they worked using banking jargon. Besides feeling extremely mad I was losing precious working hours because the manager did not have everything ready, as she said she would, I felt lost a couple of times because I did not understand the specific terms she used. And I felt embarrassed for having to ask her what they meant. When I finally understood, I started asking myself why she wouldn’t use another term, a more commonly-used one with exactly the same meaning.

I struggle to understand financial and banking operations. Whenever I have to deal with related matters, I postpone it to the last possible minute. And when I finally have to take the bulls by the horn, I feel bored and petrified I might do something wrong I may regret later. So why make my life easier and use lay terms if they can show off their banking expertise, right?

I use every single experience as a customer to learn how to deal with my own clients. If I like something, I try to adapt it to my translation business. If not, I reflect to see if I do the same with my clients and, if so, I immediately try to change it.

Do I want my client to feel the way I feel when I have to deal with things I don’t understand?

We should always keep in mind that if a client is coming to us it means they want their problem solved. It doesn’t matter how we do it and the terms we use to describe it. In order to win the client, we need to be as straightforward and clear as possible, and make them feel relieved their problem will be solved according to their needs, so they can go on and worry about other things. We should try to make their lives as easier as possible.

On this note, is it really that important that the client knows the difference between a translation and an interpreting service? Will it really change your entire life to “teach” the client that you are an interpreter, not a translator, for Pete’s sake? In Portuguese, we have different terms for translation into our mother tongue and into our B language (the latter is called versão). Do my Brazilian clients need to know this difference?

Let’s leave our ego aside for a moment and take the focus off us and make it on the client.

First and foremost, we are the language experts – the main reason we should be the ones to speak our client’s language, not the opposite. Secondly, we will be the ones to handle their (written/spoken) words – another reason we should be the ones to speak their language, not the opposite. Thirdly, don’t you just love when, as a client, the service provider truly understands you and doesn’t vomit jargons you don’t understand?

Listen to your client, instead of focusing on “educating” them or “teaching” them. Try to truly understand their needs and talk to them in a language they understand. Do your homework and research more information about them to get to know them even further and understand their language and their world. Always remember the client is king/queen.

 

Tradução e interpretação: inclusão de palavra em palavra – Parte 1

Nesse último fim de semana, de 15 a 17 de junho, foi realizado o 9º Congresso Internacional de Tradução e Interpretação da Abrates (Associação Brasileira de Tradutores e Intérpretes), no Rio de Janeiro. A localização não poderia ser melhor: Rio Othon Palace, hotel em frente à praia de Copacabana, cuja beleza nem o tempo ruim foi capaz de diminuir.

Eu e minha grande amiga Carolina Ventura, supercompanheira de aventuras e de profissão, chegamos já na quinta-feira, pois queríamos aproveitar para descansar um pouco antes do congresso e aproveitar a cidade. O tempo, como eu já disse, não ajudou muito, mas conseguimos pelos menos ir à Confeitaria Colombo comer torrada Petrópolis e nos encantar com sua beleza.

Na sexta-feira, aproveitei a tarde para gravar alguns episódios para o podcast TradTalk que, aliás, voltará com a segunda temporada no mês de julho. Aguardem! Conversei com a Ana Julia Perrotti-Garcia; a Liz e a Pati, da Ideal Translation; e o Fabiano Cid, da Ccaps. Todos bate-papos deliciosos! Mal posso esperar para vocês ouvirem/assistirem.

Com o tema “Tradução e interpretação: inclusão de palavra em palavra”, os keynotes de abertura, Petê Rissatti e Rane Souza, mostraram que o tema da inclusão e da diversidade seria o foco do congresso. Como disse Roney Belhassof no Twitter, “É emocionante estar em um congresso com dois keynote speakers negros. Um homem e uma mulher.” Não deveria nos causar estranheza (boa, nesse caso), mas como disse o próprio Petê, embora estejamos em pleno 2018, infelizmente, ainda é necessário discutir alguns tópicos. Petê é negro, gay e candomblecista e fala com conhecimento de causa. Segundo ele, não temos o direito de dar nossa opinião sobre o lugar de fala alheio, mas podemos, sim, falar segundo o nosso ponto de vista, de forma empática. Concordo com ele quando diz que traduzir e interpretar são atos de empatia. Consequentemente, todo tradutor/intérprete precisa ser empático e entender o outro. E, para sermos empáticos, precisamos nos livrar dos preconceitos. Petê, tradutor literário, encerra sua emocionante fala exigindo respeito: “Não dá pra continuar do jeito que está. Nós temos pressa!”

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Petê Rissatti

Tanto no encerramento da fala do Petê quanto no início da fala de Rane Souza, também tradutora, Marielle Franco é mencionada. Rane, por sua vez, nos mostrou números e fatos da história negra no Brasil. Embora seja falado em minoria, 56% da população brasileira é negra/parda. Infelizmente, não há dados específicos sobre o mercado da tradução, mas no Jogo do Privilégio, proposto por ela, pudemos ver que não há representatividade. Entre os cerca de dez voluntários, apenas dois eram negros. O propósito do jogo, criado pelo Instituto Identidade do Brasil, é mostrar como a desigualdade racial afeta todos os aspectos da vida dos negros. A princípio, muita gente, inclusive eu, acreditou que o jogo não funcionaria; afinal de contas, quem estava lá, querendo ou não, teve uma realidade de vida diversa. No entanto, o jogo foi chocante e emocionou a nós todos. Uma coisa é ouvirmos falar sobre desigualdade racial; outra coisa é vermos ou sermos expostos, de alguma forma, às consequências dela. Por fim Rane nos disse: “Sou perseguida por policiais TODOS os dias em lojas e estabelecimentos comerciais!”

Assim como na hora, agora fiquei novamente sem ação (e com lágrimas nos olhos) após relembrar essa frase impactante. Eu, em toda a minha brancura, jamais saberei na pele o que é isso. No entanto, fico feliz em sentir, com ela, com o Petê, com a tragédia da Marielle Franco, com meus amigos. Ao chorar ouvindo relatos desse tipo, dou-me conta de que sou humana, que sinto as dores dos meus iguais, que respeito o lugar de fala alheio e só posso tentar entender, embora saiba que jamais serei capaz de saber de fato como é. Isso é um sinal de que estou no caminho certo e que é meu dever como ser humano ajudar meus iguais.

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Rane Souza

Fazendo uma ponte com a fala de abertura do William Cassemiro, presidente anterior da Abrates, Rane encerra ressaltando que precisamos estimular a profissionalização do nosso mercado em todos os sentidos, inclusive para os negros. O que podemos fazer? Observar nossas próprias práticas e aumentar a representatividade. O negro se sente mais à vontade sendo traduzido/interpretado por outro negro.

Após toda essa carga emocional e inclusiva da abertura, o primeiro dia de palestras começou, para mim, também com chave de ouro com a apresentação da Aline Tomasuolo, com o título “O método Starbucks aplicado ao mundo da tradução”. A Aline foi mentorada do Programa de Mentoria da Abrates, na época em que eu ainda era coordenadora, e me deixou impressionada com sua evolução profissional. Apresentação visualmente impecável, conteúdo extremamente relevante, detalhes que fizeram a diferença. Ela aplicou em sua apresentação e comprovou, com isso, que também aplica sua fala na prática: padronização de qualidade e personalização do atendimento. Aline disse que, segundo a Adobe, no futuro, as pessoas não comprarão mais produtos, mas experiências. Eu acredito que isso já seja verdade. Pense nos serviços que você usa, nos produtos que consome. A padronização e a personalização aumentam a valorização do mercado de tradução. Um cliente encantado resulta em fidelização e divulgação. Como tradutores, precisamos assumir nossa identidade. As palavras têm poder. Não “fazemos” tradução, somos tradutores! Além disso, devemos manter um canal de comunicação aberto e claro com os clientes, informando sobre disponibilidades/indisponibilidades, e descobrir a preferência de cada um deles. Com isso, nossa própria humanidade acaba sendo um diferencial nos serviços que prestamos no atual mundo tecnológico.

A segunda palestra à qual assisti foi “O método Harvard de negociação para tradutores e intérpretes”, por Claudio Pereira. Uma das principais dicas do Claudio foi que, em uma negociação, devemos focar no problema, não nas pessoas. Segundo ele, devemos ter critérios objetivos e diferentes opções. Precisamos entender o cliente, nos preparar e vender o serviço antes de informar o preço: mostrando os valores que serão agregados com ele. Devemos nos comunicar com segurança e passar segurança para o cliente, descobrir pontos em comum/conflitantes: o que o cliente sabe sobre nós e vice-versa é relevante em uma negociação. Devemos ser criativos e pensar em diferentes formas de satisfação mútua.

Como vocês podem ver, não cheguei nem na hora do almoço do primeiro dia ainda e já teve muita coisa legal! Como ainda tenho muita coisa interessante para passar para vocês, deixarei para uma segunda publicação, em breve, não se preocupem. Fiquem ligados!

IT translation reference material

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Information Technology (IT) translators, like myself, are used to strictly following different reference material. Even when the client has its own glossary and style guide, not always are they totally comprehensive so we have to turn to third-party resources. Luckily, there are some recognized and trusted sources we can follow to base our linguistic decisions on, and not simply throw in anything we like. Personal preference should be our last option.

The most widely used and trusted reference source is Microsoft. Other large IT brands even mention it in their own style guides, instructing the linguist to use it as reference if something is not included in their material. Microsoft has recently (late last year) updated their Writing Style Guide (you can download the PDF for free in the link). It contains topics related to capitalization, punctuation, numbers, URLs and web addresses, everything one expects from an IT style guide. This guide applies to the English language, but you can also find one for your language here (including Brazilian Portuguese, last updated on June 2017). The language-specific style guides are only downloadable (also free of charge); they are not available online.

Microsoft also has an online Language Portal where you can search for terms in different languages, including Brazilian Portuguese. It shows results in its Terminology Collection and in localized Microsoft products in three columns: English, Translation and Definition/Product. This is a fantastic resource! It’s bookmarked in my browser so I can easily access it whenever I need, which is every day.

Apple, another trusted source, also provides its style guide online (in English).

If you know of any other publicly available IT style guide and/or glossary, please feel free to share it in the comments.

Women, unite, go out and kick ass

This weekend I watched Mary Magdalene in the movies. I wasn’t expecting much of it, but it really touched me. It may be due to the current scenario. You may have heard of the Brazilian council woman Marielle Franco’s assassination here in Brazil last week (if not, here’s an article about it, and a quick search on Google will provide you with more information about this brutal murder). Besides, if you are a woman, you know the struggles we all go through, some more than others. If not, you may at least have an idea or have heard of what it’s like.

I thought the movie is really touching, but this line by a woman particularly stroke me:

We’re women. Our lives are not our own.

It suddenly occurred to me that we go through the same problems since forever. Our current reality is not that different from the reality at that time. When I start thinking the only difference is that we are more open to speaking up, Marielle’s tragic story reminds me we are not.

So are our hands tied? Isn’t there anything we can do? Should we simply conform? NO! We will not be silenced.

We do have more success stories, inspiring movies (have you watched Black Panther?), amazing role models out there to help us get inspired, not give up and keep on fighting. Together, we are stronger.

Besides doing my part setting the example and speaking up when I can, I host an interview series, Greatest Women in Translation. This is my teeny tiny contribution to making ourselves seen and valued, as translators. Now, I came up with another idea for women in general. What we need is inspiration and being valued for what we are and do, not for our looks. Every single one of us is important, but sometimes we lack recognition, support, love. Something simple we can do to strengthen our bond and empower other women is recognize them.

Therefore, I suggest you, whoever you are regardless of gender, leave a comment below telling us who the woman you admire the most are, whoever they are, and why. Which women inspire you, always teach you something or make the difference in your life or even in the world? Go even beyond that and let them know somehow.

I’ll start by naming mine:

  • My mom. I know it’s tacky, but it’s the truth. She’s a strong and determined woman who worked a lot to raise three girls and provide them with what she wasn’t able to have: education. She worked with my dad, but she was the one behind everything. She traveled a lot, spent sleepless nights, never fretted and imposed herself. Most of what I am today I owe to her.
  • My dear friend Carolina Ventura. She’s married and a mom of two lovely girls. Being single and having no kids, I always admire those who run a business having a family. And I think she is the perfect example of it. She’s an admirable professional who exemplary juggles business with family and a quality personal life. A great translator, mom, wife, daughter and friend.
  • Emma Watson. She had everything to take a different path: a beautiful face in Hollywood amidst smashing fame with the Harry Potter movies. Instead, she chose the path to do good and make a difference in the world, including empowering women.

I’m inspired by many other amazing women, from my family (I have an aunt who defied my grandparents and pursued her studies anyway – the only woman to do so in her house; later moved to another country due to lack of recognition in her own, and now lives with her husband, daughter and son far from her entire family), friends, and famous people (e.g. Michele Obama), but I just wanted to give an example in each of those groups.

The world will only change as we change. I will not be silent. I will be heard.
Mary Magdalene, in the movie

Now it’s your turn. Empower someone who you admire by recognizing her in the comments below.

In need to feel inspired? Here are some inspiring quotes by inspiring women.

Working less and “il dolce far niente”

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Photo by Julia Wimmerlin on Unsplash

I was scheduling my social media posts when I came across this article. The subject of working less, instead of more, that has been gaining ground recently (finally and thankfully!) has my total support for years, so I loved this article (it’s long, but worthwhile, believe me). I wanted to comment on practically every paragraph of it, so I decided to write a post, instead of simply posting it on social media.

When I started out, I worked a lot – weekends, holidays, nights! At the time, I lived with my mom, and I remember she would bring me food at the desk because I didn’t have time not even to eat. I remember my parents would go to bed and wake up, and there I was, still working. And when I went to sleep for a couple of hours in the morning (or afternoon), it was not the same as sleeping at night, so I would never rest properly.

Have you noticed how people preach being busy and working on weekends and overnight as something to be proud of? I hold a grudge on those memes, and I feel really sorry for people who proudly share them on social media. Just as I feel sorry for project managers who ask for my availability past 8 pm. “Look, I am so professional and dedicated, I work until late at night!” Sorry, pal, not something to be proud of. Your reply will only arrive in the next morning anyway, so you could have used the time you spent writing me the email to leave earlier and go home to your family. Seriously, people, just stop!

I don’t remember exactly when I stopped playing with my health and sanity, but I did eventually. I started respecting weekends and a good night sleep, and taking vacations (with absolutely no work whatsoever). After a while, I started following regular working hours and exercising in the evening (after reaching my maximum weight and having health problems). Mind you, I’m 34, and it must have taken me only a year or so to start having health problems and realizing I needed to change. I learned with practice. That old living and learning thing.

Nowadays, I wake up at 6 am, run three times a week in the morning, take a shower, have breakfast and then start working, at around 9:30 to 10 am. I have a decent lunch at around noon, do the dishes and rest a bit on the sofa while taking a quick peak at social media watching series (maybe not one of my healthiest habits, due to the flow of information to my brain, I know). Every week day, I hit the gym in the evening, so I usually stop working at around 5 to 6:30 pm, depending on the day. Take a shower, have dinner, rest a bit on the sofa while watching series and, again, taking a quick peak at social media and emails, after all, I usually spend all this time from when I stop working until I finish my dinner away from my cell phone (a great break to the mind). I used to do this until the time I went to bed, but nowadays I’m even changing this nighttime habit. At around 9:30 pm, I switch my cell phone to airplane mode, go to bed and read a book for about an hour, before going to sleep.

The secret? Being heavily productive in the restricted working hours you have left, avoiding procrastination and social media during working hours.

[T]he work we produce at the end of a 14-hour day is of worse quality than when we’re fresh, […] undermines our creativity and our cognition, […] it can make us feel physically sick – and even, ironically, as if we have no purpose.

I’m totally aware my routine will hardly fit anyone else. The fact that I’m single, have no kids and live by myself plays an important role in making it easier, but if I wasn’t organized, determined and strict, this wouldn’t work anyway. Even if you are married and have a bunch of kids, you can make it work. The secret is learning your daily routine, creating your own working hours, whenever they are, and strictly following them. Restrict your social media time to avoid procrastinating. Actually, restrict everything that is not work-related. Be professional and respect your working hours. The benefits will be worth it: more time to do whatever you want.

Keep human! See people, go places.

After all, what do you work for? Earning money, paying bills and living the life, right? We all preach the greatest benefit of being a freelancer is being free. However, most people use this freedom to work even more. That will never make sense to me. Use your freedom to go see a movie on a weekday afternoon when you have no projects, walk in the park, have a coffee with a friend or do nothing.

[Doing nothing] helps you recognise the deeper importance of situations. It helps you make meaning out of things. When you’re not making meaning out of things, you’re just reacting and acting in the moment.

Now that is something I seriously need to master, although I have been trying hard to practice: do nothing, be idle. It’s so hard! It’s as the article says, when we have nothing to do, we end up reaching for our phone or turning on the TV. It’s like we can’t handle being left only with our thoughts. Think of it for a moment… This is so sad! The good thing is it doesn’t really mean, in the strict sense, to do absolutely nothing. You can meditate, knit, doodle, discuss a problem with friends, cook… anything that doesn’t require 100% concentration. I went to the beach a couple of weeks ago and I tried to put this into practice: when in the water, I tried to sink in its energy, feel the waves, let my thoughts flow freely; when under the umbrella, I tried to watch the sea, listen to it and, again, let my thoughts flow. Remember: what works for me may never work for anybody else and vice-versa, so find what suits you.

I’d love to hear how you organize your day in order to maximize your productivity and have a decent work-life balance. Also, feel free to share how you practice your dolce far niente.

 

P.S.: You may have noticed I’ve been absent from the blog and from social media. First, the same old thing: projects. Second, I’ve been feeling quite tired lately, so I’m respecting my body and, instead of dedicating time to the social media and the blog, I’m using that time to rest a bit more. I’m putting the free in freelance to great use. 😉 However, don’t fret. I’m already slowly going back to normal. On February 1, a new Greatest Women in Translation interview will be published, with Antonia Lloyd Jones; on February 5, a new podcast episode will be published, with Reginaldo Francisco (Win-Win project), just before taking a break (after 20 episodes, it’s time for a well-deserved break: we return in July with fresh, newly-recorded episodes); on February 9, our guest of the month is Dolores Guiñazu; and on February 20, hopefully, another post by me.

How to make the most of an ATA conference

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving!

This won’t be a Thanksgiving post though. I decided to leave it to my last post of the year, next month, when I intend to make a 2017 wrap-up. Should you miss my Thanksgiving posts, you can read the ones I published in the previous years: What I learned from a bad year (2016), Five things to be grateful for (2015) and Giving thanks (2014).

Today I want to talk about my experience as a newbie at ATA 58. The American Translators Association (ATA) traditionally hosts every year a huge conference with more than 1,000 attendees, each year in a different U.S. city. This year, in its 58th edition, it was held in Washington, D.C. and attended by exactly 1,721 people from all over the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Upon preparing for it, I asked my colleague and friend Melissa Harkin, who had already attended the ATA conference for the first time last year, for some tips. They were all extremely useful, so I’ll make a summary of my tips, based on my experience as a newbie, with hers.

Since it’s a huge conference, the largest in our area, standing out is key. However, be careful with how you interpret this “stand out.” It doesn’t mean desperately imposing and calling all the attention to yourself; it means gracefully leaving your mark and differentiating yourself among the crowd.

  • The conference has an app. As soon as it’s out, fill out your profile with all possible information, including adding a picture and a CV, and adding your language pair in your description, so people can see your language pair straight from the attendees’ list, right below your name. Believe it or not, most attendees underestimate the app and do not use it for anything. Besides being handy during the conference, since it’s filled with useful information, it’s a great way of making yourself visible.
    A potential client contacted me before the conference – she was looking for Brazilian Portuguese translators. Later she said that she liked my app profile because it clearly stated my language pair under my name.
  • Don’t make it about yourself. Focus on the other (either colleague or agency). Truly engage, show interest, ask questions about them. Avoid being forced and sounding like a robot.
    I met a girl during the Welcome Celebration who took the Buddies Welcome Newbies session’s tips too literally, and the poor thing ended up sounding fake to me, resulting in zero engagement.
  • Be open to meeting new people, naturally engage, occasionally exchange business cards, if given the opportunity, and move on. In Portuguese, the expression “alugar uma pessoa” (rent a person) is used when you talk with a person for a long time. Don’t do that. It’s a huge event, with hundreds of people and a bunch of things to do. Time is precious.
  • The Brainstorm Networking features quick brainstorming sessions where a group of people quickly introduce themselves, exchange cards and discuss a scenario. Follow the steps quickly, and don’t dominate it, so everybody has their say. This is not the place for a heated discussion or parallel conversions.
  • The Job Fair is not on a first-come-first-served basis, so be cool and take your time. Don’t rush in front of other people neither simply throw your card on the table. Stand in line, if there is one, and while you wait for your time try to listen to what the recruiters are saying, so you can spare their time when your turn comes. Even if they don’t work with your language pair/area of specialization, be friendly and thank them for their time.
    Extra tip (by Melissa): Create a personalized visual CV for the Job Fair. You will certainly stand out.

If you are shy or new to conferences in general, don’t miss the Buddies Welcome Newbies session, right in the first day. Buddies are seasoned attendees who are willing to help newbies (first-time attendees) around the conference. The session has great tips for enjoying the conference to the fullest, and you sit at a table with other buddies and newbies, so it’s also a great opportunity for meeting new people. If you are by yourself and don’t know anyone, you won’t be anymore after this session.

If you already have a “gang,” don’t stick only to the person or group of people you already know. Whenever there is a different person around you, switch from your mother tongue to English, so they don’t feel left out. It’s great having familiar people around, but try exploring the event by yourself, being open to meeting new people in the halls, seating right next to you in a session, at breakfast, at social events, etc. Keep a friendly, smiley face at all times, face up. Look at people’s eyes, say hi/good morning even when you don’t know them. Though not in a creepy way of course; be natural. I connected with someone at breakfast who I ended up learning was a project manager. She contacted me after the conference for a potential partnership.

Have business cards on you at all times! It’s unbelievable how people don’t take business cards or don’t take enough. Take around 50 cards per day. It’s more than enough. It’s better to have some left than running out of them. Asking people to take a picture of your last card is, in my opinion, mind you, embarrassing.

When exchanging business cards, make notes on the person’s card, don’t rely on your memory. I had never done that before (never thought it was necessary), I started doing it at ATA 58, but it wasn’t enough. When handling cards post-conference I obviously forgot things. For example, at the Exhibit Hall and the Job Fair you will meet dozens of recruiters. However, some of them may not work with your language pair or area of specialization. If you don’t write it down on the card, you may forget and end up following up with the company anyway post-conference, showing lack of attention and care. Possible notes: where you met the person (Exhibit Hall, Job Fair, Brainstorm Networking and which round, speaker, etc.), if you should follow-up or not and why, your personal impressions, etc.

Last but not least, have fun!

After the conference, wait for about two weeks before following up, so you can give people a chance to settle down or even contact you first. When contacting them, don’t assume they will remember you. Briefly recapitulate where and how you met, and attach your visual CV so they can easily remember you.

My post is already too long, so now I’ll leave it up to you: Do you have any other tips to add?

Mindfulness is the new multitasking

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Source: Unsplash

Stop!

Hey, hey, slow down.

Now breathe.

Yes, breathe. In and out. Deep breaths. Preferably with your eyes closed. Also, take the chance to check your posture and pay attention to all parts of your body. I will not continue until you do so.

Ok, ready?

How are you feeling? Hopefully, less hectic, and more relaxed. And now you are ready, and able to read and enjoy this post (at least I hope so).

 

The modern world is full of distractions. Everything is for yesterday. If something happens in the other side of the globe, we know live, as if we were there. We are required to do more, accomplish more, be more productive. Meanwhile, time seems increasingly shorter. Everything happens at the same time: you are crazily translating something to be delivered in a couple of hours, someone texts you, another person tags you on Facebook, you get a couple of emails, your phone rings. And all these things usually demand your prompt attention. Amidst this crazy routine, we can even forget to breathe! We forget we have a body that also needs our attention, but since it is quiet – not making a fuss as all the other things requiring our immediate attention –, we completely forget about it. I got short of breath only by writing this paragraph! Phew!

People proudly say they are multitaskers. As if this were something good. Well, here is the naked truth: it is NOT. First of all, you think you are able to multitask, but you are actually task-switching. This process can actually “cause a 40% loss in productivity,” increase your stress levels, have a bad effect on memory, harm your creativity. This article provides a small test that proves that the brain does not actually handle multiple tasks at once, as we believe.

It can be easy to rush through life without stopping to notice much

Have you heard of mindfulness?

It is a modern concept that has been increasingly discussed nowadays, and it means having a deep awareness of the present. It is thus the complete opposite of multitasking. Applying this concept to our everyday lives not only makes us happier and healthier but also more productive, resulting in quality outcomes, since we are 100% focused on what we are doing at the moment.

Think with me: It is better working five hours of your day totally focused on each task at a time than “working” for nine hours multitasking and not actually producing anything concrete, right? If you don’t believe me (neither in the researches), try for yourself one day.

I usually work at one-hour chunks. During this one hour, I focus 100% on whatever I have to do: translate, write a blog post, work on my finances. Then I take a quick break during which time I can check and reply to emails, check and reply to text messages, fetch something to eat, etc. Social media usually has its own time set aside, so I do not keeping checking it throughout the day. This can also be considered mindfulness, in my opinion.

Gym time for me is also precious. No phone, except for listening to music. But even that I seem to be getting tired of. I seem to be incresingly fond of exercising in silence, just paying full attention to each movement, my body, my thoughts.

And weekends are also perfect for practicing mindfulness. A friend of mine usually say, “Doing nothing is also productive.” Resting, having fun, relaxing, laughing, sleeping are also essential for productivity.

So what do you say? Let’s try less multitasking and more mindfulness? Who is with me?

 

I also suggest reading: Why Should We Slow Down? The Lost Art of Patience