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.
This blog and my translation podcast, TradTalk, were proudly chosen as the channels to officially launch ConVTI last month. Now the lovely organizers of this innovative event, Márcia Nabrzecki and Gio Lester, decided to kindly offer 1 free registration and a 20% discount to 10 of my followers as a sign of appreciation for our warm welcome. Isn’t that amazing?
If you missed the launch or does not even know what I am talking about, stop! Read about it here and feel free to watch/listen to the podcast interview (in Portuguese) here before proceeding. You can also visit the event’s website (link above) for more information. Also take the chance to connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Moving on to our lovely gifts…
Draw of 1 free registration
Fill out this brief form (also available on the bottom of this page) to join the draw. It’s that simple.
The draw will be held on August 14, 8 a.m. (EST). The lucky winner will be announced here on the blog, and the post will be shared on the event’s social media channels and mine.
20% discount to 10 followers
The first 10 followers who leave a comment below will win 20% of discount, paying only US$60. Ready, set, go!
Important: Should you be interested in the discount, leave a comment below even if you fill in the form for the draw and/or we reach 10 comments. Should the draw winner be one of the first 10 people to comment below, his/her discount will be transferred to the 11th commenter.
This is your chance to watch great talks by big names in translation, such as Paula Arturo, Jost Zetzsche, Kirti Vashee, Barry Olsen, from the comfort of your home sweet home (office) at a fraction of what you would spend with a usual conference. So don’t wait! Comment below and fill out the form.
Attention: You must be a translator, interpreter, dubber, subtitler, or other translation-related professional; or a student of any course related to any of these professions to participate. Comments and forms by random people will not be eligible to participate.
Good luck, dear followers!
Como o Carol’s Adventures in Translation e meu podcast TradTalk foram os canais oficiais de lançamento do ConVTI, as queridas Márcia Nabrzecki e Gio Lester, organizadoras do evento, decidiram, em agradecimento, gentilmente oferecer 1 inscrição gratuita para o evento e 10 descontos de 20% para meus seguidores, vocês! Isso não é incrível?
Caso vocês tenham perdido a divulgação e nem saibam do que se trata, pare agora! Leia aqui a publicação (em inglês) no blog, assista/ouça aqui a entrevista que fiz com a Márcia para o podcast e acesse o site (link acima) para mais informações. Não deixe também de seguir o evento nas mídias sociais: Facebook, Twitter e YouTube.
Agora, sim, vamos ao que interessa: como participar.
Sorteio de uma inscrição gratuita
Para participar do sorteio, basta preencher este formulário (também disponível na parte inferior desta página) com seu nome, sobrenome e endereço de e-mail. É rápido e simples.
O sorteio será no dia 14 de agosto, às 9h (horário de Brasília). O ganhador será divulgado aqui no blog, e a publicação será compartilhada nas redes sociais minhas e do evento.
Desconto de 20% para 10 seguidores
É simples: os 10 primeiros seguidores que comentarem abaixo, aqui mesmo nesta publicação, ganharão um desconto de 20% no valor da inscrição, pagando apenas US$ 60,00 cada um. Valendo!
Importante: caso queira aproveitar o desconto, não deixe de comentar abaixo, mesmo se inscrevendo para o sorteio e/ou se atingirmos os 10 comentários. Caso o ganhador do sorteio seja um dos 10 primeiros a deixar um comentário, seu desconto será transferido para a 11ª pessoa que comentar.
Esta é sua chance de assistir a palestras incríveis de grandes nomes nacionais e internacionais da tradução, como Paula Arturo, Jost Zetzsche, Kirti Vashee, Barry Olsen, sem sair do conforto da sua casa ou do seu home office e economizando! Portanto, comente abaixo e preencha o formulário.
Atenção: é preciso ser tradutor, intérprete, dublador, legendador ou outro profissional relacionado à tradução; ou aluno de um curso relacionado a uma dessas profissões. Comentários e formulários de pessoas aleatórias não serão considerados.
Boa sorte, queridos!
Como Carol’s Adventures in Translation y mi podcastTradTalk fueron los canales oficiales de lanzamiento de ConVTI, las queridas Márcia Nabrzecki y Gio Lester, organizadoras del evento, decidieron amablemente ofrecer, como agradecimiento, 1 inscripción gratuita para el evento y 10 descuentos de 20% para mis seguidores: ¡ustedes! ¿No les parece increíble?
Si se perdieron la divulgación y no saben de qué se trata todo eso, ¡paren un minuto! Lean aquí la publicación (en inglés) del blog, vean/escuchen aquí la entrevista que le hice a Márcia para el podcast (en portugués) y visiten la página (link arriba) para obtener más información. Además, no dejen de seguir el evento en las redes sociales: Facebook, Twitter y YouTube.
Ahora sí, vamos a los que nos interesa: cómo participar.
Sorteo de una inscripción gratuita
Para participar en el sorteo, basta completar este formulario. Es rápido y fácil.
El sorteo será el día 14 de agosto, a las 9 h (hora de Brasilia). El ganador será anunciado aquí en el blog, y la publicación será compartida en mis redes sociales y las del evento.
20% de descuento para 10 seguidores
Es fácil: los 10 primeros seguidores que hagan un comentario abajo, aquí mismo en esta publicación, ganarán un 20% de descuento del valor de la inscripción, solo pagarán U$ 60,00 cada uno. ¡Ya empezó!
Importante: si quieres aprovechar el descuento, deja tu comentario aquí abajo, aunque también te inscribas para el sorteo y/o lleguemos a los 10 comentarios. Si el ganador del sorteo es uno de los 10 primeros que dejan un comentario, el descuento será transferido al 11º que haya comentado.
Es tu oportunidad para ver ponencias increíbles de grandes nombres nacionales e internacionales de la traducción, como Paula Arturo, Jost Zetzsche, Kirti Vashee, Barry Olsen, ¡sin salir de la comodidad de tu casa o tu home office y ahorrando! Así que, deja tu comentario aquí abajo y completa el formulario.
Atención: es necesario ser traductor, intérprete, doblador, subtitulador o profesional relacionado con la traducción; o alumno de algún curso relacionado con una de estas profesiones. Los comentarios y formularios de personas ajenas al sector no serán considerados.
Márcia Nabrzeckiand I, Gio Lester, have a lot in common. Besides being Brazilian and translators, we are also advocates, instructors, and mentors. Last year, a common friend brought us together and the result is a 2-day event that we believe will delight those who attend it.
I better tell you a bit about ourselves. My career in Translation and Interpreting started in 1980. Yes, I am a legacy professional and have witnessed and adapted to many changes over the years. I have also been an advocate for our professions: President of two Florida Chapters for the American Translators Association-ATA (2001-2003; 2011-2012; 2015), Director and also Interim Vice Chair for the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (2010-2013), mentor for members of ATA and also of its Brazilian counterpart, ABRATES, and currently I am also the Editor of The NAJIT Observer, a weekly online publication by the National Association of Judiciary Translators and Interpreters. Márcia started her career in 1995. Love for her profession led Marcia to engage in activities beyond translation projects. She is busy mentoring other professionals for Coletivo Identidade, a program that evolved from T&I events in Curitiba and spread to other cities in Brazil; she leads workshops and organizes events such as the monthly barcamps that also started in lovely Curitiba. Márcia manages to find time to lead Pro-Page, Traduções e Projetos, her own company. You can read more about us here.
So, after a few conversations and planning, we decided to throw a party at your place. Well, actually, a conference. Why, you may ask. Well, how many conferences have you missed this year? How many more are on your wish list? The truth is, regardless of origin, language and customs, we all share the desire to learn, grow and save.ConVTI ([//kon-vee-tee-eye//], in Portuguese, Congresso Virtual de Tradução e Interpretação) makes all three available to all of us.
Márcia and I feel the same way: earning continuing education credits, networking with colleagues, improving the quality of our services, etc. should not be a hardship. And we have a solution that makes use of modern technology to solve that issue – after all, this is the 21st Century!
Our professions have experienced exponential changes at different levels. Technology’s effects have been both negative and positive: clients expect a lot more from us in a shorter period of time but we have tools that help us work smarter; new market segments are open to us but the learning curve can be discouraging; there are incredible new tools out there but either cost, availability, compatibility, or something else are obstacles.
However, technology has reached a point that allows for presenters from all over the world to congregate on your laptop. And we have arranged just that for you: a great professional event with international talent, respected colleagues, best representatives in their specializations. ConVTI will fill in the gap between events, allow professionals to meet their certification requirements and learn from leaders in various segments. And the latest: HeadVox will be providing simultaneous interpreting for the live sessions.
We have put together a collection of top-notch T&I professionals to delight you. No divas. We wanted an even constellation of professionals who understand the changes in the market and what they mean to us.
Wherever you are, we promise you two event-filled days. On August 26, we will have four 1-hour presentations followed by a 90-minute panel on MT and interpreting technology. The day’s closing event is a live roundtable with all presenters. On August 27, we will have six 1-hour presentations and the closing is another live roundtable with all presenters. ConVTI will cover subjects ranging from the practical side of translation to the technical aspects of it, interpreting technology and changes in judicial interpreting, the business side of our profession, and we are working on bringing sign language interpreting into the offerings. Since Márcia and I do believe in equal opportunity learning, we have plans to have the presentations subtitled in English, Portuguese and Spanish.
And your wallet will be happy too: No airfare cost. No hotel cost. No meals cost – well, that will depend on you. Just take your mobile device to wherever you feel more comfortable and join us. A flat fee of $75 gives you access to the 2-day event. The presentations will be available for sale after the event.
Are your ready for a visit? Have your computers, laptops, cell phones or tablets at the ready. We are coming your way: August 26 and 27.
If you missed the webinar The Business of Being in Business – Part I: The Professional Side (free webinar to give you a taste of ConVTI), just click here to watch the video. And get ready for the second installment: The Business of Being in Business – Part II: The Commercial Side coming to you on June 24, at 8 am EST – check your local time on Time Buddy. Registration is now open, just click here.
Márcia has talked about the event (in Portuguese) for the TradTalk podcast. You can watch or listen to it here.
About the author
Brazilian-born Giovanna “Gio” Lester‘s career in translation and interpreting started in 1980. Gio is very active in her profession and in the associations she is affiliated with. She has held many volunteer administrative positions within various organizations related to our profession, and often speaks and writes on issues that affect us. As an international conference interpreter, Gio has been the voice of government heads and officials, scientists, researchers, doctors, hairdressers, teachers, engineers, investors and more. Gio has been a contributor to The NAJIT Observer since its inception in 2011, and its Editor since 2016. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome back to our guest series! It is with a great pleasure that I introduce you to this month’s guest, Paula Arturo. I love all her writings and was thrilled when she accepted my invitation to write here.
Image provided by the author.
While professional translators and interpreters know better, the painful truth is that many of us have that special clueless someone in our circle of friends, family, and acquaintances who seems to think all it takes to be a language professional is to pass a Cambridge exam or spend a summer abroad learning a second language. Though this misconception may appear to be quite widespread, it’s not a belief that is commonly held by high-end translation buyers, such as international organizations, financial institutions or high-stakes financial players; and by that, what I mean is that clients with deep pockets and experience working with translators are usually already aware of the risks of using non-professionals and the benefits of having someone with the right qualifications and experience on their team.
Many young new language professionals aspire to work for such clients, and kudos to them! If you’re a newbie and you’ve already figured out that the bulk market is essentially a race to the bottom, more power to you. The problem is, however, that you might have some misconceptions about what it takes to work for high-end clients. This is so because most workshops, conference sessions, blog posts, and CPD opportunities focus so much on soft skills that people can be misled into thinking that all you need to be a translator or interpreter is a friendly face and emotional intelligence. While soft skills can help land new clients, keeping them and making it to the top of the food chain is an entirely different story.
If you don’t have the necessary hard skills to deliver results, clients won’t be returning or recommending you to anyone else. No matter how much marketing you do or how SEO savvy you are, hard skills are essentially what marks the difference between one hit wonders and multiplatinum holders. So where to begin?
1) Get a mentor, not a guru. We all have role models, i.e. people we look up to and whose accomplishments we want to emulate. Find that person and try to get them to be your mentor. Mentors don’t just pass down knowledge and skills, they also provide professional socialization and guidance to help you get started on the right foot.
2) Work with a reviewer. We all learn from others, and having a reviewer is key to improving the way we look at, interpret, and rewrite our translations. Reviewers challenge your linguistic choices and force you to rethink them or improve the quality of your work. You can’t possibly learn and do better if nobody’s marking your errors, and becoming an exceptional translator means being open to constructive criticism and change.
3) Become an expert. Your subject-matter expertise must be on a par with that of your client. If you can’t hold a conversation with a subject-matter expert in your desired area of specialization, you’re not ready to handle high stakes work. Of course, there may be a difference in the degree of subject-matter knowledge and expertise between you and your client, especially if you come directly from the field of translation and not from your client’s field, but you should still know enough about the subject-matter to talk about it intelligently and know the right questions to ask.
4) Read, read, read, and then read some more! This should be a given. A translator who isn’t an avid reader cannot possibly acquire enough general, background, and specialist knowledge to correctly understand the subtleties and nuances in certain types of texts.
5) Never stop working on your writing skills. Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel García Marquez once said in an interview he would sometimes have to force himself to set his texts down and stop making corrections to them or he would never send anything to his publisher. Franz Kafka was constantly correcting course and was known to destroy his work out of dissatisfaction with his own writing. Translators have to be exceptionally good writers, and that is a life-long pursuit.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive list, just a start. The takeaway here is that if you aspire to sit at the cool kids’ table you’re going to have to achieve mastery in your craft. So, the next time you choose sessions at a conference, sign up for CPD, or otherwise invest in your training and education, ask yourself this: Am I maintaining a healthy balance between soft and hard skills? Or better yet, am I focusing on hard skills as much as I should be?
Great tips, Paula! I totally agree with you. It takes a combination of well-mastered hard and soft skills to be a professional translator/interpreter. Thank you so much for accepting my invitation and kindly takingthe time to write such great advice to our readers! It is a pleasure to welcome you here.
About the author Paula Arturo is a lawyer, translator, and former law professor. She is a co-director of Translating Lawyers, a boutique firm specializing in legal translation by lawyers for lawyers. Throughout her fifteen-year career, in addition to various legal and financial documents, she has also translated several highly technical law books and publications in major international journals for high-profile authors, including several Nobel Prize Laureates and renowned jurists. She is currently a member of the American Translators Association’s Ethics Committee, the ATA Literary Division’s Leadership Council, and Member of the Public Policies Forum of the Supreme Court of Argentina.
Welcome back to our Greatest Women in Translation interview series!
This month’s interviewee is Nancy Cristina Martorana, nominated by Angela Levy.
1. You are American, but moved to Brazil in 1956. Why? 2. Every translator has a different story on how they became a translator. What is yours?
Since the answer to these two questions is interrelated, I will merge my answer.
I came to Brazil with my parents when I was only 10. At the time my Dad was an executive transferred to Brazil from a parent company in the United States. I did my schooling at Escola Graduada de São Paulo, better known as Graded School, and knew early in life that I wanted to pursue a career that involved languages. I had actually been in Brazil before, between the age of 8 months and 16 months, also because my Dad was transferred to Brazil from Romania (where I was born). However, My Dad’s company (ITT) won a bid to install basic infrastructure in Iran (Persia, at the time) and I was to spend the next 3 years in that country. Although it was my first language, I do not remember anything, not even after hearing it spoken by the natives years later. Because of all the countries we moved to, my mother decided to get a French governess, wherever we went to make my language learning more consistent. To make a long story short, I already knew in high school that I wanted to do my college at the translation/interpretation school of Geneva. However, I was rejected because I was too young (minimum age of 18) and had to speak three languages fluently to be accepted. This irritated me immensely to be discriminated, especially because of age. Today, as a teacher, I understand fully – years of experience are needed to pursue a career with any degree of success in translation/interpretation; as I tell my students, layers of knowledge are compacted year after year.
3. Although you teach both consecutive and simultaneous interpreting at Alumni, you have more experience with simultaneous than with consecutive interpreting. Do you prefer one over the other? If so, why? If not, what do you like and dislike in both?
In addition to consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, there are other oral forms, like intermittent and focus groups. Basically, consecutive requires rephrasing and own-writing-deciphering skills and the others are direct delivery of the language. I find consecutive the most difficult of all forms since it requires notetaking and notereading (your own notes!). I have done a total of 3 consecutive interpretations in my career, and although some people do prefer them (to my great surprise), I think that associative learning (memorization of translated word associations) is easier than rephrasing. However, consecutive training is a good learning method.
4. However, you go even beyond and also translate (both technical texts and books). Do you prefer one over the other (translation x interpretation)? If so, why? If not, what do you like and dislike in both? 5. Do you only translate from Portuguese into English (your mother tongue)? Why don’t you feel comfortable translating into Portuguese, even after living for so long in Brazil?
Again I will merge the two ideas since one leads into the other.
Actually, I do not like technical texts or books. If you consider that any text which is not conversational is technical, including literary texts, then I would have to say that I only like certain technical texts, including literary texts, where the technicality comes in knowing the language perfectly. Then, after a translator has sweated many hours looking up technical terms and can say that he/she has relatively mastered the subject, even though he did not do 5 years of college to learn the terminology, he is comfortable enough to say that he likes technical translation, but, mind you, only in that particular subject that he has mastered. I, for one, love to do cosmetics (actually very technical) because I have been translating its terminology for many years, and, even though I don’t know all the terms, I am comfortable to accept, even welcome, the challenge of finding those I don’t know. On the other hand, I will promptly refer any engineering or equipment maintenance texts to my colleagues who now master and welcome these fields, because of their years of exposure.
Books was the second question and my answer was that I don’t prefer them either. I think it all depends on your customer base. All my customers have short deadlines, and I don’t mean “for yesterday,” but short texts, commonly institutional, that don’t take more than a few days to complete. Because of the fast translation turnover of my customer base, I must give anyone wishing to translate a book a l-o-n-g delivery date, since I must translate the book at the same time as I fulfill the translation needs of my regular customer base. Sometimes it works out, and books authors accept the terms.
Lastly, you broached the issue of translation versus interpretation. This depends on one’s personal vision of one’s career. For example, it is difficult to be a teacher and also available for simultaneous interpreting, because you cannot miss too many classes. I saw many students invited to join the Alumni faculty after they graduated, but, since they were excellent interpreters, and the pay is much different, they chose to pursue a better paying and more personally satisfying career in interpretation, and very rightfully so, since they were very good at a very difficult profession. As for me, I was frustrated at the beginning of my profession by a colleague whom I was practicing my Portuguese (and she, her English) with. After scrutinizing my second translation into Portuguese, she had marked my paper with only a dab of red ink. However, all the joy I felt in seeing the few corrections (mostly commas), were abruptly crushed by the words, “It’s all grammatically correct, but it isn’t Portuguese.” I had failed to realize that Portuguese is very nominal, whereas English is very verbal. Now that I know, I can’t really say that it is too late, because my customer base has always been avid for translations into English, which I was better at than Portuguese, so why sweat it?
It is better to go with what you know!
As for the pay, my students reward me in so many other ways; I embrace teaching with great satisfaction – I love to teach; I found my core in teaching translation/interpretation.
6. You introduced the didactic material of the simultaneous interpretation oral skills segment of Alumni’s Translator and Interpreter Course and are responsible for updating it throughout the years. In your opinion, what topics should every interpretation course cover?
Yes, when Alumni added another day to its course to cover oral skills like simultaneous interpretation, I and the teacher responsible for “the other way around,” namely from English to Portuguese, asked how we should put together this course, what should be given. The answer we received was whatever and however we thought best. After many, many, many hours of toilsome thought, I decided that the best place to start was filling in the gaps of what was needed in the original Alumni course (creating a glossary based on the pertinent terminology of the interpretation job) and this led to organizing and managing the target of oral delivery. As mentioned before, I prefer associative learning (memorizing basic translation associations) to what I would call a “philosophical” didactic approach, but admittedly with tips on how to enhance delivery of the know-how.
Updating? Always, since language lives and breathes, always changing and updating itself. We translators must keep abreast.
Topics? Those that all translations and interpretation require, i.e., all involve some degree of marketing, management, economics and business. No matter what the topic, these are always addressed, because we are taking about companies that want to make money selling their wares. Apart from these, interpreters must know a little (or perhaps a lot!, but a little is good for starters, and experience provides the lots) of everything, because one never knows when a lecturer will make an example from a totally different field, or cite a current event from today’s newspaper. We interpreters always have to stay on our toes. For those more interested in literary translations (I would say that you practically have to choose between one or the other), the prerequisite is definitely knowing one’s own language. Even with all my college English and reading, and the many layers of knowledge that I have accumulated over the years, I could never equal this with the same dose in Portuguese, never! Moreover, I have to constantly update myself in my own language, as it lives and breathes at a heartbeat that I passionately desire to grasp.
7.Now it’s your turn. Who do you nominate as our next great woman in translation?
I would have to say it is Elenice Araujo. Hopefully she will accept.
And she has! 😀 Thank you, Nancy, for accepting Angela Levy’s nomination and my invitation, and for kindly taking the time to answer my questions. It was a pleasure to e-meet you!