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machine translation service

Machine translation service VS. professional translation. Who’s gonna win?

Technology advances by leaps and bounds. News about machine translation service vs. professional translation flood the web. Now, are we facing a paradigm shift in terms of translation services for flesh and blood professionals?

The development of artificial intelligence attempts to eliminate existing linguistic borders. That is why language translation and interpretation services are a daily reality necessary for the advancement of globalization.

Before getting into the subject, it is important to clarify some concepts to understand how the development of artificial intelligence can affect the translation sector.

What is AI? What is a machine translation service?

Artificial intelligence is the combination of systematic operations that allow the creation of machinery with capabilities and behaviours similar to those of human beings. In other words, artificial intelligence is the endowment of human thought to a machine.

The operation of this system consists of analyzing large amounts of data to identify patterns and trends. This is how a machine translation service can make automatic predictions with great speed and precision. So, can a machine replace a meat-and-bone translator?

“Perhaps we should associate artificial intelligence as a tool and not as a substitute.”

Machine translation services facilitate your daily life

There are many machine translations services that facilitate the daily life of many people in daily or professional matters since they solve small linguistic doubts and thus help communication with the rest of the world.

Leaving aside the emotional part

Until now, these systems have been capable of automatically translating any type of text in a mechanical and technical way. The problem? They leave aside the emotional part. For this reason, a machine translation service can act as a lifesaver in some situations that do not require formal communication.

Google’s machine translation service was phrase-based, meaning the software looked for the best match for each phrase in dictionary terms.

At the end of 2016, a new method called Google Machine Neural Translation (GMNT) was created. It was based on artificial intelligence and therefore capable of reducing errors made with the previous system used by up to 80 percent.

The system is made up of an artificial neural network. It assumes each phrase as a translation unit, thus creating an automatic phrase-by-phrase context. In addition to the comparison between the translation databases already created, this machine translation service also uses a self-learning mechanism that allows you to deduce the language rules independently. That is, the neural network develops its own language by forming equivalences between phrases and words from different languages ​​creating a much more human conceptual-semantic representation. In this way, the system creates a much more fluid translation, similar to that of a flesh and blood translator.

Language combination that works best: English to Spanish

The language combination that works best under Google Translate is English <> Spanish. This is due to the fact that the applied neural translation is much more advanced and therefore the quality of the service is much better.

It is clear that the automation of any process represents a great challenge for companies, when it is not a direct threat for those translation and interpreting companies that do not anticipate events and specialize in post-publishing.

Machine translation services not to replace translator – Proof by example

In conclusion, an automatic machine translation service can help translate but will it replace him/her entirely? Not just yet as can be seen from the example below.

Naz Mila, an Instagrammer from Turkey with nearly 900,000 followers used Google Translator and end up writing something on her body that didn’t make sense.

Naz wanted to write in ink on her skin something that had a deep meaning. She chose a well-known phrase i.e. “Only God can judge my mistakes and truths”. But things did not go as she expected.

Using Google translator, Naz translated the phrase from Turkish to English without being aware that the result that the machine translation service was giving her was not correct. “I can judge a single God with my mistakes and errors”.

Fortunately, the person responsible for making the tattoo was able to fix the error. Thank goodness!

This shows that literal translation does not take into account the context or intent of the phrase immersed in the cultural setting in which it is applied. This way, we obtain a totally erroneous translation, requiring the supervision of a human translator to review the final translations created by a machine translation service.

A Human Translator Interprets All the Possible Meanings of a Sentence

When a human translator receives a text that he must translate, he must interpret through a previous analysis all the possible meanings of each of the sentences that make up the text in a meticulous and exhaustive way. In order to carry out this work, the translator must be trained in the source and target languages ​​to control the semantics and grammar of the text. He/she must be able to adapt it within an appropriate cultural framework.

Normally when a translator faces a text, he must know how to solve some complex problems such as:

  • Grammar problems: The grammar of the languages ​​with which we work will be our main resource to know how to properly construct each of the sentences that make up a text.
  • Semantic problems: Those referring to the meaning or interpretation of linguistic signs such as symbols, words or expressions.
  • Cultural problems: They are problems related to expressions and vocabulary typical of the country of the source and destination language, such as festivals, cultural references, etc.
  • Syntactic problems: It refers to those concordance and hierarchical relationships between words when they are grouped and make up simple sentences or compound sentences.
  • Intentional problems: The intention of the text that is translated to interpret the text, for example, before an ironic phrase.
  • Language problems: Whatever language we immerse ourselves in, we come across words or expressions from a different language. The mix of languages ​​means that the translator has to know the intention of the author and keep the expression in the chosen language.

What will happen to the translation industry?

What the future dictates is that machine translation services will continue to improve. They will allow the use of this work system in language translation and interpretation companies, as this is happening now with computer-assisted translation tools.

It is not a question of rejecting this work methodology, but rather of adapting it as best as possible to the processes of each of the companies creating cohesion between the machine translation service and human translation.

Although machine translation shows signs of constant improvement, it does not mean that the end result is better than that of a human translator, especially if heterogeneous samples are taken to generate patterns and create the final translations.

It is important to know that if the automatic methodology is used, the reworking and subsequent revision by a professional are essential to unify concepts and solve those mistakes made by artificial intelligence.

Consensus needed between AI and the translation industry

From the point of view of many professionals in the sector, we agree that we must create a consensus between the world of artificial intelligence and the world of translation to turn a machine translation service into an interesting work tool, but in no case conceive it as a substitute for the translator.

We still do not know how human intelligence works, so there is still a long way to go before affirming that the neural networks of artificial intelligence processes will replace human work.

Working from home tips: How to WFH and not die trying

Working from home tips

Working from home and not die trying – DEFINITIVE GUIDE

Teleworking has exploded. While we understand why it is a necessity, it is not always easy. So here’s some working from home tips to better manage the situation and avoid many pitfalls.

Working from home – What is it?

Working from home tips: WFH (Working From Home) is a flexible way of organizing work. In other words, it is the performance of the professional activity of a worker without the need for physical presence in the company’s own offices or facilities.

In this case, the activity implies the use of new information and communication technologies that allow them to carry out their usual work from any location.

This modality can increase satisfaction and productivity, but it does not work in the same way for everyone. Therefore, it is important to give workers the option of choosing the modality of teleworking or face-to-face work.

But what is the current problem?

Measures to contain COVID-19 require working from home without prior notice and without drills. So it is important to follow a series of guidelines to maintain productivity and above all, maintain sanity.

Perhaps many of you are used to working this way, especially in the translation sector, this work methodology is very common. But even so, for many this situation is completely new and they do not know how to deal with it.

Working from home tips – Benefits for the Employee

Flexible schedule

The management of work and rest time according to your productivity levels allows you to organize yourself as you want to obtain a better work performance.

Geographic flexibility

Teleworking allows you to improve your workspace and choose the most suitable one for you. In this sense, there are many people who work better from home, or simply work from a different city. What is the important? Get to know yourself to know where you are most productive, have a computer and an Internet connection.

Saving time and money

We know that to work we have to move and in most cases this is a significant waste of time, time that we could dedicate to other aspects of our lives.

These trips, obviously, require an investment of money that we can save whether we use public transport as a private vehicle. The important thing is that your pocket, your health and the environment will thank you.

Work and family conciliation

With the aforementioned time savings, you can afford to spend that time in your family environment.

Greater autonomy

It is probably the most obvious advantage, since the autonomy and participation of workers in decision-making drive innovation, empowerment and work performance.

Working from home tips – Benefits for the Company

Increased productivity

If you implement work from home in conjunction with a new goal-tracking policy, surely workers will meet them in a much more efficient way. They are the ones who manage their time and know when they are most productive.

Saving Money

For the company, this type of work allows savings in costs, space and furniture.

Increased satisfaction

It is clear that working from home has many benefits for employees that reinforce their motivation and commitment. This is a great reason why the degree of satisfaction of the contractual conditions increases, while improving the commitment and valuation of the company.

Reduction in Absenteeism

It is logical that even if you work from home, you have to meet objectives, so teleworking allows you to regulate your time and as it gives you that flexibility.

Technological innovation

Unfortunately, not all companies or sectors can afford working from home either by investment or by the type of activity they carry out.

To implement it, it is important that the company adopts technological innovations. Good communication channels with the rest of the team, equipment and Internet connection are necessary.

Greater Reach to Professionals

Have greater access to professionals who, initially for personal or work reasons, cannot travel to their office but can work from home. This option offers the Human Resources Department a greater range of professionals within reach.

Working from home tips – Keys to Approach Teleworking and Not Die Trying

Overnight telecommuting has become a challenge for many of us. But what is the real challenge?

The ideal place for working from home is a special room in your house. You can use an outdoor office with natural light, a desk with all the organized and necessary material and an ergonomic chair that protects your back.

You might think that your home does not have a room that enables to work from home when you can adapt to this situation.

Your goal will be to scratch square metres from anywhere, be it a terrace or a hallway. The question is to prepare a place of approximately two metres by two metres, the ideal and standard measure necessary for teleworking.

What are the determining factors when choosing your workspace?

The lighting will be the determining factor while a challenge because in most cases it is difficult to find a space with natural light.

The natural light favours productivity. The recommendation is that the space must be oriented north to have a balanced light and thus avoid reflections.

As for the furniture, you have to be just as strict. In the end, you will spend eight hours in a chair so it is important to take care of your back and your cervical.

Choose an approved ergonomic chair that allows certain regulations to adapt to your height and inclination. You have no such chair? Don’t worry. The first days you can settle for any chair that is available in your home, but it won’t take long for you to have muscle aches. So, you can already anticipate these ailments and order a suitable chair for this situation.

No less important is the work table, which is recommended to have a height of approximately 80 centimetres and a length depending on the space and the use you give it.

You like glass tables, right? It is also an incredible decorative element for us, but for working from home it is not good since shiny materials reflect and can cause unnecessary glare.

Some of you will believe that you have already finished conditioning your workspace but you are missing some key elements that are not usually taken into account. Customizing your workplace is important to feel that you are part of it and to give it a touch of warmth, but how?

A simple plant, photo frame or a board with memories placed in a strategic place that does not get in the way and that provides a bit of freedom and warmth will make your workday a little more bearable.

The order of everything that makes up your space can help you overcome all those psychological effects of confinement. It is more than proven that disorder negatively influences performance and mood with which we face work.

An orderly workspace is an orderly mind.

Now if you have an incredible workspace to telecommute!

Maintaining productivity without going to the office or production centre cannot be improvized. It sounds like a cliché, but if we don’t establish a routine we won’t know how to organize our time.

Many of you believe that you can telecommute without first establishing a clear and concise routine. It may be somewhat easier for those who already have experience working from home but the inexperienced or newbie will have the feeling of being on vacation or on a day off. Error!

Since there is no one to “watch”, for many, time management can be a difficult task to control, so the important thing is to set strict schedules and habits just as you would in the office.

It is clear that the flexibility that working from home offers you is much greater and there is no fixed pattern to follow to establish a routine and schedules since it depends on the type of work, personalities and circumstances of each one.

Growing up is establishing routine as a healthy habit.

The ideal is to start studying the spaces of time:

  • Schedule to start and end the working day. Working from home does not mean being available 24 hours a day.
  • The hours in which you will have more silence and solitude to be able to carry out those tasks that require more concentration.
  • The most productive moment of the day adapted to the normal schedule of the company.
  • The ideal times for videoconferences or virtual meetings.
  • The hours that we will dedicate to more dynamic tasks such as answering calls or answering emails.
  • The pause times to take breaks.

In order to make the established routine a healthy habit, you should set daily and weekly goals according to the project you are currently on. Remember that the achievement of these objectives and the achievement of success depends on your work being properly executed.

Another one of those working from home tips: Let’s be honest, we know that the biggest benefit of working from home is that we can do it in our pyjamas. It is difficult to get rid of this comfortable garment while at home so we have to take advantage of these circumstances to put on more formal and comfortable clothes.

According to experts, if you are able to follow the routine of taking a shower, having breakfast and putting on comfortable clothes, you will feel much more agile and receptive to approach the workday successfully.

Be careful, it is not about dressing in tight jeans, a suit jacket or a dress to work from home. It consists of choosing a style to adapt it every day, that is, if in the end you choose a very comfortable and elegant set such as a sweatshirt and leggings, do not make it your work uniform because not every day is the same, and the way in which we dress can help us approach the day with energy and positivity.

Face the day by telling your mind and body that you are working.

Dressing professionally makes us adopt a different mental state to feel more present and increase our level of dedication and commitment.

  • Look for comfortable looks

The ‘comfy’ sets are in fashion so do not hesitate to use these wonderful garments combining them with other more sophisticated garments to have a total office look.

  • Footwear is important

You’re at home, why wear shoes? You might think you can put any type of shoe if you are going to be at home. It turns out that if you only use specific shoes (sleepers!), they will take over you in such a way that, you will constantly have the feeling of ‘being thrown’ even if you are properly groomed and dressed.

  • Comb your hair

Are you one of those who don’t even look in the mirror when they telecommute?

Indeed there is a multitude of quick hairstyles with which you look favoured without falling into the trap of neglecting this aspect with the crazy hair of just raised.

  • Get dressed up for meetings

If you do not leave home, what better way to take advantage of virtual meetings or conferences to fix them a little more and thus, embroider it.

Video hookups are proven to help form relationships, and if you’re not dressed appropriately, you could be sending the wrong message.

  • Brings a little colour

There are many days when you wake up with discouragement and negativity, so a good colourful garment will make you see the day from another perspective.

  • Care for your skin

It is useless if we take care of our entire appearance if we do not take into account our skin. Many of us do not have terraces or balconies so that the sun can give us a little vitamin D, so it is important to take care of your skin from day one.

Establish a facial care routine if you haven’t done it before, or improve it if you already did. For those women who use makeup, it may be time to let your skin breathe and use only a basic and fluid makeup.

  • Forget about the fridge!

The gastronomic offer at home is too wide so, stop there! Establish schedules to get up to peck and not run the risk of constantly losing focus. Along the same lines, your daily meal schedule must be the same to know how to organize and plan your workday based on the fixed breaks that you have established.

  • Be responsible and do your daily work!

The current pandemic situation forces French companies to implement working from home. Thanks to broadband connections and new technologies, teleworking has become a common practice in many companies. But many people cannot do this type of work due to the high investment it entails or due to the type of activity. Discipline, discipline!

Make technological resources become your greatest ally.

The point is that not all existing companies are prepared nor are many. This depends on your business culture.

Beyond the usual telephone and email resources, those instant messaging and videoconferencing services in practice are very useful to establish daily or weekly meetings as if they were face-to-face.

What are the aspects to take into account?

Technological means

Without a device available on which to carry out your professional activity, working from home will not make sense. In no case, this situation will force employees to have to put the necessary technological resources out of their own pockets.

If employees do not have the necessary technological means, it should be the company that offers solutions.

Connected to a network

Working from home tips: Teleworking implies carrying out your work activity via an Internet connection. Therefore, cybersecurity is a crucial element. It is clear that cybercriminals will take advantage of this high volume situation of connected people to steal confidential information and impersonate identities.

Large companies that are used to this way of working know the protocols and encrypt their connections to avoid these events.

It is not a question of large, medium or small companies, but a global question that each and every businessperson must apply to ensure that all information is protected.

If you are reading this, it is surely your case and you want some indications to help you cope.

The harsh reality is that you have to arm yourself with patience, be organized and enhance the capacity for abstraction because you will have many moments of great frustration, anxiety and overwhelm.

Working from home tips: Working with your little ones

Sleeping hours

Another one of those working from home tips: It is important that the company you work for knows what your working conditions are, so the threshold of demand for your work activity be adapted to your situation.

We know that there are so many very repetitive tips on how to work from home that perhaps with little monsters hanging around the house are not feasible. Therefore, we know that there are no infallible solutions or correct answers that will help you better cope with this situation, but you can adapt these working from home tips to optimize your time and entertain your children.

Planning the workday and establishing a work routine seems like an easy task when you are not in charge of children who need constant attention.

When you have these little ones hanging around all the corners of the house and wanting to capture your attention, you understand that they are the ones who will set your schedules. Therefore, the best way to be productive and advance at work is to take advantage of those hours of the day when the little ones are relaxed. When we talk about these moments, we refer to the first hours of the day, at noon and at night because they coincide with their hours of sleep.

Perform physical exercise

Your main mission will be to tire them and an infallible way, knowing that children have tireless vitality and energy, is physical exercise.

Establish a routine adapted to the age of your children in which the whole family is involved to unite and make you disconnect. Physical exercise will compensate for passive entertainment to control the characteristic agitation of children.

Develop long-lasting activities

If you have children, you will know how intense they are because they demand constant attention and this, on many occasions, is a complicated task.

One of the solutions that works the most is to put your creativity and imagination to work to send your children long-lasting activities that they can do individually.

In this sense, there are many interactive games, online courses and others that help improve your children’s skills and help you get extra time to dedicate to your workday.

Do homework together

One of the things schools have done well is to put a significant burden of homework on children.

Homework time is a time that requires silence and attention, so while doing school work, we can take care of those professional tasks that do not require great concentration.

You will wonder why it is better to perform professional tasks that do not require great attention and the answer is that although they have tasks that they must carry out on their own, they have many doubts and you should try to solve them at the moment.

 Assign them responsibilities

How many times have we told our parents that we are bored and they made us clean our room?

You might think that it is a way to exploit them and that they carry out your own tasks, but for them it will be a way to feel useful and combat boredom with it.

Assigning them daily household chores like cleaning, cooking or tidying the house will make them feel older and responsible. It is not only about developing general tasks, but about learning to be independent and for them to start making their bed, making breakfast, getting dressed, etc.

Working from home tips – Conclusion

With the explosion of the information superhighways and the Internet, and the COVID situation, working from home has become a full-fledged job, highly appreciated by companies as well as employees or self-employed workers. Overall, teleworking presents a positive result, because if we look at it objectively, many of the advantages are major points for each of the stakeholders concerned. For the organization, the fact of increasing productivity is a direction to focus on. For the employee, the arguments are also strong. In fact, it is by establishing its objectives and priorities that the organization can determine whether teleworking is beneficial or not. Same for the employee!

For the self-employed translator, summer is such a good time. Or is it?

self-employed translator

Being a self-employed translator is usually associated with positive concepts such as freedom, independence and self-management. It might seem, at first glance, that those of us who decide to be self-employed can take vacations at any time and do whatever we want. However, reality is different.

You are a self-employed translator and here’s Summer!

Come June, it seems that everything is moving. Light, the sun, happiness and the energy of the environment influence a state of mind in which positivism predominates. On the horizon, the much desired and deserved rest for the self-employed translator. A time when we can forget about work, routines and day-to-day responsibilities, even if only for a week.

The self-employed translator’s mission: to satisfy the need of their clients

For the self-employed translator, it is generally not so. While it is true that we witness these good vibes and let ourselves be impregnated by them, our work does not understand vacations, summer or winter.

If this type of independent activity is characterized by something, it is because of the temporary nature of the professional assignments we receive. When the self-employed translator turns on his/her computer, it is because he/she has a delivery date and there is a company or person who expects us to comply scrupulously.

We work with a very specific objective: to satisfy the needs of our client so that he can call us tomorrow and assign us new projects.

Greater Activity for the Self-employed Translator

As a consequence of this modus operandi, summer can be a time like any other. It is likely that routines do not change much, except for those of us who live in hot areas, where nighttime rest is more difficult.

In fact, I would dare to say that it can even be a time of great activity, because of those companies that close in August and need to either have everything ready by the end of July or launch jobs in July to deliver in September.

Another issue is the much dreaded quarterly statement for the month of July, which every translator must prepare. This, added to the remaining operations necessary to run the business, is one more piece in the puzzle of the self-employed translator.

And I am not referring so much to the difficulty of what the treasury requires, but more to the time that must be spent: issuing and claiming invoices, accounting, gathering expenses, talking to suppliers, etc. Even for those who have the help of a manager, they also have to dedicate a few hours per quarter.

Conciliation, a Constant Concern for the Self-employed Translator

To this is added the family factor. For the self-employed translator who has committed the beautiful folly of having children, summer is a something that, at times, can be a bit distressing. Children spend all the time at home and, although there are summer camps and children’s activities, the school vacation period is very long.

Obviously, this makes conciliation extremely difficult, regardless of whether the professional activity is self-employed or employed. Taking a call, writing an email and let alone working on a commission becomes an almost impossible mission. For this reason, nights become great allies and the self-employed translator becomes more owls than sparrows.

All in all, the question with which I began this article has a relative answer. Summer, on the one hand, can be a good time, due to the professional activity that can be generated and the availability that some clients require, but, on the other, it can become a time of constant concern to reconcile family and work or little jobs.

In the end, the self-employed translator is like everybody else: his way to tackle the situation depends a lot on the person and their circumstances. There are those for whom it is the best option and for others, it is a nest of worries of all kinds.

Lack of activity? Do whatever you’ve been putting off for months.

To cover the range of possibilities as much as possible, I will also make references to those professionals who at this time suffer just the opposite effect, that is, a lack of activity, which can lead them to suffer financial difficulties and the anxiety that this entails. Translators generally have no shortage of work given the versatile nature of their activity: they correct, translate, proofread, write, etc. However, there are many other self-employed translators, more specialized, to whom it can happen.

Yet, we must not despair, but take this time to think about how to take advantage of what we have been putting off for months.

With more or less orders, greater or lesser responsibilities or family responsibilities, what is clear is that it is time to take advantage of the beautiful afternoons that summer gives us, the sea breeze, the smell of the mountains and the sunlight.

Thinking positive always pays off, whether it’s summer or not.

Language certificates: Are they really necessary?

Language certificates

Language certificates are an essential requirement for almost any resume

Language certificates are there, precisely, because both job offers and offers of degrees, postgraduates and different scholarships require it. In the specific case of translators, certification is a sine qua non condition from the first years of their career since a translator must be required to master both the mother tongue (or of origin) as of the target. Now, are language certificates the best way to demonstrate the level of mastery of a language?

Mastery of a Second Language

As is well known, the level of mastery is established in relation to different standards; the international one is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages ​​(CEFR), based on a scale ranging from level A1 (the most basic) to C2 (command of the language). This criterion aims to provide “a common basis for the development of programs, curricular guidelines, exams, manuals, etc., throughout Europe” (Council of Europe, 2002, p. 17).

Likewise, the common framework approach aims to describe and teach what students must know to communicate in a foreign language; that is, what knowledge and skills must be managed in order to have a competence in another language and be able to use it in a daily context.

In this way, the CEFR allows planning, on the one hand, learning programs – objectives, content and selection of materials. On the other hand, its objective is certification ​​based on the description of the contents of the exams and the evaluation criteria based on the positive performance of the students.

What are language certificates useful for?

Language certificates are an essential requirement in certain contexts. In academia, for example, language certificates may be required to study at a foreign university or to enrol in a degree, postgraduate or doctoral program.

Furthermore, many universities include credits in their degrees – the most common is English . To obtain a degree, students have had to show a certain command of a foreign language – depending on university, a minimum level of B1 or B2 is required.

These language certificates are also required in the processes of obtaining nationalities. For example, to have Spanish nationality it is necessary, in addition to passing the CCSE test (Test of constitutional and sociocultural knowledge of Spain), to accredit an A2 level of Spanish through the DELE Spanish diploma of the Cervantes Institute.

Language certificates are also required in job offers; in some cases, not having them prevents the application from going ahead. This occurs when mastery of a second language is required that will be used as much or more than the applicant’s mother tongue. For example, some competitive examinations in Spain set a linguistic requirement such as mastering, in addition to Spanish, the co-official lingo of the territory in which the position is offered.

What do language certificates prove?

As we have indicated above, language certificates follow certain standards to set the levels of mastery, around which the learning programs and exams are articulated. However, the fact that the level of mastery depends on an exam – or a certificate – invites us to think about how teaching is planned.

In the first place, because languages ​​are conceived in relation to titles, that is, as keys that allow doors to be opened. And, indeed, this is so because they ​​are communication systems, but not because they are the means for obtaining a degree that, in turn, allows access to a job. Furthermore, the absence of language certificates attesting to mastery does not imply that a speaker cannot be competent in another tongue.

Language Certificates as Filters

In many cases, language certificates serve as filters to know the command of a language – for example, in job selection processes – without taking into account that there are people who master several languages ​​without having an official accreditation for it. If one takes into account that it is possible to acquire falsified certifications – just take a look on the Internet or on the deep web – the paradox may arise that someone with an official title does not know how to say a word in that language, pulling by land the entire theoretical basis of the standardization of the domain of languages.

Division of Languages ​Is an Artificial Fragmentation

Second, the division of languages ​​into watertight compartments is an artificial fragmentation, a mere convention, which is not necessarily based on daily performance, but rather conforms to the criteria designed by teaching programs. If the purpose of the teaching programs is focused on knowing how to function in an exam model, then the student will know how to take an exam on vocabulary or grammar, but will not necessarily know how to handle a conversation away from the classrooms.

If the example is allowed, something similar happens with the driver’s license: you are taught to pass a test by repeating – sometimes in intensive courses – many different tests. As with the practical exam: you are taught how to pass an exam, but you learn how to drive later, on a day-to-day basis and when there is no longer a teacher as co-driver. Something similar happens with language teaching: patterns are taken as a basis and students are guided on how to take an exam. The language is acquired later, with the use and with the need to communicate.

Conclusion About the Usefulness of Language Certificates

In short, the usefulness of language certificates is indisputable both for the labour market and for academics, since it is agreed that accreditation  is certified by the knowledge of a second language. Although, in reality, what proves the knowledge of a language is its implementation. Because, as they say, “movement is demonstrated by walking.”

Legal Translator: The translation, The Whole Translation and Nothing But…

legal translator

Legal Translator and Challenges

Technical language in a foreign language is always a big challenge, particularly for a legal translator. With the increasing collaboration between countries in the commercial and economic spheres, the exchange of information flows very quickly.

Having good Dictionaries and Reference Material is Essential

Imagine a French doctor who has the opportunity to take a specialization course in an English-speaking country. Studying the technical terms in English is of paramount importance and a great challenge. This professional will have to study how to say “head”, “surgery”, “scalpel” and other expressions in English. Having good dictionaries and reference material is essential. Once the doctor learns these and other key terms in the English language, he is prepared to take classes in a foreign country.

A Legal Translator Challenge: No Equivalence between Legal Terms in French and English

Let us now look at the example of a lawyer who has the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in law (known as LLM) in the United States. Like the doctor in the paragraph above, he will have to study the technical language in English, in this case, the technical-legal language.

In addition to all the challenges faced by the physician in the search for the acquisition of technical language, the lawyer will face yet another obstacle: the fact that, in the vast majority of times, there is no absolute equivalence between the legal terms in French and English. One of the classic examples given in this situation is the translation, into English, of the term “Dépayser”. While French people describe it as the sensation of being out of place in a foreign country, for a legal translator, it describes the dismissal of a case to be tried in another court.

The Legal Translator must know the Structure of Foreign Law – at least

The legal translator, however, will never be able to meddle in shedding the concept he needs to use in order to express himself correctly.

An essential instrument is the use of comparative law to approximate concepts between legal systems in different countries, that is, with prior knowledge, in this specific case, of the French legal system, the legal translator must dedicate himself to know, at least, the structure of foreign law, only then to start the process of shifting concepts from one language to another.

Comparative Law = know a Term in each Legal System and Distinguish the Common Elements

According to Soares “[…] ‘Comparative Law’ has a reality in the universe of law science, since it will always be possible to carry out a comparison of legal systems in different countries, with scientific methodology, to establish common and differentiated principles, including even a general theory of legal comparativism (in the manner of a universal grammar of all existing languages).

In Comparative Law, the aim is to make a comparison and once this is done, go on to a double task: a) know each term, in isolation, in its individuality and specificity, in each face-to-face system and b) of the approximation of both, distinguish the elements that exist in common and, from the discovery of common values, carry out the comparison.

Comparative Law should provide value judgements of the type ‘are equivalent’, ‘produce similar effects, given the same circumstances’, ‘are comparable, provided that such or which factual elements are disregarded’, judgements that should lead to a final decision that, deep down, it would lie in ‘recognizing an unknown institute’ in its effects, in a certain legal system.”

Dictionaries for the Legal Translator

An emphatic suggestion is the use of legal dictionaries recognized in the market. One of the most respected French – English dictionaries on the market is the Dictionnaire juridique Dahl français-anglais; Dahl’s law dictionary french-english.

A question that many translators ask me is the following: “Is it essential to have a law degree to be a good law translator?”

My answer is: it is not essential to be trained in law to be a good legal translator, however, it is essential, yes, to have basic knowledge of comparative law. Besides, this task is really fun!

Meditation for mindfulness and contemplation for translators

meditation for mindfulness in this age of information

Meditation for mindfulness: how to keep your head in place

Whenever I heard about the benefits of meditation for mindfulness, I went ahead and said it was not for me. After all, I live in an apartment on a busy avenue in busy South of France. I have no way of sitting daily in the lotus position to watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain. Let alone enjoy absolute silence. In addition, my head is like YouTube: just show me any kind of subject and it already triggers an endless list of related suggestions – or not so related. For this and others, “thinking about nothing” was out of the question.

Meditation for mindfulness in the age of hyperconnectivity

In addition, we live in the age of information, hyperconnectivity, rapid changes, unimaginable volumes of data, news, updates, books, audiobooks, podcasts, magazines, series, films and applications that measure everything in this life, with just one click. .

All this volume of information and possibilities, combined with my naturally restless mind as a translator and a personality that does not believe that there is a useless culture, began to weigh and overwhelm me. It didn’t take long for me to experience the symptoms of anxiety, difficulty sleeping and anguish for feeling that I was always in debt (of information), always struggling with so much content to consume and tasks to accomplish.

Multitasking or what?

To try to “handle everything”, I trained myself to be multitasking. I brush my teeth while opening the windows of my apartment. I always ate listening to podcasts or reading the news, and with that, I swore I was optimizing my time. Was not. And it was then that I realized that almost everything I did in life was on autopilot.

Look, I’m not here to vilify autopilot, no. We would not survive if we had to focus 100% on all of our activities. It’s a matter of survival. But letting that be the pattern that dictates the pace of our lives and deifying the ability to do several things at the same time is also not the way.

Lack of Attention Can Even Be Fatal

To give an idea of ​​my mental state, due to lack of attention at the present moment, I locked my wife inside the house and took mine and her keys – twice. I managed to get back before she found out. I already turned off the kitchen power breaker when we left to travel. It spoiled everything that was in the freezer and refrigerator, and the smell, after 15 days, was one of a crime scene, even after a very good friend gave a cleaned up before I returned home).

And raise your hand here who has already rescued socks from the trash can, which obviously should have been placed in the basket of dirty clothes. Nothing serious, I know, despite the inconvenience. But in extreme cases, lack of attention can even be fatal. It is not for nothing that the need to put the sign “Before entering the lift, be sure there is a carriage at your floor.”

The interpreter needs to listen, analyse, produce speech and store information in short-term memory

My work as an interpreter already requires, by nature, that I divide my attention between different and simultaneous efforts. According to Daniel Gile’s Theory of Effort Model, the interpreter needs to listen and analyse, produce speech in the target language and store information in short-term memory. All at the same time and all the time. As my job requires all this concentration, I knew that I needed to strengthen this unnatural capacity and give my brain a break.

I knew that something needed to change in me. And it was with the certainty that it would be a great challenge to relearn how to do everyday tasks with more attention.

It was necessary to learn to slow down, to breathe, to choose to do one thing at a time. In other words, to search for meditation for mindfulness.

“Meditation for mindfulness is a place to breathe in the whirlwind of life,” according to my former Australian yoga instructor. “It is a state of mind in which you breathe, allow your mind to stabilize and provide clarity of thoughts.”

Practising Meditation for Mindfulness Does Not Require a Zen Environment

In a very simple way, to practise meditation for mindfulness you don’t need a privileged view or a Zen environment. You can be present and mindful like that, exactly the way you are now. It doesn’t matter if you have an airplane flying over your house or an ambulance siren going off.

If you decide to lower the dust of your thoughts, sit comfortably (preferably without laying down so you don’t fall into the trap of total relaxation and drowsiness). Keep your feet flat on the ground. Close your eyes and pay attention only to your breathing, the way your chest moves when you inhale and exhale, the temperature of the air, the amount of air entering and leaving the lungs until the timer tells you that you have reached the end of the practice.

Is it easy? No, it’s not. At first, 5 minutes of this practice seems like an eternity. All you think is, “Is there still much left?” Your head begs you to give up, provokes you with thoughts of “I can’t do it”, “I’m tired”, “I’ll stop before, just this once”. But if you persist and let go of those thoughts, practice becomes more comfortable. You can increase the time and reap the benefits of a more peaceful mind.

An exercise alternative is to focus only on perceptions, not breathing. It is a scan of every bit of your body. The sensation of your right foot inside the shoes you are wearing now, the points where your body touches the seat and back of the chair, the texture of your clothes touching the skin, the existence of tension in a specific part of your body. It is crazy to realize that these things were there all the time and we don’t give them the slightest attention.

By having more self-awareness, we start to notice these forgotten parts of the body. And by exercising to be more present, we come to know ourselves better and understand that, many times, what we were feeling was not hunger, but thirst, which is irritated because a piece of clothing is uncomfortable or even learns to appreciate, in a totally new way, the taste of common everyday foods.

Daily exercise strengthens our mind during your meditation for mindfulness. Without realizing it, we remember to breathe better in times of stress. We learn to calm down when faced with difficult decisions, to prioritize our demands clearly.

Today, Many Applications Help, but Don’t Delay

Nowadays, there are many applications, such as Headspace, Lojong that offer guided practices. All of them have free and paid versions, and it is worth downloading at least one and getting started today!

Look, if you thought everything was incredible, but you decided to start on Monday or prefer to wait to have time to practise mindfulness, I already say that this will not happen. You have to create that time. Let it be 4, 5 minutes a day, every day. Needless to say, even when we claim we don’t have any time, we “get lost” for much more than these minutes in the abyss of social networks and the pitfalls of the internet.

Can’t you do the formal practice? Try informal practice. Choose any task of the day to do with mindfulness. This time, you will not focus on breathing or the body, but on performing a specific task. If you are going to brush your teeth, for example, do it as if it were the first time in your life to do this activity. Pay attention to the colour of the paste, the smell, the appearance, the shape of the brush, the material it is made of. See the amount of paste you put, the flavour, the texture, the temperature of it. Pay attention to brushing movements, as the brush touches the teeth, the gums, the amount of foam that forms.

I know it sounds like crazy talk, but I guarantee it will be a rich experience to realize the little pleasures hidden in an ordinary day, like enjoying the feeling of the light morning sun warming your face.

Practise, Persist and Accept Yourself With Meditation for Mindfulness

In short, practice, persist and accept yourself. Let the thoughts go. When thoughts arise, instead of clinging and giving too much importance to them, turn your attention to your breathing or where you have decided to anchor your concentration. Don’t judge yourself and be patient with yourself.  It is human nature to have thoughts, expectations, impatience, feelings of avoidance. When these thoughts arise, be kind to yourself, acknowledge their existence, turn your attention to your breathing and sustain as much as you can without judgement.

Finally, as a support for always, I suggest you follow the One Mind Meditation Podcast. It is a channel created by a veteran meditator that brings content for you to better understand your mind and emotions and live in peace with yourself.

Be welcome! May you be well.

Accounting Manager – Should you be one as well as a translator?

accounting manager for your translation business

As an accounting manager /administrator and/or bookeeper for your business, how much time do you spend on your accounting routine? As a freelancer, without a team to do this for you, have you ever stopped to think about the time you spend organizing your finances?

As an accounting manager for your business, still using an Excel sheet?

Currently, whenever people come to me asking me for a finance tip and I start asking about their financial routine, I always get the following answers: As an accounting manager for my translation business, I have an Excel spreadsheet (which I barely fill out) or do paper checks (notepad, Post-it, desktop). And there is never, ever, financial planning in the short or medium term in my accounting managerial activity. In other words, they don’t know if they can parcel out a new computer, for example, for the simple fact that they do not know what their turnover is (just an approximate idea, according to the volume of work).

Be in Control of Your Finance

I don’t know about you, but as an accounting manager for my translation business, this lack of information is not for me: I need to be in control of my money all the time. How much, in cash, I am making at the moment (but I have not yet charged), how much I am to receive and, finally, how much I have already received and information I must send to my professional accounting manage. But it is not possible to waste time with this information, nor to produce and collect it. You, like me, as a freelancer, know that our most valuable tool is TIME. And if we spend our time organizing ourselves (albeit effectively), we don’t produce – and consequently – we don’t make money.

Accounting managerial skills at work

Recently, I had an experience working with my financial management app that, honestly, proved to be valuable in gaining the skills I always recommend to other people – Organization, discipline and attention to finance, as well as my translations.

A customer happened to contact me asking to review the amounts he had already paid, as he believed he was paying me in duplicate. Of course, anyone can say that it doesn’t take much discipline to resolve this, just go to your online banking and take a copy of your statement. Yes and no. If you do that, you have to remember (and I am terrible at remembering anything) when the customer paid you or, as I said before, you will waste time doing this check. And that was the big problem! I accessed my accounting software and had two exact invoices paid, one due and the other for the following month. In 30 seconds, I had all the necessary information, I passed it on to my client and the problem was solved. Now he knows what amount he owes me and what he had already paid (none in duplicate). What’s what a good accounting manager should be able to do.

By returning with the information in 30 seconds (which, in any other way, I would take at least 1 hour), I saved my time (continuing to dedicate myself to translating during the day), avoided mistakes (because the information there was correct) and I avoided stress (both for me and my client).

And if it didn’t take me long to collect this information, even less I would have spent to produce it. For efficient control, whatever the method, discipline is the only way. So, whenever a new project arrives, I launch it on my accounting managerial tool as soon as I receive the client’s acceptance.

Good Accounting Managerial Skills Are Good for Your Stress Level

It is a calming factor for me, and for my stress level, as an accounting manager for my translation business, to know where the money is. So, in times of despair, when I think I’m ‘going bankrupt’, I open my accounting tool and see all the data straight away.

That is why financial control is so important, especially when we are CEO, head of accounting, coffee barista and janitor of our company. We cannot delegate these tasks, except to ourselves. And in a busy routine, as I know, yours is, you can’t waste time on inefficient accounting management.

It is very important, then, that you coldly analyse your financial control: as an accounting manager for your translation business, does it meet all your needs, both in information management and time management? Because if it doesn’t meet one of these requirements, now it may be the ideal time for you to change and do differently in 2020, adding time to your day to day, to be able to dedicate yourself to what really matters: your translation business.

I decided to change years ago and drop Excel for an accounting managerial tool call Wave Accounting: This tool is an online tool, and contains all my accounting managerial information so that I am now more organized financially in 2020. I strongly recommend it!

Marketing Translation – Languages and Marketing, such a good combination

marketing translation - Languages and Marketing, such a good combination

Marketing translation – Never two areas were as complementary and necessary as they are today, language and marketing.

In recent years, the fields of marketing and translation have experienced great interest from professionals and consumers, due to the arrival of television on demand, social networks and, in general, the force with which it has broken the digital realm in our lives.

In this context, people with training in languages ​​and in marketing and communication have much to offer, because we combine commercial knowledge, that is, what tools and techniques are the best to sell in the digital environment, with excellent knowledge of our language, and marketing translation.

As a marketing translator, I have tried over the years to extract the best of these two disciplines. I would like to share my experience of marketing translation with an excerpt of an interview held on Buzzsprout in November 2019 about translation and marketing. Here it is…

What are you currently focusing on?

Currently, I dedicate 100% to digital marketing. As a freelance translator, I work on social networks, email marketing campaigns, social media ads, blogging for companies and SEO which I translate from English into French.

In addition, I always dedicate an important percentage of my time to training and updating, since the marketing translation sector is always constantly evolving and it is essential to be up to date.

What has led you to devote yourself to digital marketing from the linguistic field?

The truth is that, in my case, it has been a natural process, nothing premeditated. While it is true that I studied Translation and Interpretation of English and French, from the beginning I have been more linked to the business sector than to translation itself.

Throughout my professional career, I have worked for SMEs and also for large multinationals and all that experience has opened the way for me and clarified the ideas about what I want to do, what I like, what I do better and also, of course, where I don’t want to go back to.

In digital marketing, I really enjoy developing my creativity and it is also a very dynamic task, where every day is different. You can’t fall asleep on your laurels because you have to always be up to date. And that motivates me! On the other hand, working on my own has given me the flexibility I needed to spend time with my family. And, unlike other translation projects, where sometimes you get a subtitle project that you have to deliver in two weeks and you need to work day and night during that time to meet the deadlines, in marketing translation, projects are not as urgent. They are usually long-term jobs, with which I can make work and family much more compatible. That factor is my case has been decisive.

Do you combine marketing with translation or is it something you do sporadically?

No. Although I do a lot of English and French subtitles and dubbing, today I can say that I dedicate 100% of my time to digital marketing. However, digital marketing and translation, linguistics and communication are areas that go hand in hand. So many times, I translate web pages, translate content for blogs from English to French ​​or correct texts that are going to be published, so I apply my linguistic and marketing knowledge in equal parts.

After all, the possibility of combining my two passions is fascinating and enriching.

What are the main challenges you encountered when you decided to start?

The challenges facing an entrepreneur are always the same, with the difference that not everyone has the same economic and family situation.

In my specific and particular case, undertaking marketing translation meant not having the stability of a job with a specific schedule and salary and looking for something better, more flexible and more motivating.

It is never easy to lose your comfort zone, especially when we have been taught that you have to aspire to have something fixed, whatever it is, whether you like it or not and try to retain it forever. However, experience has taught me that if we are going to have to work a lifetime, it is very hard to perform a position that you do not like or feel that your work will not have any progression in the next 30 years.

So, the biggest challenge was to visualize myself doing what I liked and go for it. I think you’ll always regret not having tried to do what you love, whatever it is.

What challenges do you think the translation sector faces today?

From my humble point of view, I believe that the greatest challenge is to get the work of a professional translator sufficiently valued, so that machines can never replace a job as complex as translation.

On the other hand, I believe that curricula for Degrees of Translation are totally outdated and disconnected from the real world that the translator will find at the end. It is an aspect that should be changed urgently. I believe that areas such as taxation, business administration, human resource management and even personal development or stress management should be reflected in some way in almost all studies.

Remember that we are in a globalized world, where you may study in Berlin, do internships in Tokyo and end up setting up a company in Bali. We need more training to get as far as we want.

What about challenges in marketing translation?

Digital marketing has numerous aspects and, in my opinion, there are two important challenges:

Create versatile, integrating and powerful tools that include all the work of marketing in one, to facilitate the work of professionals from a single platform. From where you can program, analyse, monitor and manage a multitude of platforms (websites, networks, blogs, e-commerce, advertising, translation, etc.). We are currently forced to have 200 applications and 500 programs to cover everything. And that makes the task difficult and affects productivity.

Humanize the world of marketing. By that, I mean stop thinking like machines and see the customer as a person. Empathize with him/her and avoid the dreaded bombing of campaigns we receive from some companies. It’s hard to set a limit, but I think we should make marketing a friend of the customer and not an enemy. In other words: ‘make as many marketing campaigns as you would like to receive as a customer.’

What added value can a translator bring to the field of digital marketing?

Very much. There are many professionals in the marketing translation sector who, for one reason or another, have moved to the digital marketing sector.

In my opinion, once a translator has been trained in this area and has even deepened in one of its areas (SEM, copywriting, SEO, web design, etc.), either with work experience or through a course specialization, your work can be very valuable for both a company and working as a freelancer.

We must bear in mind that translators specialized in marketing translation have a very deep knowledge of communication itself, as well as mastery of one or several foreign languages. If you combine this with any field of knowledge, the result will be truly exceptional. But in marketing, in addition, I think writing, communicating, expressing yourself, being able to convince and persuade, empathizing, generating emotions, these skills have an enormous value…

A translator trained in digital marketing will feel valued, versatile, useful and, above all, motivated, if he/she likes to overcome challenges and not stagnate.

What would you say to translation and interpreting students who are considering taking this path?

The truth is that I’ve been in this industry for 25+ years and I’ve found many translators along the way. Each and every one of us can have family, economic or health difficulties, but the limitations in the end are in oneself.

A translator who is completing his/her studies does not have to think that they should spend the rest of their life sitting by their computer translating because they have no other option (without belittling anyone who wants to do it). There are a lot of options beyond that. Either linking their translation skills to digital marketing or other sectors. I think growing is key.

And if a person feels motivated by advertising, communication or marketing, go for it! From my point of view, a translator has a lot of future in marketing translation and digital marketing, as long as he.she trains, is patient, constant, humble and gives himself/herself time to evolve. In my opinion, a translator can go as far as he/she wants. It only depends on their ambition, desire to learn and overcome challenges.

Translate into English – What Your Customer Wants

Translate into English

One of your customers wants you to translate into English (or any other language for that matter) some documents?

Here are some tips that might be useful to many translators when accepting a job, whether for a translation agency or a direct client.

Be truthful. When in doubt, say No

If you are unsure whether you can meet a deadline or take on the project, be honest and say ‘No’ or ask for more time before accepting it. Asking for more time after the project starts will cause many problems.

Don’t Start without a Written Confirmation

If you do not have a clear written confirmation, a project number, and a work order, DO NOT start working. 

POs (work orders) include all project details such as schedule, agreed cost, list of files to translate into English and instructions. The translator should invoice only the amount included in this form, so read the PO and confirm all the details given before starting work on the project.

Don’t be afraid to ask

Customers are often happy to help as best they can, and you should always answer any questions you may have. If the Language Service provider cannot answer, they will ask the customer.

Follow the instructions, always!

Before you translate into English, always analyse customer requirements in detail. When dealing with a translation agency, the agency should have prepared a list of instructions for you. These instructions are most often included in the confirmation email, along with documentation for the project, to assist the translator during the translation process. It is essential to follow them. Otherwise, the translation agency and/or the client may need to ask you to redo the job.

Always use the Reference material provided

A good translation agency will always try to get the most reference documentation, definitions and context information from their customers. It is essential for the translator to read and understand this material before finishing the translation into English. This also shortens the completion time.

Check before you deliver

Always check your work very carefully before handing it over. A Language Service provider will likely return any work that has problems. This includes running an automatic (as well as manual) spell checker such as Antidote before delivering any work. Misspelled translations are unacceptable.

If you are a proofreader and the quality of the translation into English you need to review is poor, let the agency know before you begin. 

Always exemplify the problems. The LSP should review them and decide what to do. Also, remember that you can’t charge the agency more for the extra work unless they approve the additional cost before you start.

When you Translate into English, improve if you can

Proofreading means more than correcting purely linguistic errors. It also includes all aspects of a translation. When you translate into English and proofread your translation, you are expected to check for accuracy, spelling, grammar, style, uniformity, formatting, terminology, audience readiness, etc. Verifying means not only identifying errors or aspects that can be improved, but also correcting them directly in the translation to produce a finished text. If there is something you can translate better, change it.

Mark your changes and give feedback

It’s always nice to know what the proofreaders have changed in the translations. So, when reviewing a translation in Word, use the Track changes function, and when working in Excel, highlight the changed cell with a different background colour (you don’t need to mark each word unless you are required to do so). 

If the client needs detailed comments regarding the changes, they will ask and tell you where to make them. 

Always avoid using strikethrough, as it is laborious to finalize the text (as well as use the feature). 

Agencies often encourage proofreaders to provide feedback on translations. Do not be afraid to give your opinion!

If a change doesn’t improve the translation, don’t mess it up

Be critical when finalizing a translation after final customer proofreading. Always verify that the requested changes are correct or improve the translation before applying them. If not, do not implement the change and explain why.

Don’t be afraid to ask, but think before you do

When you translate into English , clients like it when you ask questions; it shows that you are paying attention to the project, but too silly or too misplaced questions can show that you do not know the subject or know what you are doing, and that can be a shot in the foot.

Try to Be as Professional and Objective as Possible

When giving your feedback, try to be as professional and objective as possible. Stick to the facts whenever possible with links or transcriptions of grammars, dictionaries or other references.

Improve the text if you can, but don’t split hairs to justify your job. Sometimes, the translation is really very good. In this case, praise the translator.

That’s it for now. I hope you found those tips useful and have a better idea of what customers really want when they order a translation into English from you, or any other language.  

Translator Skills you should have with your translation clients

Good Translator Skills

How to Ruin everything by lacking Translator Skills

Translator Skills: When running a translation business, it makes sense to have good basic translator skills i.e adopting the right attitude with customers and colleagues. If not, you take the risk of not being able to keep your current translation clients, if you are getting any clients at all.

Here’s the list of mistakes to avoid ruining everything and improve your relationship with your translation customers.

12 Mistakes You Avoid if You Have Good Translator Skills

  • Not having an online presence (or not knowing how to behave professionally with your online presence)
  • Disclose confidential information
  • Complain in social networks about prices, about customers, about colleagues
  • Be rude (to clients and colleagues)
  • Take a long time to respond when the customer contacts you
  • Avoid networking
  • Bragging
  • Disrespect clients and/or colleagues
  • Not telling close people (friends, relatives) what you do – someone may need a translator right now
  • Just translate, without trying to solve customer problems
  • Not knowing how to negotiate (deadlines, prices).
  • Lying (about areas of expertise, knowledge, skills, etc.)

Your Reputation: your Greatest Asset 

What amazes me most about this list is that it reflects a huge lack of attention to one of your greatest assets, which the translator should make part of his/her translator skills: your reputation

The ‘speak well, speak bad, but speak of me’ attitude that we see every other week is not compatible with our autonomous life. 

We depend on our good reputation to get new customers and keep old ones. 

And how do we do it? How do we build our reputation? 

Participating in congresses, in-person events, being part of associations (yes, good customers consider this a sign of professionalism), thinking very carefully about what we post on Facebook and other social networks.

Protecting Your Image is part of your Translator Skills

Speaking badly about clients, disclosing confidential project information, cursing colleagues, all of which is bad for our image, not to mention the possibility of criminal prosecution (yes, there is a law for that, and it applies to everyone).

‘But ah,’ one might argue, ‘my clients will never know! there is no way they can find out…’

What if I tell you that the other day, I saw a fellow Spanish translator chatting loudly with the owner of a US agency who is my client. 

Agency owners talk. 

Project managers talk. 

Translators talk. They even – amazing! – meet occasionally for coffee or lunch, or meet at the many translation conferences taking place around the world. 

Do you really think that, after learning of the ~ indiscretions ~ that some translators drop on the four winds on social networks, potential clients will give those translators a chance?

The Three monkey maxim - to be remembered for great Translator Skills

Don’t Disclose Confidential Information

Very serious, too, is disclosing confidential customer information. Most of us sign confidentiality agreements (NDAs) that prohibit disclosure of this information. 

Some NDAs even forbid commenting on the fact that you are working on certain projects. But even if you don’t have a signed contract with a particular client, the ethics of the profession dictate that you should treat any and all information as confidential.

‘But my client doesn’t care about these things, he doesn’t care if I disclose sensitive information!’

If your client doesn’t care about the ethics of the profession, I’d be worried about that client. The next victim of your client unethical attitude might be you!

That is why it is crucial that you fine-tune your Translator Skills.