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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!

Professional Translators – “They’re GR-R-R-reat”

Professional translators - they're a Grrreat bunch

Professional translator: a threat to other professionals?

Many people might question the ability of the professional translator to carry out different different assignments and do them well. “For those who are afraid, everything is noise,” said Sophocles. The fear of losing customers or others breaking into the market and taking the piece of cake is a constant among some entrepreneurs.

Power of Technology for the Professional translator

The depth of technology in our day to day has brought, as has been shared hundreds of times on the web, a cultural change that also affects the way we work. Although, obviously, everything has its advantages and disadvantages, in my case I prefer to focus efforts on the most positive aspects.

Internet is a perfect showcase for all types of companies and professionals, in which we can tell others how good we are at doing something, how much we know and how we differ.

Of course, we must be aware that this exhibition implies that there are those who want to copy because of the interest and attraction generated, and that will become real competition.

Yet, we must not forget that, thanks to technology, new positions and activities have been created. Those were previously unthinkable or very complicated, and require, more than ever, certain capacities and not only knowledge.

The Professional translator, a Professional of the Future

The future of work, which is already a reality today, demands professionals with the most varied skills depending on the positions they will occupy. If entrepreneurship has brought me something wonderful, it is meeting different people, who enrich me every day.

I have known many cases of physicists, chemists, historians or computer engineers, among others, who are dedicated to very different subjects than those that would make more sense for their education.

And it is those personal skills and passion that are factors that have become an indispensable part of the equation in the search for new professional opportunities and talent, if we think of recruitment specialists.

By this, I do not mean that someone who has studied philosophy might not be the most suitable person to develop a specific job in this field, but that not everyone who has studied a certain career ends up developing in that field.

Degrees lead to communication, management & marketing

Added to this is the fact that there are university degrees that, by their very conception, are very versatile for the labour market. One of them is the degree in Translation and Interpreting. It offers not only translation practice in different languages ​​or the most current technology applied to this activity, but also very useful training in multicultural communication, change management, entrepreneurship or marketing, to name a few of the options. This type of training allows a person to be incorporated into different positions. Also, the global vision and the relational capacity – to communicate effectively – are basic ingredients in almost any job. If those professional translators who have studied Translation and Interpreting characterize themselves for something, it is precisely because they are tremendously versatile. That is what causes that some may see the professional translator as a threat. However, I wonder:

Questions to ponder

Should a new discipline be prohibited because of the training you had? How many engineers, for example, converted into professional translators? As long as the profession is respected, studying or acquiring the necessary knowledge to be able to develop a good activity can only be seen as fairplay.

Who said that a professional translator can only write in several languages? Indeed, we professional translators pass texts from one language to another, but we also edit content, review it, create it … and this without counting our ability to learn new software and applications in record time. Additionally, we can act as tour guides, occupy a position in a hotel, teach languages, as linguistic mediators or as business managers.

All part of the attitude and passion of each professional translator and not so much of whether the boundaries of the university career are here or beyond.

Are there not great entrepreneurs with a degree in physics, chemistry or philosophy? Why do we insist on being so inflexible? Why can’t an astrophysicist become a director of Human Resources? The fundamental thing, as I see it, is to show respect for the profession and colleagues who strive to provide good service, something that affects us all. With determination and discipline, everything can be learned.

The Chameleonic Character of the Professional Translator

There are many examples of the chameleonic character of the professional translator and how well they can do what they set out to do. Some have their own translation company.

For others, the most logical thing is to be a freelance professional translator, but also a marketing school for professional translators, where they help other colleagues to start their own businesses.

Knowledge and skills that are developed in university or professional training are useful for life and not just for a specific job. They are part of our personal backpack, where we also keep good and bad experiences. It is those skills that set us apart from others.

However, there will always be people who may feel threatened by the ability or success of others. Not everyone knows how to face their fears (and that includes me), so my recommendation is simply… make your own way.

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.

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.

Translating Video Games – Your Personal Entertainer

translating video games

Translating video games is a part of the localization process of the game and implies, in addition to the translation of the text, the cultural adaptation of the texts and materials, its revision, the assembly of the screen texts in the game, the layout of manuals and boxes, audio or dubbing recording and testing.

Video Game Companies may Outsource Translation

Large video game companies may have internal translation or localization departments or, on the contrary, outsource these services through localization agencies

A Considerable Increase in the Volume of Video Games to be Translated

In recent years there has been a great technological advance, which has led to a considerable increase in the volume of text to be translated, which in some cases can reach one million words. The consequence is that it has become impossible for a single translator to carry out the work load, so it is necessary to establish a good project management strategy and use tools that guarantee the cohesion of the different product texts.

When Translating Video Games, dialogues, webpages, marketing materials need to be Translated

For example, Nintendo has a translation and localization department in Frankfurt from where the entire process is centralized. Normally, the translation is covered with internal resources if the project has few words, but for large titles it is necessary to use specialized localization companies that offer not only translation services, but also dubbing. Translating video games implies translating the text that will appear on the screen, but also the text that will end up being dubbed. Also, the text that appears on the screen can be divided in turn into text boxes that appear on the screen (e.g. menus) and graphic text, which implies more work by the developer since they have to be integrated graphically into the video game. In addition to the video game text itself, all associated products such as web pages, marketing brochures, etc. must also be taken into account.

Translator in charge of Translating Video Games must be Familiar with the Game itself

In any case, it is very important that the translator familiarize himself/herself with the game that he/she is going to translate in the original version, since he/she will be able to understand the game in its context and translate it better i.e play the video game itself. However, this is not always possible: if the translation is done internally, there are usually no problems, but if you send it to an agency, the pitfalls caused by confidentiality problems can become insurmountable.

Normally translators work in environments known as CAT tools, text editors (Word), spreadsheets (Excel) or databases, to which the texts of the original version are exported.

Translating Video Games is a Tricky Process

However, this does not mean that the translation process is exempt of difficulties. 

Some of the problems facing the video game translator are the following:

  • Text length: there is usually a character limitation that should not be exceeded
  • Platform: this is usually related to the type of console. Some do not allow much text or that it is very small, because if it could not be read, such as the Nintendo Switch
  • Problems due to lack of context, which are especially acute if the original game is not available to the translator.
  • Age classification: PEGI is a pan-European code that establishes an age classification of Pan-European Games Information (the marks are +3, +7, +12, +16 and +18). This, on the one hand, gives the translator an idea of ​​the player or target receiver of the translation, and on the other hand, it tells the translator what kinds of expressions he/she can use and which ones he/she cannot (swearing).
  • Language differences between countries: the translator will have to take into account not only the use of bad words in the country he/she is from, but whether those words are available in other cultures that also speak the same language. For example, the use of the verb ‘catch’ in Spain has no major implication, while using that word in a game for children in Argentina can lead to problems. The use of violence can also be another controversial issue that can also cause a game to be censored.
  • Gender use (masculine and feminine): while in English we start from a single base with hardly any distinction between one gender and another, in French, this distinction is necessary. Previously, when there was less awareness of the phenomenon of localization, the texts tended to neutralize as much as possible. Nowadays, games adapt more and more, since the number of players has increased, and there may even be different phrases for boys and girls, men and women.
  • Objects: in the same line, translating objects can also be a problem as they can have different genres. In this case, the translator works directly on the code and must be very careful not to erase or corrupt certain codes, as this could result in the game ceasing to function at a certain point.
  • Accent by characters: in this case, the translator is free to decide if any of the characters adopt a particular accent or not, depending on the role he/she has in the game
  • Naming characters: translators usually have enough freedom here to develop their own creativity, unless the client demands to keep the name in English.
  • Cultural references: the rule is that the text should be kept as timeless as possible so that, if a player wants to download a game 10 years after it was developed, he/she can still play without getting lost into cultural references of the past that are no longer in force.
  • Cultural adaptation: here, examples are multiple and varied. For example, when translating a Japanese video game which might include events that are typical of Japanese culture, of which a gamer here knows absolutely nothing. In this case, if the client does not wish to invest in the total adaptation of the game (which in this case would imply changing its structure), it will be necessary to keep it as neutral as possible.
  • Religion: religion is another cultural aspect that must be taken into account. Again, the best thing to do here is to try to neutralize its aspect as much as possible. Unreliable religious references can cause a game to be withdrawn from the market or its launch delayed (Sony had to temporarily withdraw Little Big Planet because of the inclusion of verses from the Koran.

Translating Video Games Requires a Thorough Review

These are just ‘some’ of the problems that the translator will face during his/her work. Then there will also be a review phase in which an expert will be in charge of approving it before it is sent back to the developers.

Testing Phase of Video Game Translation

Finally, there will be a testing phase, an expert quality control in which the final product is reviewed. It involves playing with an almost definitive version of the game, with the translated text and the final sound mounted, in order to detect all the errors that may have remained, the bugs, with the aim of reducing them to zero.

And all this being done against the clock, with the pressure of a given release date that, if not met due to translation problems, can cause great losses to the company.

A career in Video Game Translation maybe?

As you can see, translating video games is not an easy task. Translators might take this into account whether they might consider a future career in video game translation. As for video game players, you might get a better understanding of all the work involved in video games; work necessary so that you can enjoy your favourite video game in your mother tongue.

The truth in Legal Translation Services, nothing but the truth

legal translation services

Technical language from overseas – Now, that’s a challenge!

Technical language in a foreign language, particularly legal translation provided within the scope of Legal Translation Services is always a big challenge. With the growing collaboration between countries in the commercial, legal and economic spheres, information exchange flows very quickly.

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

No Equivalence Between the Legal Terms in French and English

Let’s look now at the example of a lawyer who has the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree in law in the United States. Like the doctor in the paragraph above, he/she will have to study the technical language in English, in this case, the legal-technical language. Besides all the challenges faced by the physician in the pursuit of technical language acquisition, the lawyer will face one more obstacle: the fact that, for the most part, there may be no equivalence between the legal terms in French and English.

Using comparative law to approximate concepts between legal systems from different countries

The legal professional providing legal translation services, however, can never interfere with translating into English the concept he/she needs to use to express himself/herself correctly. An essential instrument is the use of comparative law to approximate concepts between the legal systems of different countries, that is, with the prior knowledge, in this case, of the French legal system. The professional should dedicate himself/herself to know, at least, the structured foreign law, only then to begin the process of shifting concepts from one language to another. According to Soares “[…] ‘Comparative Law’ has a reality in the universe of law science, since it will always be possible to compare legal systems from 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 done, start with a double task:

a) to know each term, in isolation, in its individuality and specificity, in each system face to face and

b) the approximation of both, distinguish the elements that exist in common and, from the discovery of common values, make the comparison. Comparative law should provide value judgements of the type ‘are equivalent’, ‘produce similar effects under the same circumstances’, ‘are comparable’, ‘provided that such factual elements are disregarded’, which judgements should lead to a final decision that, in essence, would lie in ‘recognizing an unknown institute’ in its effects, in a particular legal order. ”

Legal Dictionary Is Your Friend with Legal Translation Services

An emphatic suggestion is the use of commercially recognized legal dictionaries. One is Elsevier’s Legal Dictionary: In English, German, French, Dutch and Spanish.  One of the most respected English – English dictionaries on the market is the Black’s Law Dictionary. Access it for free.

A question many translators ask me is: “Is it essential to have a law degree to be a good legal translator?” My answer is: It is not essential to be a law graduate to be a good legal translator, but it is indispensable, yes, to have a basic knowledge of Comparative Law. What’s more, this task is a lot of fun!