Category Archives: Translation

Translator’s Job Market

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I want to apologize for my absence, it has been ages since the last time I have shared my thoughts and ideas on this blog.

 

Status Update:  Calm After the Storm

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It has been very difficult to launch into the job market in Argentina. I have spent the last three  years applying to paid jobs, voluntary jobs and internships.

After my graduation from Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, I have started working as a Graduate Teacher Assistant in the subject Theory and Practice of Translation, an English- Spanish interpreter for some companies, an English Teacher in language institutes and Argentina’s Immigration Office, a Spanish Teacher, a language coordinator and as a Sworn Translator. Little did I know that getting a job as a Sworn Translator would be hard.

Although thriving in the translator’s job market is difficult, there are some field related work posibilities where you can make contacts and get connected to the correct people, be in contact with the English language and learn specific words. These are the following:

College Voluntary Work

Although teacher assistantships are unpaid jobs, they are win-win situations. Working as a Teacher Assistant in Universidad Nacional de Cuyo during two years has helped me appreciate first year college subjects from other perspectives and make professional contacts. Being part of the chair of “Theory and Practice of Translation” made me analyze texts I have read years ago thoroughly before applying translation techniques, while doing research about cultural contexts. In fact, freshman don’t really to approach to texts in this manner because, at the beginning of the career, they do not have the knowledge tools to do so. Moreover, I have met professional teachers and colleagues which I admire and I was able to learn from them to be methodic and detail-oriented. Some of these people would later introduce me to potential employers and clients.

Teacher

Teaching any subject boosts your language skills and may lead you to potential clients. Being an English teacher allowed me to get in touch with the English language while learning technical words about the specific topics I taught. Of couse as a translator I am always reading news, reaserch articles, books- sometimes because I want to learn new topics and out of sheer curiosity-; however, as a teacher I was forced to study and to do research of different fields I taught, besides grammar. In addition, at least half of the people I have met when I worked as an English or Spanish teacher, have recommended me to a client.

Language Coordinator

Working from home as a language coordinator in an online language services company, helps you to also learn technical words, exercise short- term memory and improve your listening and speaking language skills in your second language. I have worked several months in Language Service Associates as a language coordinator, where I learned some specific medical language and I had to pay special attention to clients for information intake. It is in this fast-paced job where I had to come up with some medical and marketing terms and I had little time to look up for words.

These jobs are not your specific field; nevertheless, they are field related. In fact, they are a good way in which I was introduced to different clients which still contact me. Not only the paid but also the voluntary work has improved my networking skills, while also help me improve my language skills. It is like the saying, what does not kill you, makes you stronger. In hard times you have to find the path that will lead you to connections.

I would like to know about you. Can you please share your experience from the first years after you became a translator? How is your job market in your country? What languages do you offer translation services for?

Future post: current job situation and specialization. Lost in translation and specialization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sworn Translator vs Freelance Translator

Yes, it has been ages since the last time I wrote in my blog. The thing is that when I arrived to Argentina, I was met with chaos. I was experiencing reverse culture shock, I had to study for my last subject (International Law), and I was struggling hard to find a job. To keep my mind busy, I decided to study while applying to different jobs.

After a month of intense studying, the effort has paid off and, since last Thursday, I am a sworn translator.

My family and friends on my graduation day. On the same day you sit for and you pass your last exam, it is customary in Argentina for family and friends to throw eggs and flour at the recently grad.
My family and friends on my graduation day. On the same day you sit for and you pass your last exam, it is customary in Argentina for family and friends to throw eggs and flour at the recently grad.

Is a sworn translator the same as a freelance translator?

A sworn or certified translator is a person who attests the translation is faithful and accurate with regard to the original document. In Argentina, in order to be a sworn translator you must hold a bachelor`s degree, and be registered in a Translators Association according to the region. However, in other countries, like in the USA, translators must pass a challenging exam.

A freelance translator is a person with excellent command of the source and target language who transfers knowledge and culture from one language to the other.

Misconceptions

There is a common misbelief that a professional translator has to be “sworn” to do a certain job; however, that is not the case. Freelance translators can translate most of the documents sworn translators translate, except for documents that are submitted to public or administrative agencies of the Government, or to foreign entities. Some examples of documents that are only translated by sworn translators are: contracts, birth and marriage certificates, and passports, ID cards, diplomas, transcripts, balance sheets, articles of incorporation, by-laws, among others.

I hope you enjoyed this short post. Please feel free to add any comment and thoughts. My next blog is going to be on what to do after graduation and looking for jobs.

7 ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS EVERY TRANSLATOR NEEDS

As I was packing my belongings to travel to Miami, I was wondering which would be the most important elements a translator must carry with himself besides knowledge. I came up with a list of the most used things every translator should have.

#1 Computer

A computer is essential to work online and offline. The translator may work on a document in different formats (word, PDF, excel), save it, and edit it later. He can research specific topics and create parallel texts. It also enables communication with the client if their phone doesn’t work or their battery died.

#2 Monolingual dictionaries

A monolingual dictionary provides the definition of the word, pronunciation, and gives examples of the word in context. In case a word lacks an equivalent term in the target language, a monolingual dictionary is the first resource to understand the meaning of the term and to provide an equivalent expression.

#3 Bilingual dictionaries

Bilingual dictionaries provide the equivalent term in the target language. They are the most used among translators. The translator looks for the definition of the word according to its context.

#4 Parallel corpora

A parallel corpus is a recollection of texts in two languages. It may contain text pairs which are not translations of each other but texts which were developed independently in each language. It offers an opportunity to align original and translation, to gain insights in translation and to create bilingual glossaries.

#5 Bilingual glossaries

Glossaries are other resources employed by translators. They may be more specific than a bilingual dictionary which may contain more specialized vocabulary on a specific topic. You may create them from scratch by means of parallel corpora.

#6 Specialized bilingual dictionaries

Specialized bilingual dictionaries are essential elements in which the translator has access to a specific equivalent term in the target language. If there are no specialized dictionaries on a certain area, most translators create their personalized glossaries.

#7 Computer- Assisted Translation

Some but not all translators make use of Computer- Assisted Translation tools (or CAT), where texts are broken into segments and translation units are saved in a database called Translation Memory (TM).The most used translation memories are Wordfast, SDL Trados Studio, Déjà Vu, Memo Q, among others.

I hope you have enjoyed my list of essential elements translators need. If you feel like adding elements to the list you are more than welcome.

Interpreters: Essential People in the Communication Process

So, last week a friend talked me into volunteering for a Spanish medical professional’s class to help Spanish speakers in-need get medical assistance. I felt really confident, after all, I spoke English and Spanish fluently, and I had studied translation for four years. It wouldn’t be difficult, would it? We went to a hospital in Harrisburg and helped patients communicate with doctors who only spoke English. However, it was not the same than translating, where you had a deadline with unlimited access to resources, and time to look for terms. In this situation, you had to respond accurately in a limited time span. It was at this point, where I wondered about the difference between being a translator and being this intermediary. In the event there were no intermediaries in this conversation what would happen? Would patients or doctors be able to communicate effectively? What is the importance of this person? What are the specific qualifications a person like this should have?

These intermediaries between the communication processes are called interpreters. I decided to further investigate this topic, and I interviewed an English<> Spanish interpreter who also works as a translator, Silvia Barbuzza de Calderaro. Silvia is also a teacher of English as a second language, and she holds an MA in Educational Technology and ELT.

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Agostina: Silvia, how long ago did you become an interpreter?

Silvia: I started interpreting 22 years ago.

Agostina: Did you always want to become an interpreter?

Silvia: Not really. I started liking interpreting when I met the teacher who later on became my mentor in the profession, Prof. Néstor Chiapetta, an experienced interpreter who trained me for many years. Sharing the booth with him, I began to enjoy and love the job. Of course, I´m talking about simultaneous interpretation, which is my passion.

Agostina: What is the difference between an interpreter and a translator?

Silvia: Broadly speaking, an interpreter works with spoken language translating orally, while a translator works with either spoken or written text transferring it from one language to another in writing.

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Silvia Barbuzza, and on her right Mendoza’s Minister of Culture, the famous dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Mendoza’s Minister of Tourism. Mendoza, Argentina, August 2014.

Agostina: What skills does an interpreter need to have?

Silvia: Interpreting is fundamentally the art of paraphrasing—the interpreter listens to a speaker in one language, grasps the content of what is being said, and then paraphrases his or her understanding of the meaning using the tools of the target language. An interpreter also needs mastery of the subject matter being relayed. Interpreters have to possess the following skills: Intimate familiarity with both cultures, extensive vocabulary in both languages, an ability to express thoughts clearly, accurately and concisely in both languages, excellent note-taking techniques for consecutive interpreting, and a quick mind and composure for simultaneous interpretation.

Agostina: What are the different modes of interpretation?

Silvia: Broadly speaking, there are two types of interpreting: simultaneous and consecutive. In simultaneous Interpreting, the interpreter sits in a booth wearing a pair of headphones and speaks into a microphone. During consecutive Interpreting the speaker stops every 1–5 minutes (usually at the end of every “paragraph” or complete thought), and the interpreter then steps in to render what was said into the target language.


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Agostina: What are the things you love the most about your profession?

Silvia: It´s difficult to put into words the excitement of this profession and the feeling of fulfillment one obtains from the job well done. I love the adrenalin and alertness required to perform well and the satisfaction when things go as expected and I leave the booth feeling I completed the job successfully. I enjoy being able to communicate the intended message and helping people connect and understand each other. That´s extremely rewarding!

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Silvia Barbuzza and, on her left, her work partner Nestor Chiapetta in the booth interpreting in the Annual Meeting of the Great Wine Capitals, Mendoza, Argentina, November 2014.

Agostina: Do you know if the interpreting profession has any credentials in Argentina?

Silvia: Yes. There are different private and state educational institutions in Argentina which offer interpreting training at tertiary and university level.

Agostina: What’s a typical day at work like?

Silvia:Tipically, a simultaneous interpreting day for me starts at 6 a.m. to get ready to be at the site of the event by 7:30, half an hour before the conference starts. Once at the booth, my partner and I test that everything is working fine and settle down. We prepare our laptops, note pads, glossaries, powerpoint presentations, and finally make sure there is water and glasses available. If possible, we also contact the speakers to introduce ourselves before the conference starts. On a regular work day at interpreting, I spend about eight hours in the booth with a few breaks, but it´s an exhausting job. However, I enjoy it deeply.

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Silvia Barbuzza and, on her left, her work partner Cintia Pergolis in the booth interpreting in the 8th International Conference of Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery”, Mendoza, May 2014.

After this interview with the expert, I had clearer ideas: interpreters are not the same than translators, since they require different skills. Interpreters must have a strong command of the language and culture, and they must respond almost instantly, while translators have a great command of the both languages. I kept on reading articles online, and I found out that there are other types of interpretation. (Click to view).

I still wasn’t  sure about what was like to be an interpreter, and so, I kept on looking, and I encountered a great video that describes the dream job of most interpreters: a life of an interpreter in the UN.

Once I volunteered as an interpreter in a basic medical situation, interviewed the experienced interpreter, read about the interpreter’s profession, and watched videos of interpreters’ work, I could grasp what really meant to be an interpreter. What do you think? After reading this blog post, can you tell the difference between a translator and an interpreter?

Translation Uncorks New Market Opportunities

This weekend I was invited to a family dinner in an Italian restaurant. I was reunited with some friends who came back to the US after being in Argentina during the Winter- Spring season. They have been sharing their experiences in Argentina and the room was filled with joy and laughter. Then, it was time to order food and guess what I came across within the menu? A list of Argentinean wines. Yummy! I was overjoyed to know I could drink a good Malbec here, with my friends, and at the same time, felt as if I were drinking the bright, ripe and juicy flavor of life. And along with this spicy flavor, I brought you a poem to make you feel the way I felt:

“Wine
stirs the spring, happiness
bursts through the earth like a plant,
walls crumble,
and rocky cliffs,
chasms close,
as song is born.
A jug of wine, and thou beside me
in the wilderness,
sang the ancient poet.
Let the wine pitcher
add to the kiss of love its own […]”

Ode to WinePablo Neruda

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And along with this cup of wine I was grateful to have the opportunity to get products 5,000 miles away and it was all thanks to globalization and translation.

New Market Opportunities

In Neruda`s Ode, the wine flourishes like international market. Nowadays, due to the interconnected global market, some developing and developed countries are only producing goods with comparative advantage.

In Argentina, for example, the industry of Malbec wine has exponentially rocketed in the last decade. A report from the National Wine Institute (INV) explains that there has been an increase in exports of 486% in 2013 over the same period in 2004. In the international market, globalization has forced some countries market to specialize and, as a result of their comparative advantage, most of them have bloomed. This growth is accompanied by the translation industry.

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Translation and Marketing

It is not a casualty that employment of translators and interpreters is proliferating together with the international marketing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of translators and interpreters in the country is expected to increase by 46 percent between 2012 and 2022. Why? Because accurate translations play an important role in marketing and selling specialized products, whether exporting Argentinean Malbec, or Italian Nutella.

By means of a professional specialized translator, websites, advertisement and pamphlets can effectively reach potential customers in any part of the world. Thanks to translators, customers have access to specific information regarding contents, warnings and the way a product works.

Make a Difference

A good translation could be a good marketing or a bad one. If you really want to impact on your potential international consumers, not only do you need to effectively communicate the message, but also to present it in a neat way. A professional translator will employ all his linguistic and cultural skills to help your product stand out in the international market. As a result, you could effectively place the advertisement in a specific market.

 

Scientific Translators Beware of Tech Neologisms

“When one is translating one has to go right up to the untranslatable; but it is only at this point that one actually discovers the foreign nation and the foreign language.”                                                                                                                                                                                                  J. Goethe

After being in the US for a couple of months I`ve heard a great amount of new terms and abbreviations, especially when referring to technological devices, social networks and videogames. From text messages to web conferences, technology has introduced an arena of gadgets on the web and fresh terms for users. Since language is a dynamic system, these technological and social changes result in new words, which are known as “neologisms”. A neologism is a “new word or expression, or a word used with a new meaning”, according to the Longman Dictionary of English. It is a word or phrase that has been recently coined to denominate new concepts, name up-to – date inventions or simply add a new sense to an existing word. Nowadays we find new terms like “crowdfunding”, “infographics”, “cloud storage”, “ to unfriend” someone, to “follow” someone, and even “tweeps” or “dweeps”. If you are interested on reading more about technological terms, please click here.

New words, so what?

According to Peter Newmark, neologisms are the most problematic terms for scientific translators, since they have to translate these neologisms in a way that appears written naturally to the reader. I would say that it is highly recommendable to avoid borrowing terms unless they do not have a translation. We should first try to apply the most common procedures like transference, naturalization, or paraphrasing and then borrow the term if we have exhausted all available resources. For example, the English verb “to click” has been is naturalized in Spanish as “hacer clic”, which respects the language correct spelling. (In Spanish the combination of the characters “ck” is not natural). Each tech word is different; however, we have to keep an eye to the latest neologisms and whether there had been accurate translations on a certain field.

Did you like this post? Please leave any comments or concerns that you may have. Next week`s post is going to be on language interference.

Works Cited:

– Newmark, Peter. 1988. A Textbook of Translation. UK: Prentice Hall International Ltd.

Traduttore, Tradittore: Translation Ethics and Mistranslations

The Italian saying “traduttore, tradittore”, which in English means “translator, traitor” was my first encounter with translation issues. During my freshmen year in the English- Spanish Translation Program, one of my teachers introduced us to this saying, which made me think about translation, but I still didn’t fully grasp its meaning. Why would translators purposefully betray people if their purpose is to bridge cultural gaps and facilitate communication? Can mistranslations have a profound impact on the client`s business and image?

Before delving into mistranslations and some of their potentially damaging effects, it is crucial to define ethics.

What is ethics?

I believe ethics is about putting ourselves in another person`s shoes and thus, thinking about the implications of our actions on society. In the conference of Ethics and Interpreter Training, Mona Baker,an Egyptian professor of translation studies, expresses that “ethics is about the implications of everybody in any kind of encounter”. If we want to be professionals, we have to behave as such. If you schedule an appointment with a doctor, you instill your trust in them and you assume they will take care of you. You implicitly know if any health problem arises, they will do their best to diagnose and treat it. The same situation occurs with translators. The client trusts the translator, who, of course, will work to the best of their knowledge to aid in communication. However, what happens when you accept a job for which you are not prepared?

The following video is a dramatization that portrays an ironic situation of an interpreter who, instead of helping the client, causes him to experience an uncomfortable moment in front of his company`s CEOs.

Funny video, but not so amusing when you are the client. Although these situations extreme and rarely happen, it would now be important to clarify what is mistranslation.

Mistranslation     

Mistranslation implies something deeper than a bad translation; it implies the partial or total loss of the intended meaning of a message. While there could be some minor deviations in meaning like omissions, additions, bad choice of words, unclear ideas and ungrammatical sentences, some major mistakes may have financial and legal or political implications.

Faulty translations may deeply affect the clients. It is not wrong to say no if we are not qualified for or if we think we are not going to meet the tight deadline. In order to avoid mistranslations, we have to make sure we proof read and edit the text effectively, showing our professionalism and expertise.

If you liked this post, you cannot miss next week`s post on cultural differences, neologisms and when to borrow terms. Please feel free to comment. I am looking forward to reading your opinion about this topic.

Blog Proposal- Warning: Blog Under Construction, some Ideas May Change

Blog`s purpose?

After exploring inspiring blogs about the translation profession, becoming a freelance translator, seeking job opportunities, and establishing translation credentials, I have decided that I want to make my contributions to the field of translation. I do not want to imitate other posts, but simply write openly about topics I consider important as a junior translator and add my perspective. I believe other juniors and freelance translators, as well as seniors will be identified with some of the topics presented in my blog. Feel free to comment anything you consider noteworthy!

As I have seen in Transblawg, my blog posts are going to have links to legal blogs, translation blogs and language blogs. I would also like to imitate the “subscribe” option that I have seen in Thoughts of Translation blog, since I consider that widget that informs about new posts brings together writer and reader.

My blog posts are going to encompass topics related on the translation profession: finding clients, improving translation credentials, language issues, translation ethics and tools.

How to prospect new clients?

As Céline Graciet expresses in her blog, websites, profesional networking and word-of-mouth are the best way to promote yourself. At the same time, websites are double-edged sword because, as a person who works with language and makes meaning,a translator should watch their language. If you think websites are the best way to promote yourself, you are wrong. We wil try to come up with fresh ideas about promoting yourself. You could make use of all types of social networks.

How do you improve your credentials?

We will follow Marta Stelmaszak`s suggestions on her chapter, You need a CV that works, which will help us create a CV that reflects a profesional profile.

Keeping yourself constantly updated on language usage

You can resort to monolingual dictionaries in Spanish, to monolingual dictionaries in English, collocations dictionary in English, reference materials about Spanish usage, or blogs about Spanish language usage,but you must always be updated and show professionalism through your language usage.

Translation ethics?

A topic I haven`t seen addressed in any of the blogs before. And, since there are some blurred boundaries to what is ethical and what is not, it needs to be clarified. We may reflect, together with Mona Baker, some of the professional ethics that are required of a translator.

Translation tools?

Another topic I have hardly seen in most of the blog posts! We will explore some tools for translators that will make them save time and look professional with clients!

As mentioned earlier finding clients, establishing credentials, improving your language, being ethical and using translator tools are elements that are going to help you create opportunities in your professional career as a translator or future translator. Don`t drop your guard! Follow my posts and build a better future!