BrauerTraining Open Forum #1 In Pursuit of One Voice

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Text of the PowerPoint presentation posted in YouTube and SlideShare on June 1st to summarize the talking points discussed during the BrauerTraining Forum # 1 held on May 25, 2013.

On May 25, 2013 BrauerTraining hosted its first open monthly virtual forum for translators & interpreters to talk about the future of the profession in the 21st Century.

  • The purpose of these informal forums is the exchange of opinions, in the hopes of eventually having “action-able” ideas to participate in the design our own future.
  • Background to the forum:
    Claudia Brauer believes the profession of translation and interpreting could become extinct in the next decades if translators and interpreters don’t wake up to the reality of the world today.
    BrauerTraining premises

Productivity is replacing Quality
(#s above content)

Utility is replacing Eloquence
(usefulness above expression)

  • There is a “food chain” with an ecosystem in itself, this means there are people at the bottom of the food chain and others at the top
  • Translators and interpreters are almost at the bottom
  • Current translation process sample: Slideshare screenshot excerpt chart from www.smartling.com/agile_translation_agile_world

#1 Process Content via APIs – Automatic

#2 Leverage Previous Translation Work, aka Translation Memory – Automatic

#3 Implement Customizable, Structured Workflows – Automatic

#4 Translate with Context Using Best Practices – Human

#5 Automatically Deploy Multilingual Content – Automatic

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  • What makes us – translators and interpreters – relevant in the 21st Century (i.e. what makes us unique)?
  • What new skills do we need in order to adapt to the new roles of translators and interpreters?
  • How do we create a power broker for the profession to speak with one voice?
  • In-house translators vs. freelancers – different needs, different perspectives
  • How can we help? (ask in-house T&I)
  • T&I really want to know what is going on in the industry, understand it
  • Clients do not understand what translation entails – impossible to price it right
  • Also, the market has changed dramatically in the last decade
  • We are loosing clients to other markets
  • Quality is not the target for many users – they just want the gist
  • Google translate and Bing translate used by people AND companies – if they can get the gist, even not congruent, it is OK for them
  • Clients think first of all of bottom line, they will go for the lower cost
  • Price competition drives the market
  • Clients want agility, fast response, immediate product delivery, low cost
  • Younger generations want Tweeter, Facebook, social media translated fast – they accept things as they come, no grammar, no spelling – “sort of” a translation suits the needs of the new user
  • The role of interpreting is also changing because of text-to-voice-to-text. The user does not mind that it is “kind-of” incorrect as long as they “kind-of” understand the content
  • Users speak to their phone, the phone converts to text, the text is google-translated, the phone returns the sentences spoken in another language.
  • The user is OK with the “gist”

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  • Only way to market yourself to compete with CAT and MT is becoming a specialist
  • T&I now have to understand and pursue filling “specific” needs of the clients
  • Market your experience and capability to adjust the final version – Localization is the new  role of the translator
  • Market your “being human” and being able to differentiate content, culture, audience, nuances Our uniqueness is in being human, that is what makes us special.
  • How can we market that capability  to a “bottom-line” (price-based) client base?
  • Many clients like to “know” humans are the translators, but do not want to pay the price
  • How do we reach a market that does not know what to expect from us
  • How do we compete with the “bottom line”
  • How do we keep our part of the market share when immediacy is vital in today’s business world
  • The client wants to have results now and here, within the hour, or “same day” service
  • Will CAT replace humans?
    • Not in the immediate future
    • Yes for basic translation within the next decade
    • Probably for basic interpreting too (voice-to-text-to-voice)
    • We have an attitude of denial
    • Many people have been saying “that will not happen”…
    • It has already happened
    • We must stop the denial to move forward as a profession (as a group)
    • CAT was expected to grow pursuant to storage capabilities – now computers can store more in smaller spaces
    • CAT and MTs have gone mobile
    • MTs have been uploaded with good CAT info that was once translated by Humans, so many are starting to have good levels of quality
    • Today humans can TRAIN machines, that is why CAT and MT are becoming more sophisticated, exponentially
    • There is no stopping technology
    • Machines are replacing humans in many parts of the world
    • This is a worldwide trend even with professions established for centuries.
    • Why can’t we make translation and interpreting a reputable profession again?
    • How do we become important for the LSP an the end client?
    • For example, nurses do not perform surgeries:
      Why are bilinguals performing translation and interpreting?
      How do we adapt to the changes in our competition?

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  • Our client is no longer found on a person-to-person relationship but rather on a person-to email or freelance-to-corporation for assignments anywhere in the world
  • Many colleagues worldwide are highly trained translators and interpreters who live in countries where GDP is much lower and therefore their rates are sustainably lower than ours
  • Other untrained and un-experienced newcomers to the field are competing with low quality but high rate of market penetration
  • They are using the “business” aspect of the profession
  • All in all, our largest competitors are not our peers but the software and technology industries that have entered the T&I industry with technology and huge negotiating (leverage) power
  • Looking for a relationship human-to-human is now time consuming and client/LSP do not want to be “dragged” into it – they prefer their own anonymity to be able to have you or discard you at will
  • The sharing of information is at every level of the human experience today. Skype, Facebook, create video, etc., gadgets
  • Crowdsourcing is going viral
  • “In your language of preference”
  • What do we need, then?
    • Train the end user about what T&I entails
    • How do we do that?

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  • What do we need, then?
    • Train ourselves to respond to the new millennium
    • Training is vital to our survival, but, what do we need to learn
    • Translators and interpreters need  to train in code of ethics and standards of practice to have a unified minimum quality and requirements
    • Newcomers need to be forced to acquire training – how?
    • Translators an interpreters need to learn about the technology of our day, about communication tools (the new mobile devices), networking (social media), cloud computing and virtual world “stuff”
    • We have to become proficient using the tools of our trade today (which include devices everyone uses!)
    • For example, smartphones are now networking devices, not just “communication” tools
    • T&I also need to learn who to trust in the cyber world: how to contract, how to ensure payment, how to protect identity
    • T&I need to understand underlying factors of jurisdiction in the virtual world – What is the jurisdiction of the cloud? It affects legal and privacy issues
    • Confidentiality is key – books that have not been published for example cannot be translated with on the cloud tools
    • Privacy issues in most realms of translation and interpreting
    • Legal possession of data is a great concern – Public vs. nonpublic issues must be fully understood
  • But # 1: We need representation in the big scenario of the decision makers
    Some T&I associations do not prioritize needs of translators and interpreters (they are also catering to the LSP)
  • End of discussion in Forum #1 at the top of the hour.
    Notes taken on power point will be made public via YouTube and Slideshare
    Attending Forum # 1 – May 25, 2013: EGS, FN, PC, AB, CB – Excused DR, LD, SA
  • Monthly meetings: On the 25th at 11 a.m. EST USA (check your local time)
  • Want to participate?
  • Register for our newsletter at http://www.Brauertraining.com and you will be automatically invited, or send us an email to claudia@brauertraining.com
  • Forum # 2 June 25, 2013  at 11 a.m. EST USA (check your local time) – See you there…

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Neo-Luddites or Technocrats

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I believe that translators and interpreters must quickly adapt to the changing world of the 21st Century or we may become one of the extinct professions in a couple of decades. I believe that translators and interpreters must start to bridge the gaps that have been created between the way we used to do our work just a decade ago, and the way in which the work will be done in the coming decades. I believe that utility is replacing eloquence in the language service industry and that productivity is replacing quality. I believe that in the world of tomorrow – and in many places today – usefulness is replacing expression.

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I believe that the associations, the universities, the cohorts of translators and interpreters are not doing enough to educate current and future translators and interpreters about the tectonic shifts that the industry is undergoing and how the future looks, the skills that will be required, and the needed collaboration we have to start seeking with the giants in the software and hardware industry, who are changing the rules and creating the future. And we need to learn to partner with other stakeholders by creating power structures that are significant and have a unified purpose.

I believe in the power of technology for progress (and acknowledge that when misused it can bring about evil, but then, that is not the problem of technology, but of the users and abusers of it). Oh, by the way, I think that the future is already here.  

Neo-Luddites would like to silence the messenger I am concerned that some associations of translators and interpreters, as well as some organizations that should otherwise be exerting their influence, and many in the profession at large, are simply adopting a 21st Century Neo-Luddite position that in my opinion only exacerbates the problem.

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The 19th century luddites were “weavers in England who were being put out of work by the introduction of machinery and responded by organizing to attack and smash the new machines.”[1]

The 21st century Neo-Luddites are “citizens who are opposed to technology not out fear, but rather out of a feeling of superiority over it. They argue against how it is being used and discourage its proliferation.”[2]  Some neo-luddites carry out their fight against technology using the same technological tools they are opposing (internet, computers, social media, to name but a few).

It is my opinion that the associations and other power groups that represent translators and interpreters must start adopting positions that acknowledge the entry of the large software and technology companies in the world of translation and interpreting, as well as the powerful stronghold of other stakeholders in the industry.

How are we, the original translators and interpreters, going to participate in the revolution occurring in the language services industry?

What makes us unique in the new world of instant, mobile, digital world of communication?

How do we remain relevant in a society of millennials and GenX’s who are digitally connected 24/7 and want to communicate in their language of preference, now and here (wherever they are, whenever they desire).

My question then is, in an industry that is growing 22% per year, where the opportunities to render state-of-the-art services to thousands of millions of users are real, why are translators and interpreters ignoring the shifts occurring in their marketplace?

What are the power forces in the industry (associations and power groups) doing so that translators and interpreters may participate as instrumental collaborators in our own future, instead of being relegated to an afterthought in a lengthy process?

Why are translators and interpreters being ignored as a group in the larger context of technology-driven operations and business/marketing strategies?  What is the larger strategy of the power groups representing translators and interpreters?

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I am the messenger.  The message that I bring is a mixed one of optimism but harsh warnings for immediate actions.

So the Neo-Luddites “swiftly usher [the messenger] to the back entrance of the auditorium where he or she will be shoved down a flight of stairs or stuffed into a conveniently located dumpster”.

This rift between the pro-technology translators and interpreters and the Neo-Luddites only encourages the software and hardware industry giants to continue unnoticed eating your pie.

In the meantime, I am still the messenger for those who are tuned up to the reality of the day and want to listen.  I do not want to make converts out of the non-believers.  I want to raise awareness among those who want to listen.

Beware, translators and interpreters.  You need to acquire totally new skills sets.  You need to JOIN the digital revolution (not fight it).  You need to understand mobile technologies (not discard them).  You need to use the tools of the trade in the 21st Century (and learn what they are and what they can do for you).  And you need to ask your power brokers to represent you at the table of decisions, so that your profession does not become extinct (instead of burying the head in the sand).

So, let me summarize it in another way:

There is a big rift in the translation/interpreting industry about the use (or not) of technology, including CAT tools, machine translation, remote video interpreting, phone interpreting and other technologies. One camp, me included, believes that we have to grow with the times, that we have to use all the technologies available, that we MUST keep up with the times.

Moreover, I believe we should have a stronger say in creating that future. The large software industry, including Google and Microsoft, are now investing millions of dollars in developing technologies to make them widely available to the masses.  The camp I subscribe to states translators and interpreters must adapt quickly to the changing times and re-define what we do, how we do it and where we do it. We have to redefine who we are in the new millennium in order to remain relevant. I want to be a part of the new professional experience.

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The other camp believes that many a thing having to do with technology is “below” a translator and interpreter’s intellect and that translators and interpreters should “fight” the software giants that are revolutionizing the industry and that the professionals should take a stand against the use of technology.  Their argument is that if translators and interpreters “bow” to technology we will just become gadgets. They have expressed that such participation in the technological and digital revolution will only degrade the profession.

I believe that unless we URGENTLY and IMMEDIATELY become part of the conversation, the profession will disappear, as many other professions in the past when they did not keep up with the times.  I believe translators and interpreters MUST become part of the equation by learning, adapting and using new technologies (although I do not provide direct training in such technologies, I do recommend you get trained in them).

The rift is huge and it is intense and some people are becoming extremely aggressive and want to silence the messenger. As the messenger, my task continues to be clear to me.  I would like to tell the Emperor that he is running naked in his new invisible clothes.

I believe that translators and interpreters as a group need to demand that they be INVITED to PARTICIPATE in the discussions that large software and technology corporations are having, and which, in my opinion, are leading the industry into the 21st Century.

I believe we should start speaking with ONE VOICE. Right now, we are not even part of the discussion.  We have been left behind. Already. We must run to catch up.

May 25 Go-To Free Meeting Online – In Pursuit of One Voice

On May 25th at noon Eastern Standard Time (U.S.), BRAUERTRAINING will host an Open Forum called IN PURSUIT OF ONE VOICE, via Go-To meeting.

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The purpose of this first meeting is to hear all suggestions and comments from any translator, association or group, regardless of their affiliation, about how we, the community of translators and interpreters, by some counts 300,000 or more around the world, should move forward.

What makes us unique in the 21st Century?

How should we participate in the creation of our own future?

This is the opportunity for voices contrary to mine to express themselves clearly with action-able ideas for the future. Every opinion, from every camp, will be heard and taken into account. Minutes of all opinions will be compiled into a single document that will be distributed to all participants and through social media and networking venues. This will be the first of a series of monthly open forums IN PURSUIT OF ONE VOICE, hosted by BrauerTraining. Our only purpose initially is to open the conversation to create awareness and elicit participation.

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Involvement is free by invitation.  Send me an email to claudia@brauertraining.com with your email address OR go to my website www.brauertraining.com and register for my newsletter (you will automatically be added to the invitation list). Welcome to the future.

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NETA Conference on May 4th – Endnote speaker: From Quality to Productivity

On may 4th I will be the endnote speaker at NETA‘s annual conference in Boston. It is an honor for me to join the courageous Bostonians that are rebuilding their lives. I truly admire their strength and resilience.

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My presentation will address

21st Century Standards: from Quality to Productivity
Why “Utility” is now more valuable than “Eloquence”
The Abstract is as follows:

Translators and interpreters must prepare

for a new trend that is changing the industry. In a growing Global market, where billions of end users consume information in their language of preference, the need for translation and interpreting services is growing at exponential rates. But with that growth also comes a change in attitude by the buyer and user of translation and interpreting products: “utility” is progressively being valued over “eloquence”. Huge software companies are seriously entering the industry to provide multilingual solutions, where “quality” will just be a “value added” sought by a few large companies that can “pay the price.”

Translators and interpreters need to be aware of the changes occurring in the industry if we want to remain relevant. In the coming years, the key words instant, digital and mobile will be vital to our survival as providers of the “missing link” (language access) in the new virtual world of global consumption of products and services. Any changes we want (or want to avoid) are up to us to fight for them. We, the original translators and interpreters, must become consciously active in designing the strategies for our own future.  What is the profession going to look like in 20 years?  We have to start answering that question from a perspective of the current reality and set out to project our future in the world.

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We basically need two things:
– Start updating our skills set to meet the demands of the new customers. This means, understanding today’s technologies and today’s consumers of virtual, instant, mobile, digital products. We need, therefore, to become skillful at easily interacting with machines in order to compete in this new world.
– Start presenting a unified front. There are so many translation and interpreting associations, organizations, alliances, societies, fellowships etc., in different countries, promoting different perspectives, each with its own particular concerns.  We need a world-wide unified agenda.  We need to become one voice.

Read more about this event at the following links:

http://www.netaweb.org/cms2/conference/session-abstracts
http://www.netaweb.org/cms2/images/stories/Final_Spring_2013_NETA_News.pdf
http://www.netaweb.org/cms2/conference/schedule-of-events

Terminology Training Sessions

1 terminology Pr_107_-_TRI_-_29_12_10_-_041For translators and interpreters, words are literally the tools of our trade.  It is with words, through words, in words, by words that we communicate.  Thus, we must always be looking to expand our vocabulary. In this context, In April 2013 I will again join forces with ProZ.com to train translators and interpreters in the basic vocabulary of healthcare, finance, business and legal settings.  I will also have a very special session called “chasing terms online”, where I explain the many tricks I have learned over the years finding the appropriate translation of terms in the Internet, and a final session on how to build your own glossaries.  Each one of these sessions is 90 minutes long and will be available live at noon every Tuesday in April and after that by recorded video that you may see in your own schedule.

202_1The first session provides the basic information and terminology used in the healthcare industry. Topics include information on the medical and healthcare professionals, anatomy and physiology, the main body systems and organs, diseases and illness, common medical conditions, symptoms, treatment options, and diagnostic tests, amongst others.

14_12In the second session, you will get acquainted with the terms most commonly used in the (U.S.) courts, as well as the penal and law enforcement systems, immigration, and the major legal business systems and law specialties, with more than 500 commonly used terms.

ballmoney4The third session will provide the basic information and resources to study the terminology used in business settings and the financial industry. Topics include business concepts, organizational structures, human resources, contracts, marketing and sales, accounting, financial statements, multinational business, and global acronyms, amongst many others.

In the fourth session, you will learn to use the many free online glossaries and translation databases available for translators and interpreters; harness the power of the internet and make your search easier, faster, more productive and consistent, with some of the basic tricks of term research online in the 21st Century: Where to find the meaning of terms, how to combine words and phrases to retrieve information that is valuable to your search; where and how to search the internet; how to bookmark and create your lists of favorite FREE sites for easy search in the future. synchronization_and_sharing_streaming_imagesTopics include Web search operations, online glossaries, databases and other freebies, reliable resources, how to find the strongest source and bookmarking for future use.

Finally, the bundle wraps-up with a session on how to create your personal glossaries, making it easier for you to work on translations or prepare for your interpreting assignments, while ensuring consistency and accuracy for the future. You will learn a basic methodology to search for terms, working with your own template, creating and gradually accumulating your personal glossary by client or domain; learn what, when, and how to enter and retrieve information, change and update it. You may later use it online or print it for your own translations and interpretation, or you may wish to share it with your clients.handpzz4

PREPARATION materials will be shared BEFORE each session, and HANDS-ON exercises to be completed AFTER each session. Each student is expected to be fully engaged with ACTIVE listening, individual thinking and processing of information, as well as hands-on note-taking and interactive activities. Every one of these is a fast-pace session with an upbeat and lively mood, requiring full engagement on the part of the participant.

Join me for this exciting bundle of knowledge!

Continue reading

Training and language in the 21st Century

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from twitter.com

Sorting out “MOOCs”.

As part of my participation in the Coursera #EDCMOC (Digital Cultures), I came upon this article of “Sorting out MOOCs – Doing by learning (and vice versa).” Although this article is a discussion of which term to use to describe some of the new knowledge acquisition tools that have appeared in the 21st Century, what really interests me is all the new terms and new content and new concepts that exist now in the Global Village of learners, such as

– Obviously MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses)

– Learning events

– Courses with a connectivist take on learning

– Instructor-led free virtual courses

– Courses with distributed contents

– Courses with network tasks and content

– Courses organized with leaner-centered approaches

– Online unconferences 

– Game-ified language learning programs

– Virtual “Task based (developing a skill by doing [in the virtual world]…)|

– “Exploring new business models for higher education”

– Big course platforms as Coursera, Udacity, edX

– “Network based (the connectivist approach with a big role for community and content created by the learners…)”

– “Learning event with a start date for interactions between a group of people who follow the same course”

– Learning event where the “learners start a sequence of learning packages anytime (Like Duolingoor hackdesign.org)”

and the most interesting of them all, which ties directly into the EDCMOOC I am attending:

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From danielrparente.wordpress.com

– “It is not the course platform that determines the type of MOOC , it is the “design” or set-up of the MOOC and the organisation of its contents and interactions.”

Quoting the blog, this is exactly what I have found myself doing and experiencing in this new way of learning:

“But with EDCMOOC, the E-Learning and Digital Cultures course run by the University of Edinburgh on Coursera, you get a hybrid kind of MOOC with a big learning community that has organized itself outside of the course platform, months before the MOOC-part of the course had even started. Students are free to use the course platform for discussions, or to use their own choice of social platform. The only assignment is a peer reviewed final digital artefact. The content of the MOOC is also encouraging dialogue and reflecting on the affordances of online education, in the best of the connectivist tradition.”

Now, in terms of the concepts, the writer states that “the kinds of online learning events or sites that are being called a “MOOC” are so different, that we really need a new set of labels.”  That is true also in the larger context of learning.  I have been overwhelmed by the amount of new information, resources and venues to explore.  It is unfortunate for me that I was expecting much less from the course than I am actually getting and thus did not schedule sufficient time to really take full advantage of the “practice practice practice” concept that is implicitly encouraged throughout the course (and so dear to my own concepts of “good” training methodologies).

This course has opened so many doors for me that I am at a cross road as to how to manage my own courses.  I do not have the time right now to apply all this new knowledge about the technological tools at our disposal for interactive virtual training, but will certainly make sure that I apply all this learning in the near future.

What I do recommend everyone in the language service industry and the training industry (those I am directly involved in) is to take a really close look at what is happening with learning today.  I am participating in two Coursera courses, one with 40,000 students and another one with 60,000 students, from ALL over the world, literally.  Right now these courses are tought in English, I am assuming for logistics reasons.  My guess is that they will very soon be offered in a multitude of languages via “instant” interpreting or “web translation”.

Think of the possibilities.

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From Coursera.org

Professionalism: Code of Ethics, Standards of Practice, Commitment to Privacy and Confidentiality

On December 21, 2012, at 9am EST, I will be presenting a session to the members of the Certified PRO Network in ProZ.com, on yet another topic for professional translators and interpreters working in the Global Village of the 21st Century: professionalism, from the standpoint of codes of ethics and standards of practice.  This time I will place the stress on behavior, rather than technical knowledge or abilities. We, translators and interpreters, must exhibit professionalism not only in terms of our technical knowledge or artistry but also, very important, in terms of the way we behave. This behavior is founded on two pillars – Codes of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

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But what is Ethics? Paraphrasing a recent study by the California Endowment, Ethic deals with the rules of conduct or expectations for what is considered appropriate or the right behavior with respect to oneself, others, and one’s environment. We try to find what the shared accepted principles of right and wrong are that govern the social group around us and which have become formalized. Ethical behavior therefore is a behavior that corresponds to the accepted and idealized principles expressing what is considered right and wrong, what we find acceptable or unacceptable.

The translation and interpreting industry has many Codes of Ethics and many Standards of Practice. There is no national or international consensus on what these codes of ethics or standards of practice should promote. Moreover, there are even differences in the definition of the terms among different users in different countries. There is an extensive overlap in content between different types of documents. They may be described as existing along a continuum from ethics to practice.

Lets talk about some core concepts that are common in virtually all codes of ethics and standards of

practice anywhere in the world:

Confidentiality—Accuracy and completeness—Impartiality Integrity—Best behavior

These are the topics we will be discussing in our Proz PRO session.  In accordance with the MERRIAM WEBSTER dictionary, Professionalism is the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well.

Let me highlight the fact that Codes of Ethics and Standards of Practice promote your best behavior as a translator or interpreter. This best behavior includes preparing for your assignments and respecting the laws or requirements under which you carry out the assignment.  If you have contact with the client or the client’s customers, you must be polite, courteous, and discreet as well as patient and even-­‐tempered. I cannot stress this enough, especially if you are an interpreter and you will find very rude customers or LEPs or they may be in situations where they are rude to you. Just keep your calm and make sure they understand you are the interpreter and deserve respect, but without loosing your cool. The same goes for translators who have to deal with project managers and other individuals in language service providers.

In terms of best behavior, you should always try to stay in your roles but be flexible. Practice cultural competence at work. This is so important, because almost everything we do as translators and interpreters has deep roots in our ability to understand the cultural underpinnings of human communication and to understand and bridge the cultural differences that arise when individuals from different backgrounds try to form relationships or conduct business. It is up to us to ensure that we bridge that gap and become a conduit not only of ideas and concepts, but also of experiences, feelings and motivations.

Foster trust and mutual respect. Remember that many times the client’s business or even his or her life is in your hands. In your ability to appropriately convey the message needed. That trust and respect is quintessential to the role of the translator and interpreters. Just as with your doctor, if you do not trust your doctor, will you allow him or her to treat you?

ACCURACY & COMPLETENESS 

Accuracy

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Lets now talk about accuracy and completeness, or what we might call the competence level that any translator and interpreter should have. But what is accuracy? Basically it is defined as rendering your message in the target language with

  • No additions and
  • No omissions
  • Favoring meaning over literalness
  • And maintaining for each message its source Register + Style + Purpose + Spirit + Intention

It means that:

  • You are expected to have a mastery of the target language equivalent to that of an educated native speaker,
  • You are expected to have up-­‐to-­‐date knowledge of the subject material and its
  • terminology in both languages
  • You are expected to have access to information resources and reference materials,
  • and knowledge of the tools of the profession,
  • You must be able to carry out translating or interpreting tasks thoroughly and
  • responsibly.
  • and you should only accept jobs for which you are able to guarantee a proper standard of quality to their clients.

IMPARTIALITY

impartiality

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Codes of ethics also often talk about maintaining impartiality and keeping neutrality. Now then, Impartiality means treating all people and groups equally. So, regardless of what your personal beliefs are in regards to certain groups of people, as a translator or interpreter you should maintain impartiality when dealing with groups you would normally not engage in your daily activities. And that also entail avoiding discrimination and stereotyping. And if you are not able to do so because, for example, your personal religious beliefs, then you should withdraw from the assignment if you believe you might be biased in any way.

Impartiality also means the ability to exert no influence on parties and give no advice or insert no opinion. Interpreters sometimes step out of their role and become advocates, for example. But interpreter should NOT be advocates unless they are specifically requested to act as such or if not acting as an advocate would negatively impact the outcome of the encounter. In any other circumstance, the interpreter should hold their opinions to themselves and exert no influence on the parties.

The same applies to translators, where this influence may be more difficult to trade but veiled by the use of certain terms or the way in which the structure of the idea is presented, to stress this or that concept. Or by adding translators notes that reflect the translator’s opinions and not just clarifications to the meaning of text in context. Just like translators should keep translators notes to a minimum, so interpreters should avoid engaging in any side conversations.

INTEGRITY

Integrityzazzle.com

Codes of Ethics and Standards of Practice stress the translator and interpreter commitment to integrity.

The translator and the interpreter must honor their commitments and deadlines. Too often do we hear of translators that do not deliver their assignments on time or interpreters that fail to arrive on time. This is totally unacceptable. Translators and interpreters must work under a business model where a high priority is placed on meeting any commitment agreed with the client and fulfilling such obligations on schedule.

Another issue stressed by codes of ethics is to avoid malicious statements. This includes malicious statements not only about our clients but also about our colleagues, about our associations and about the profession in general. It is very easy nowadays in social media to express opinions that are harsh and many times unfounded or that might have a valid explanation if the other party was given the opportunity. Therefore, unless you are absolutely certain that it is the right thing to do, refrain from all sorts of malicious statements

We should avoid any conflicts of interest but if they appear, we should declare them to the client or withdraw from the assignment. A conflict of interest is a situation in which your decisions as a professional translator

Ethics mandate that you do not provide any services that are unnecessary and that you do not charge any additional fees to those actually required. This issue seems obvious but there are many translators and interpreters that will perform unnecessary services only because the client asked for them or did not specified that they would be unnecessary. Remember that many times your client is relying on you to tell them what they need translated or interpreted. Similarly, do not charge fees you have not incurred in. Avoid incurring in unfair practices or breaching the trust of your client, peers or the public in general.

Commitment to integrity also implies that there will be

  • No false advertising or No self-promotion while on assignment.
  • No referrals to third parties.
  • And that you will accurately represent your qualifications.

Exercise due care with property. Now, other people’s property includes the documents you receive for translation, the films, CDs, and other forms of multimedia. The computers you use if they are not yours, the equipment to which you may have access. And if you are an interpreter, you will most probably be inside their property working with their equipment or having access to it. Have the greatest care with it.

For interpreters, dress in appropriate attire. I know this may sound basic but believe me, many times the interpreter forgets they are a professional. I live in Miami and have seen interpreters arrive at Immigration to represent a client in a hearing, and they have been wearing shorts or a t-shirt or, on the other hand, dressed so provocatively that the people in the room are distracted by the interpreter’s looks. So, beware of business dress code any time you have an assignment.

And finally, you should be constantly pursuing your professional development by being aware of the developments in the field and constantly learning more in your areas of specialty. Additionally, it is important that you have a membership in at least one professional association. Associations sponsor numerous events throughout the year that allow you to connect with your peers. You can participate and have the opportunity to learn about breaking news in your career, learn “best practices” or new ideas, and meet and brainstorm with others who are also looking to share and learn new information. You can use of their career and information resources.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Confidentiality

ilbypasscoordinationproject.org

We have now seen how codes of ethics and standards of practice stress the need for accuracy and completeness, impartiality, integrity and your best professional and business behavior. Now lets tackle the issue of confidentiality, privacy and secrecy. You will handle huge numbers of documents and large amounts of information, most of it containing sensitive content and confidential information, at least from the client’s perspective.

For me personally, Confidentiality is a huge concern and a topic that I stress in all my training sessions.

Translators and interpreters have access to information that could be sensitive in many ways. So, one of our commitments must be to maintain confidentiality and disclose only what the client has agreed that we may or should disclose or that which we must disclose by law.

Confidentiality is a term that indicates preserving the privacy of the persons with whom you come in contact or the companies with whom you have any business relationship. This includes information gained verbally, in writing, from encounters, or by observation. All information is considered confidential when it pertains to medical care and client records, when it deals with most legal issues, and when it relates to financial data and business information. As a professional, at least 99% of anything you handle in life will fall into one of those categories and therefore you should treat it as confidential.

Let me repeat that in a different way. All translator and interpreters should ALWAYS act as if they had signed a strict confidentiality agreement for every single assignment they undertake, stating that they will abide by the strictest guidelines and principles of ethics, confidentiality, privacy and security. It does not matter if you are just translating a news release or a press article that has already been published.

Client confidentiality is the conscious effort to keep private all information revealed from the client while rendering services.

I would say that just like physicians have their Hippocratic oath, so translators and interpreters should have an oath to confidentiality and privacy. Such oath would say something like

I will do no cause harm and I will take no gain

with or from any information obtained from or on behalf of my client.

To ensure confidentiality means to have in place rules and protections to preserve the privacy of the persons, information or documents in your care (gained verbally, in print or electronic formats) and that you will keep them in strict confidence for use only by those specifically authorized by the owner of the information or document.

Remember that what we “share” may affect lives.

  • WHAT do we “share”?
  • With WHOM do we “share” it?
  • HOW do we “share” it?
  • Could this material cause “undesirable effects” if publicly available?

MINIMUM NECESSARY

ISO-17799 states that Minimum Necessary means “Ensuring that information is accessible only to those authorized to have access.” You are bound to know or disseminate the “minimum necessary” information to perform your job. This means that you should only access information at a minimum necessary level to be able to carry out your duties. The same applies to everyone else who might have access to the information under your care. Therefore, it is expected that you make reasonable efforts to limit confidential information to the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose.

 Certified Proproz.com

Excerpts from Claudia Brauer’s presentation to the Certified PRO Network:

Dec 21, 2012 13:00 – 18:00 GMT (9 a.m. EST)

http://www.proz.com/virtual-conferences/434/program

Professionalism: code of ethics, standards of practice, commitment to privacy and confidentiality

“Utility” Vs. “Eloquence” for measures of quality

This is a reprint of an October/2012 article I published in IMIA Viewpoints Online Newsletter (http://www.imiaweb.org/members/viewpoints.asp)

I recently read that “utility is valued over eloquence as a measure of translation quality”(1) by some of the big TECH companies entering the translation and interpreting field, including Intel, Microsoft, Asia Online and Spoken Translation. The Taus report that talked about that was specifically referring to the “coming of age” of “real-time multilingual chat”, which is part of an entirely new array of products that are already being offered by high-tech translation automation companies; these new products are changing the landscape of bilingual and multilingual output (and translation/interpreting) in the Global Village of the 21st Century.

If this is the new industry trend, “quality” will become a “value added” –not a core requirement– sought by “some” (read “few”) companies. Thus, the new industry concept of “utility” is becoming more important than “eloquence” –which to date has been our measure of quality— and this paradigm shift will totally change the roles of the players in this industry, including us, professional translators and interpreters.

I will not discuss here the “good or evil” nature of the recent automation developments in the translation industry, as there are fervent supporters of one and the other position. My view is that the 21st Century has arrived and many translators and interpreters seem to be at odds with that simple fact. So, in my opinion, fighting technology will not serve the cause of the industry. Unless we become part – and an active part – of the conversation, we will not have a say in its development.

We need to start participating in the technological revolution by voicing our stand (other than mere “opposition”, which will just delay the inevitable), and making POSITIVE contributions so that we make ourselves indispensable to and remain part of the industry…. otherwise, the geeks will try –and probably succeed in time — in replicating what we do (remember quality is no longer the driver for a large portion of the users of the outputs of our industry).

I believe the tech industry has been rather successful at creating algorithms and software and have been pretty good at the basics of language transfer. They have not figured out how to transfer content yet, but they are getting there. As I see it, the fact that most of the software still outputs low-quality products is just a matter of “infancy”. This child will “mature” faster than you think. Few people at the height of the industrial revolution believed that automation would cause the displacement of millions of manufacturing jobs. So we, standing at the beginning of the digital/mobile communication revolution, must learn from history and anticipate the changes that will most probably happen, and participate in them today, so that we may partake in their advancements and help drive and shape their future.

The paradigm shift comes about from the fact that the truths we held sacred in translation and interpreting may be on the verge of disappearing. Mainstream needs, the advent of mobile technologies, the incursion of the TECH industry in the world of translation and interpreting is changing the basic parameters of the entire translation and interpreting industry. The basic assumptions we hold dear and which are comfortably embedded in our way of doing things are starting to fade away. Winners of battles write the history of those battles. I certainly would like to be part of those who write the history of translation and interpreting in the 21st century.

Just as the debate in the translation industry centers around the use of TM and MT, the debate in the interpreting industry is around the use of phone-interpreting, video-interpreting, web-based-interpreting, and interpreting for mobile digital users, among others. I believe the discussion cannot continue being “if” but must shift to “how” we will participate (i.e., not if we should use these technologies, but how can we use them and what do we need as an industry for consistency). We have to be aware of the changes occurring in the industry if we want to remain relevant. Any change we wish for (or wish to avoid) is ours to fight for.

So, in this fast-pace world of the 21st Century, “instant” is the concept of choice in service provision, and based on this, the larger companies coming from the software and hardware industries, from the video and gaming industries, are penetrating the language industries. They are having initial success as the newcomer competitors of traditional translators and interpreters. Their final products are years away from the “Eloquence” by which we have measured our products during thousands of years but rather, they are now striving to achieve “Utility” — the usefulness of instant access that these automated services are providing.

The silver lining is that, although these providers of technical solutions are slowly but surely gaining wider margins of market share, in doing so they have expanded the actual market size to levels unimaginable just a few years ago. So, although they are taking more and more of the market as a percentage, their own presence has multiplied the marketplace several times in size (and will continue doing so). In this way, translators and interpreters are in higher demand than they have ever been in history and our services are being recognized by mainstream as “vital” to the functioning of this new multilingual and multicultural world.

The crumbling down of geographic barriers allows for the provision of services in ways we could never have anticipated. The downside: we are no longer an elite group of intellectuals or artists but are now part of a larger group of artisans. As always in history, there is room for those who wish to remain being artists and intellectuals, to continue rendering high-quality services to the few buyers who will continue to exist. The rest of us will now be a mainstream trade, maybe at the level of law or medicine (i.e., there is the Judge and there is the paralegal, there is the surgeon and there is the home health attendant…. and everything in between).

The future is here. There is no such thing as “it will not happen”. It is happening. Translators are being replaced by machine translation at an alarming speed. Those translators who fail to see the trend will be left without a job in a matter of a decade. Post-MT editing is strongly becoming the trend in the “normal” industry and now, with this latest concept –changing eloquence for utility– the trend will change faster than ever as machine translation becomes more and more common, easier to access and “acceptable” in terms of its output. What I am reading here is that the end-users of translation products are accepting a mediocre product provided it is cheap, fast (machine-translation produced) and relatively accurate (the last hurdle yet to be achieved by new technologies, but fast on the way to getting there).

Now then, Interpreting still may hold a couple of decades more of life “as we know it” because it is a bit more complex… or is it? I have lately seen text to voice produce some amazing results… yes, one language only, but once they figure out the “magic” element – and they will (the question is When) – then development will go ballistic….

So, it is predictable that in the future (which in many places is today), people will not care about construction of the sentences or grammar or inherent meaning of the source language, or even nuances. They will just want to get the “general idea” and that is all they want. Well, at least the larger portion of buyers of translation and interpreting services. Of course there will be many others out there that will still strive for quality. Moreover, for which quality becomes even MORE important than before (thankfully, the healthcare industry seems to be one of them…. the question is… until when? Market forces drive industries, whether we like it or not).

So, for me, the issue is, how are we, the professional interpreters and translators, helping to shape the industry we will be working in? Other than complaining, what are we doing? Other than opposing progress, what positive contributions are we presenting? What levels of “association with” the developers of the new world are we engaging? Where is our strength as part of the “knowledge” pool of services in the world? How can we harness that power?

As I see it, the extraordinary growth of machine translation resources is evidence of the exponential improvement in quality in the past decade. I do not use the term exponential lightly. Growth and improvements in our industry are being exponential. So, I believe that quality translation might be achieved in one or two decades with machine translation. Quality interpreting might take a little longer, but not too much.

Yes, I know this is blasphemy. But believe me, it is reality. Once upon a time, about 15 years ago I thought Translation Memories were garbage and would go nowhere. I thought this day, when TMs are almost a requirement for the job, would never
come. Well, it is here. So, let’s face reality. There are some robots in Japan that are already capable of basic interpreting. Yes, very basic. Just as TM was so basic 10 years ago.

The future of the translation industry is being taken over by the big software companies that are creating software capable of penetrating the “magic” of translation. Once they get there, it will be like any other industry of the 19th century. Replicate, replicate, replicate.

Therefore, here is my proposal: We, the original translators and interpreters, who understand and drive “Eloquence” and not just “Utility” – we – must become very active in designing the strategies of our own future. We have to unite to create international infrastructures that support the “Eloquence” and not just the “Utility” — but not fighting with the software giants, that is a lost cause, rather providing alternatives to improve their products. Common infrastructure and common protocols should be our mantra now as an industry. A dispersed group of individuals will not achieve much.

What is the profession going to look like in 20 years? We have to start answering that question from a perspective of the current reality (mobile millenials) and not from the perspective of what we would “ideally” believe “should” be. Should does not work any more. Could is here to stay. We need to wake up to our new reality as a profession and set out to design the future that could be for us in this new Global Village of the 21st Century.

(1)

http://www.translationautomation.com/joomla15/index.php?option=com_content&vie w=article&id=680&catid=3&Itemid=85