Remote Interpreting: Feeling Our Way into the Future Published by The ATA Chronicle New communications technologies make interpreting available where it wasn’t in the past. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the way we will work remotely, because what’s going on is game changing and shaking our profession from top to bottom. In April […]
For 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.
The 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.
In 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.
The 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. Topics 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.
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!
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.
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
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
- and you should only accept jobs for which you are able to guarantee a proper standard of quality to their clients.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Excerpts from Claudia Brauer’s presentation to the Certified PRO Network:
Dec 21, 2012 13:00 – 18:00 GMT (9 a.m. EST)
ProZ.com jut released a very important brief on the state of the translation industry. Let me quote one of the important sections therein:
Demand and growth
Indicators here are fairly positive. Almost 70% of translators asked are handling more volume now than just two years ago (around 12% were unsure if the volume had increased or not), and just under 70% report steady or increasing volume from 2011 to 2012 (5% were unsure).
According to Common Sense Advisory, the market for outsourced language services is worth US$33.523 billion in 2012, and it is calculated that the language services market is growing at an annual rate of 12.17% (up from 7.41% in 2011). The US Department of Labor estimates that “employment of interpreters and translators is expected to grow 42 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations.” EMSI, in a recent report, stated that translation and interpretation services have grown by approximately 50% since 2007 in the US.
These indicators would seem to match with the concept of a “flat world” in translation as we saw at the beginning of this report. Demand is healthy, growth has increased. How is this affecting freelance translators in terms of their own income and growth?”
I recommend that all translators and interpreters take a look at this important document @ http://www.proz.com/industry-report/2012.
Forces Shaping the Industry in the Global Village of the 21st Century
A talk to take place on September 27, 2012 @ 07:15 EDT (11:15 GMT)
This session is a wake-up call to the future. Technology is transforming the profession at the speed of light. Instead of resisting technology, translators and interpreters must embrace it and learn how to use it to further their professional advancement and intercultural communication. Embracing constant change is vital for survival in the global village of the 21st century.
If translators and interpreters do not become part of the digital revolution occurring in the second decade of this new millennium, we will be left out of the loop of progress… just what happened a few decades ago to those office workers and freelancers (including translators) who refused to learn how to use a computer … they quickly became professionally obsolete because they were no longer able to interact in the modern interconnected world. Today, we need to learn about the new tools that have been quickly becoming an intrinsic part of the modern world.
This event requires registration: http://www.proz.com/virtual-conferences/368/program/7214
Event Organizer: Claudia Brauer (Translator & Interpreter Trainer http://claudiabrauer.com)
In an interconnected world, the ability to communicate in “my preferred language” (whatever that may be) has become a crucial component of our world. In less than a decade we have gone from simultaneous or consecutive interpreting, to over-the-phone and remote video-interpreting (simultaneous or consecutive), to web-based instant message delivery. Technology is transforming our profession at the speed of light, literally. The term “medical video interpreting” is so new that many in the profession don’t even know of its existence, yet the technology it is based on (and already commercially available) is sure to change the entire profession. Professional associations are scrambling to get to speed with the changes to better serve their members; certification and credentialing is becoming more urgent than ever; education and training are flourishing; and technology surprises us with so many and fast innovations, that it is hard to keep up with it. I believe there is an urgent need for us to be extremely aware of the world in which we live and the fascinating digital revolution taking place around us at the speed of light. I stress the fact that instead of resisting technology, we must embrace it and learn to use it to further our professional advancement and intercultural communication. If we do not become part of the digital revolution, we will soon be left out of the loop of progress… similar to what happened a few decades ago to office workers and freelancers (including translators) who refused to learn how to use a computer … they quickly became professionally obsolete because they were no longer able to interact in the modern interconnected world. This is an attempt to be a “wake-up” call to current and future interpreters about the state of the industry in our Global Village of the 21st century