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What Happens in the Brain When We Interpret?

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The human brain is a powerful control centre. It is responsible for everything from our ability to breathe to our ability to be empathic. It is responsible for all skills and abilities, and language is no exception.  Language is an exceptionally complicated, yet highly coordinated task. It is a cognitive skill that is both unique to humans and universal to all human cultures. Different brain structures are responsible for all parts of language production – including hearing spoken words, making sense of those words, producing a response, and executing that response.

So how does the brain do this?  Many researchers have asked themselves the same question, and some of them have attempted to find the answer. Most research uses fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) so that the areas of the brain that are working harder during different situations can be viewed. More specifically, some research has examined the brains of interpreters to better understand the skills involved in understanding and producing speech. Two well-studied areas that play a very significant role in language are two areas known as Wernicke’s and Broca’s.

Wernicke's area, located in the temporal lobe of the left hemisphere, usually, plays a large role in understanding the incoming language information. It is here that the original language goes in and where you make sense of the meaning of the words and sentences. Whether translating or interpreting written or audible language, Wernicke’s area is responsible for transforming words into their meaning.  Not only is this area responsible for language comprehension, but it is where we plan the what we want to say back. For interpreters, an extra step is involved during which language is switched, and the speed of which this happens is extremely fast. If this area is damaged, speech is created without content or meaning.

The next large brain area involved in language is called Broca’s area. Although the research is less clear on the role of Broca‘s area,  it has been hypothesized that Broca’s area also is involved in language production and comprehension, including verbal working memory, syntax, grammar, and the motor movements responsible for speech. It is also associated with functions outside of language, including motor-related activities associated with hand movements, and sensorimotor learning and integration. Damage to the Broca’s area can disrupt language production, but nobody is quite sure exactly what specific language-related function is lost to cause that disruption. Thus, the Broca’s area plays a large part in interpretation.

To get more specific, researchers have looked at brain scans of interpreters in three different situations: listening to a sentence in one language, listening to and repeating a sentence in one language, and listening to a sentence in one of their languages and interpreting it into another of their languages. Broca’s area was lit up during all of these tasks. Interestingly, the caudate nucleus, an area of the brain responsible for learning and decision making, was the most engaged part of the brain during the latter task.  This makes sense, because the caudate nucleus uses information learned from previous experiences and to make future decisions, and so it coordinates different parts of the brain to do this. These researchers hypothesize that interpretation requires various regions of the brain, not only the language centres, to be coordinated during the difficult task of interpretation.  The caudate nucleus becomes more engaged during such a task because it has a huge role in facilitating this highly coordinated function.

In general, language is a multi-faceted cognitive skill that engages many areas of the brain, but most prominently Broca’s area and Wernicke’s areas. For those who work in interpretation, it has been found that many more areas of the brain are also engaged, because the ability to switch languages requires more coordination and abilities. This coordination is likely to be controlled by the caudate nucleus.  It is safe to say, however, that much more research is required to be able to answer exactly what happens in our brain when 

language is interpreted.

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6 Ways to Sharpen Listening Skills

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Steven R. Covey, in his famous book that outlines The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, stated that “most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”.  Interpreters, however, understand that listening to understand is fundamental to the work we do. Without proper listening, vital information can be missed, and the message can be misconstrued.  Listening allows us to properly intake information and sort through it, in preparation for changing the incoming language while still communicating the original message. 

 An Interpreter’s listening skills must be sharp, as there can be immense pressure to do one’s job with speed, accuracy, and all while likely having an audience. Listening skills can also be helpful in other professional ways, such as engaging others and potentially gathering more clients and business opportunities. The following suggestions are potential ways to hone or practice these skills. 

 1.      Clearing the mind of “other clutter” 

When we can clear our minds of information that is competing for our attention, this helps us focus better on what we are required to do. If you have difficulty clearing your mind of competing thoughts, as most of us do, a simple visualization prior to starting may be helpful. Visualizing keeping the other stuff that is in your mind to one side temporarily, and in the forefront is where your task at hand is. For some, visualizing containers within the mind is helpful. In these containers you can place the other mental content, close the lid, and reassure yourself that you will come back to these items later.  

 2.      Preparing body language  

Non-verbals and other body languages are the primary way we communicate.  Being consciously aware of what we are communicating through our body is essential from the get-go. This allows the other person to see us as prepared and engaged in what they have to say. A quick scan of your body prior to beginning may be helpful. Starting at the toes, scan upward while thinking about open body language can be helpful.  Likewise, body language in the other person is important to gauge as well.  What is the other person doing? Are they leaning forward and engaged? Or leaning back for some distance from you? This is also important to assess to determine if you are on track.  Open body language can even encourage the other person to open up. 

 3.      Having the right tools 

This may seem obvious, but necessary and worth mentioning all the same. Having the right tools for interpretation is essential for listening and having what you need prepared shows that you are ready.  

4.      Practice summarizing to assist with consolidating information 

An interpreter's role is not only switching spoken word from one language to another, it also includes the ability to condense information when necessary.  The skill of summarizing information is essential, here. This is where an interpreter takes the incoming language and shortens it, while still ensuring the message of the statement is clear and is communicated. Not only does this get a message across, but a good summarizing statement can leave a listener feeling as though they are listened to and understood. Practicing this in everyday communications can be essential to sharpening it. 

5.      Practice empathetic listening 

Interpreters are often in situations where emotions are at a high. You act as a window between two languages, and thus between the two communicators. Empathy, which is the ability to both understand the feelings of another person, and further, to communicate that you understand, can help mediate these situations.  

6.      Find a method for managing stress 

The pressure to perform is intense in an interpreter's world. Having methods in place to manage this is essential. When we are under stress, our bodies and minds react in ways that may be beyond our control and may impact our ability to do our jobs. Preventing this from occurring, through relaxation exercises or mind clearing strategies similar to point 1 can be helpful. Find what works for you!  

As a bonus, not only are listening skills valuable for the basis of what interpreters do, but they can also help in other areas of life. Most of these skills can be applied to our personal relationships, and can help deepen these connections as well.  

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Creativity Boosting Ideas for Translators

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Translation isn’t always thought of as a creative process. Some view translation as a simple act of moving already created sentences and phrases from one language to another. Translation is actually much more complex. As a translator, you act as a gateway between two languages, as if you are standing along a border, balancing two worlds. It requires an understanding of the complexities involved in not only the original and translated languages, but also an intimate understanding of the two cultures.  Creativity is present, and even necessary, within the process of translation. 

Creativity, when defined as “seeing the intersection of seemingly unrelated topics and combining them into something new” (Brian Clark), nearly perfectly defines the life of a translator.  Another definition that perhaps fits even snugger proposes that creativity is “starting with nothing and ending up with something. Interpreting something you saw or experienced and processing it so it comes out different than how it went in” (Henry Rollins).  Both of these definitions fully capture the role and scope of translation. 

Creativity is sparked in many different areas of the brain. It requires heavy use of the prefrontal cortex, an area responsible for higher level thinking, logic, and cognitive flexibility. However, depending on the type of tasking and creativity you are engaging in will indicate which area will be used. For translators, Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas are more likely to be used in the creative process. Armed with knowledge on the neurobiology of creativity has given researchers and other professionals tools to cultivate it.   

 How to cultivate creativity? 

 1.      Increasing Curiosity 

Curiosity often leads to creativity. Like a developing child that has an innate drive to curiously explore his or her world and creatively provide input back to his or her environment, so too do adults have these needs.  By borrowing the wonder of a child, we can use your five senses to explore the world in curiosity, feel the need to creatively input into our world, and thus grow our creativity.  

 2.      Setting a creative mood 

You can alter your environment to boost creativity. What we take in through our senses can be soothing, energizing, and can change our moods.  It is worth experimenting with different sights, smells, textures, audio or music, and tastes to see what engages your brain into action. Remember, though, what works for one individual may not work for someone else, and this will require you to experiment with different environments, sensory tools, etc, in order to figure out what works for you.  

 3.      Titrating Creativity 

Going back and forth from the opposite forces of creativity and disengagement can lead to a boost in creative moments and decrease moments of stagnation. Further, a longer and more serious disengagement like sleep has been shown to boost our ability to find insight - that is, the sudden gain of knowledge or spark of idea, which are the offspring of creativity. 

 4.      Collaboration and Gathering Feedback 

Creativity can be sparked when we bounce ideas off one another, because sometimes we are too close to an issue or problem to be able to step back and find a new creative path.  Asking for help and advice from friends, peers, and people from your personal network that you trust and respect can provide valuable input to start the creative process. Every person has a unique skill set, experience, and knowledge. A fresh outside perspective can spark some new, creative thinking, particularly when ideas are stuck. 

 5.      Do Something Different, Do Something Fun, or Do Nothing at All 

Finally, when we are stuck and creativity is no longer flowing, it can help to change things up, step out of your professional role, or simply do nothing, Sometimes unplugging your mind rather than actively engaging it can give your mind the break and the rest that it needs. Sometimes the best ideas are born from spontaneous insights rather than active thinking processes.   

Creativity lives within interpretation. The transformative aspect of translation requires it. When creativity stagnates, there are research-supported ways to boost it. Not just for painters and authors of children’s books, creativity is found in all of us, and often in heavy doses in translators.  

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The Top Bloggers for Translators to Follow

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The blogging world contains a wealth of information. The subject content is endless, and there is no shortage of writers who are passionate about different topics. Bloggers spend time researching and writing articles for all of us to read and learn from. Like anything found on the internet, it’s difficult to know which blogs are credible, and what information can be trusted.

When it comes to translation, there are many blogs out there. No matter what kind of translation information you seek, you are likely to find a translation blog written about it. So we scoured the blogs and found the top 10 you may be interested to read.

Transblawg

As the name says, this is a blog that focuses on translation, in a humorous and entertaining way. Perusing the numerous articles written, you can find a lot about German to English translation, as well as German culture, in addition to some information on Spanish, French, and English languages and cultures. Transblawg offers some very good advice for translators, and even offers up a bit for writers. With new content updated frequently, Transblag tops the list of many translation blogger’s top 5 translation bloggers!

About Translation

This blogger writes on everything translation: from beginner tips on using CAT tools to professional development options for the more seasoned translator. This blog is updated regularly, the writing clear and engaging. Check the About Translation blog for practical tips and engaging writing.

Naked Translations

This blog is primarily geared towards English to French and French to English translations. The content, however, can be used by any translator. There are many different writers and guest bloggers, making the content fresh with different perspectives for all translators to uncover.

Translator Fun

Translation information that is infused with humor throughout is always fun! This site is dedicated to translation humor. Day to day work can become dull and perhaps at times, even boring, but this blog can liven things up with hilarity. Take a break, read some translation humor, as you continue on with your important translation work.

Thoughts on Translation

For those who want tips and tricks for how to get work done efficiently, this blogger really does put their thoughts on-screen. Filled with ways to achieve that sought after work-life balance for a translator, with topics including things ranging from time management to finding new clients, it’s a very useful blog for both the new and seasoned translator.

Translation Times

Like a newspaper, this blog is an easy-to-navigate site with professional level writing. It mainly focuses on translation in French, German, Spanish, and English. Not only are the topics more on the professional and business side of things, the various topics that the blog focuses on are easily searchable, making it a great site to use.  You can find information on software, workshops and conferences, book reviews, and even job opportunities.

There’s Something About Translation

There really is something about translation that connects us and also keeps many of us wanting to learn and engage more and more. This blogger tends to focus on speed and production, and provides many articles geared toward this. This writer keeps on top of translation news and conferences, and provides information highly useful to all parts of this industry.

Between Translations

An excellent blog to peruse between translation assignments, this writer helps translators learn more about helpful translation tools, resources, and professional development.

The Translator’s Teacup

This blog is geared towards the beginner translator. The writer describes problems that new translators commonly face, like rate negotiation, underpayment, choosing the right software and equipment, and other ways that a translator can fill up their teacup.

Diary of a Mad Patent Translator

A blog with an interesting title, lots of serious content and some not-so-crazy musings. The writer provides tips for translators, including content written on multilingualism, accepting payments and giving discounts, and professional development.

Whether you are seeking a professional resource or taking a break from translation to keep your mind fresh, reading a translation blog is a great way to get new information, gather tips or advice on experiences that are common to most translators, and even find some humor to infuse into your work day. 

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Partners in translation: why you need a translation buddy¬ and how to find one

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Even though you might love flying solo, you need a flock of like-minded translators to support you through your journey. Forming strong professional bonds is an investment in your growth. Not only that, a safe space where you can be frank about your struggles and successes is beneficial for your mental health and can lead to a greater job satisfaction.

And every flock begins with one bird, one reliable translation buddy you entrust with sharing your path. Just like any successful partnership hinges on respect and shared values, a strong professional union is grounded in honesty and compatibility. While it’s easy to fall victim to the fiercely competitive job market dominated by the individual rather than the collective, a work confidante you respect, get along with, and can trust with work projects can accelerate your success and improve well-being.

Here’s why every translator needs a buddy, and how you can find one:

1. Because you will need a change at some point.

Your freelance translation business might be at its nascency, or you might be handling your full-time workload with ease. Chances are, your client base will keep expanding as you get established in your field. With economic volatility, unforeseen shifts in translation trends, and your ever-evolving values and priorities, a professional safety net can provide the much needed sense of security and internal peace. No matter where you see yourself in five years—at the helm of a global translation firm, supporting a few select clients, or exploring a completely new territory—you will need a trusted partner to help you navigate change.  

2. Two minds are better than one. Imagine if you could tackle many of your translation hurdles with a reliable partner. Or have a trusted buddy to offer advice and a fresh set of eyes to review your work. In a creative, often monotonous field such as translation, you almost can’t do without an outside perspective to get out of translator’s blocks.

4. Learning from others is just as valuable (if not more) as reading professional development books. Experience and failure, when shared with others, can offer just as much insight into the profession as workshops and textbooks. If you find someone you can open up to without any fears of being judged, they can help you overcome from any career impasses.

5. Do it for your social and mental well-being. Translation can be an isolating profession, especially if you work from home with little to no contact with the outside world. Even if you hold an office job, most likely you spend your days communicating with a computer rather than humans. Forming strong relationships with a work partner will enhance your feeling of connection and belonging.

6. You will learn to work in a team environment. Collaboration and team work are currently in high demand in the workplace. As translators, we are often surrounded by professionals who have a very vague idea of how we operate. In many cases, you might be the sole translator on a team. Working with a buddy might help brush up your team work and project management skills.

One of the best ways to form a trusting and lasting professional partnership is by investing your time and effort into finding your people. Many diverse people co-exist under the unifying umbrella of translation and interpreting—by attending as many professional development events, conferences, and workshops, you will increase your chances of finding a true translation buddy.

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ATIA Perspective on Pre-signed Translator Statements

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Recently, ATIA became aware that some agencies are asking translators to pre-stamp and/or pre-sign blank translator statements. The request is often accompanied by an offer that if the translator chooses to do so, they will be given priority when translation jobs come through the agency.

While ATIA does not have a policy that prevents its membership from taking this action, it is not something that we condone as you could be opening yourselves to the potential for fraud. Your stamp(s) and seals(s) are your responsibility. Agreeing to this practice could result in your stamp and/or credentials being used on a translation that you did not author. This could put you at risk of future litigation.

It is important to remember that your stamp and seal remains the property of the Association and that you are its caretaker and are therefore responsible for how it is used.

Protect yourself from scams and fraud Regularly, the Administrative Assistant and Development Coordinator receive notices regarding suspicious emails and questionable requests for services. It is important that you exercise vigilance when considering any new client.

Tips on how to protect yourself:

Do not accept any overpayments. If a client has sent you too much money, refuse to accept it.
Do not cash the cheque under any circumstances. Return it to the sender and report the incident to the authorities.
Do not accept payment by cheque, especially from unknown or first-time clients. There are more reliable methods of payment including Interac e-transfer that can be used.
Do not begin any work until you have received payment and it has officially cleared your account. Note: the bank can come back many months later and tell you a cheque was actually fraudulent. 
Do not feel pressured to “act now”. Fraudsters will use pressure tactics and quick turnaround times against you. 

If you received an email from a sender exhibiting the following behaviour, be aware it may be a scam:
Their email address contains the words “no-reply”.
Their “reply-to” email address does not match the email from which it was sent.
They insist on an unreasonably urgent timeline.
They do not provide self identifying contact details.
They insist you begin the work before agreeing on payment.

What to do if you have received an email you suspect is an overpayment scam: 

Don’t respond to the email.  
Report the email to the Canadian Government’s Spam Reporting Centre and/or the Anti-Fraud Centre.
Spam isn’t just “annoying, unwanted” emails. It is also defined as “false or misleading electronic representations.” The names, emails, stories and excuses the fraudsters use for various scams are always different and ever-evolving. The stories may even seem elaborate and convincing. But while the stories change, the motive of the fraudster does not: they just want your money.   

If you believe you have already fallen victim to a scam, please report this to the following authorities: 
Your local police’s non-emergency line. 
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

 If you’re aware of any other fraudulent schemes where translators and/or interpreters are targeted, please let us know. 

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4 reasons why you need to learn to let go of your translations

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Translators, similar to writers, often get attached to the fruits of their creative work, the words they’ve crafted, creative solutions they spent hours pondering. That’s why handing over a project to a client can elicit mixed feelings—on the one hand, you’re thrilled to take on new challenges; on the other hand, you’re parting with your brainchild that, in a way, carries parts of you. Translation offers a glimpse of your personality, reveals your thought process, exposes some of your biases, beliefs, and values. Even the most technical of translations has your unique style in it, your choice of words, your voice.

While it’s rewarding—even necessary—to take pride in what you do, holding your work too close to your heart can undermine it.  Pouring your heart into what you do and leaving a piece of you in every project won’t go unnoticed and your clients will appreciate your passion. It’s about finding a healthy balance between dedication and detachment that will help you carry your signature throughout your work and get better with every word.

Here’s why letting go of your translations will make you a better and happier translator:

1. Letting go of your words will make you more receptive to criticism. Distancing yourself from your translations will help you take feedback and potential criticism constructively, and transform them into improvements to the original text. If a translation is an extension of you, then any form of criticism, even the most benign and well-intentioned, is going to feel as an attack on you. If you happen to work with an editor or peers who scrutinize your work, knowing exactly where you end and your translation begins will save you from unnecessary self-doubt. An adequate distance between you and your work where you focus on quality and solutions that best suit your context will help avoid tensions within your team.

2. It will help you think critically and grow. Be proud of what you do. Yet keep your mind open to better ideas. You can only take a step back, evaluate your work, and question some of your decisions if your translation is loved from a distance. By cutting ties with a text, you’ll see rationale behind your decisions and know why you did what you did, and how you can do better next time.

3. Acknowledging your mistakes will be easier. Typos in early drafts are inevitable. Did you miss a footnote? Or did your editor point out an inconsistency? If you detach your work from yourself, you will find that owning mistakes and correcting them will become easier.

4. Do it for your self-esteem and emotional well-being. Distancing yourself from the work you do for your clients will help sustain a healthy self-esteem and shield from forming a negative perception of yourself with every comment you might receive about your work. Waving good-bye to your translations will never become easy, especially if you truly love what you do. Don’t let your dedication, zest, and love for translation get in the way of professional growth and job s

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Life after translation: easy add-ons that can set you apart

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So you finished translating a text—now what? What extra mini services can you offer to your clients without compromising the scope of the work and within your professional and personal comfort zone? While translation already involves multiple steps—from initial research, terminology checks, drafts, and revisions—there are ways to increase the value of your services and enhance the overall quality of your work. Going the extra mile will strengthen your relationships with clients, add variety to your professional life, and push you to explore adjacent fields. In a competitive globalized economy, the extra “icing” you put on top of your translation work might be what will set you apart.

What does “going the extra mile” for your clients might mean in the language of translation? What are some organic ways to enhance quality of not only your work, but also your skills? 

1) Review, edit, and proofread your work. Hone your copy-editing skills or work with professional editors. While this service might already be included in your client package, many translators overlook the value of a good edit. As we already spend hours—or days or weeks—dissecting volumes of information, researching terms, scrutinizing words, our eye get accustomed to the text at hand. As a result, we are more prone to skipping letters, skimming, or glancing over typos. Plus, by the time a translation is editable, you’ve already seen it a million times—no chance a mistake snuck in, right? Wrong!

Although translation and editing go hand-in-hand, not all translators study editing. And even if they are naturally gifted at it, they might put it off until the very end of the transition cycle or skip the step altogether.

Handing over a typos-free, clean, well-organized, and consistent copy to your client is just as important as getting the translation right. A good way to ensure editing and proofreading are integrated into your approach includes making a list of steps to check off before you fire away your translation: is the tone in your document consistent? Are page numbering, indexing and heading correct? Do you adhere to the established style guide? Are proper names spelled correctly? Build a database where you list your clients’ preferences including anything from fonts to their opinion on the Oxford comma.

2)  Offer a summary of the translated text, a bulleted outline, a presentation based on the content of the translated document as an extra service. Put yourself in the shoes of your client: will they need to present the thick manuscript you just translated to their teams? Would they want a summary of the translated file? What will the future of your translation look like? Don’t hesitate to ask your clients how they will be using the translated document, or what their future usage might be and if you can help them adapt to those needs.

3) Is your document image-heavy? Are you skilled at photo-editing software? Any way to make the translated text more visually digestible for your client? Discuss any possibility for information hierarchy, fonts that might work better to communicate the message, text placement options. If images communicate just as much information as the text you’re translating, learn how to enhance as needed.  

4) Be open to receiving feedback: if your client has comments or questions about the translated file, encourage them to reach out to you. Keep all lines of communication open and offer to revise your work in case your clients receives feedback. 

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6 qualities that set a translation professional apart from an amateur

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After hours of scrolling through online profiles of prospective translators, flipping pages of portfolios and references, how do you land on a top few? Or maybe it’s your first time engaging a translator in a project, or you’re partnering up with a new person. What qualities and experiences beyond the professional platitudes found in resumes signal real professionalism?

Before committing to a candidate, get to know them and learn about their approach to translation. Try arranging an informal chat or a call to discuss the nuances of a job and determine if it’s a fit. In preparation for your first conversation, review these hallmarks that can help tell a seasoned translation professional from an amateur.

1) An adept translator will take time to understand your needs. Rather than saying yes to a project from the outset, they will take the time to delve into the details, discuss timelines, and expected outcomes. Discussing a job should look like a full-blown conversation rather than a monologue—not only will it give you reassurance that a candidate is in fact qualified, but also that they are keen on engaging with you, collecting information, and learning more about your business.

2) A professional might not be a Jack of all trades. In other words, if a legal translator is willing to take on an academic paper on trenchless technologies in engineering, they might be overly-ambitions. While a legal translator might be perfectly suited to tackle accounting documentation, if they claim a full mastery of two drastically different fields, be sure they are not exaggerating.

3) A master translator will know their approach to translation. Even though you might not know much about translation theory, ask a prospect how they go about translating a complex, heavily technical documents, where they search new terminology, and how they keep track of the jargon they specialize in. Let their personality come through as they share some of their professional challenges and successes.

4) An accomplished translator possesses specific topical knowledge. On top of fluency in at least two languages, they can hold an educated conversation on the topic of your translation project, and have a firm grasp of the topic.

5) A skillful translator takes interest in the field and is genially passionate about translation. They invest time in honing their skills, growing, and learning. They are members of professional organizations, frequent workshops, and seminars.

6) A professional asks for more context, as needed. With experience comes the confidence to admit that our knowledge is limited. An expert translator might ask for more background information on a project, additional resources, or a contact who might be able to help. They won’t shy away from sharing their concerns, doubts, or dilemmas.

While your initial search might not screen out translation dilettantes from experts, have your questions ready to make the right pick. Even though a prospect might not have the most experience in the field, they might demonstrate superb knowledge of their field, great research skills, attention to detail, a well-grounded approach to translation, professional honesty and integrity—all the key elements to translate your project right.

 

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Preparing for, and passing, the Code of Ethics exam.

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The Code of Ethics exam is just around the corner, March 9th to be exact, and if you are just as nervous as I was, keep on reading.

I always become very stressed out about writing exams; I try to avoid them at all costs.  However, sometimes they are unavoidable such as the Code of Ethics (C of E) exam you need to take if you want to become a member of the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) and eventually a certified Translator/Interpreter.  I was especially nervous about this exam since the passing rate is below 50 percent. Many people I talked to failed this exam the first time, and sometimes the second time as well. 

The exam I wrote (it is subject to be revised and changed by the Association at regular intervals!) consisted of 20 questions with multiple choice answers.  The passing mark is 80 percent which means you can have only four incorrect answers.  Each question will give you a specific scenario, and from there you have to form your answer. You will have a limited amount of time to write this exam.

I am very fortunate to have passed this exam the first time!  I am not gloating about it—ok, maybe a little—but the message is:  If I can do it, you can too!

How did I prepare for it?  A month or so before the exam I started reading the C of E every single morning as I sipped my first cup of London Fog.  I took notes, and I became very familiar with its content.

I also took the webinar that was offered by ATIA, and I have to say this was extremely helpful.  It allowed me to think about the rules and regulations of the C of E from a different perspective.  Since the webinar was live, we were able to have discussions, questions, and exercises.  The week following the webinar, I reviewed the exercises we did and the reasoning behind the answers.       

When it finally came time to write the exam, I knew I was prepared and felt confident.  Of course, once I sat down to write the exam my heart started to pound loudly, my mouth was extremely dry, my vision became blurry, and my mind was completely blank.  After a few minutes, I regained my composure and proceeded to write the exam.  I found most of the questions straightforward and the ones I had doubt about, I left blank to come back to afterward.  When writing this exam, it’s important to always think of the question in reference to the C of E and not just what you imagine the correct response should be.  Once I finished, I went back and made sure I had answered all the questions and quickly reviewed the answers. 

If you are writing the C of E on March 9th, start reading it every day now, take notes, and become very familiar with it. Invest in the webinar because it can be the deciding factor on passing this exam.  Once you are there writing the exam, take a deep breath and trust that you are prepared to pass this exam, and answer well.

Good luck!  I know you can do it!    

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Paulina Ponsford was born in Chile and has lived most of her adult life in Canada.  She worked as an Accountant for thirty years in the Oil and Gas industry in Calgary.  At the same time, she always wanted to connect with people at a different level and for this reason, she became a volunteer Fitness Instructor and later on a Certified Facilitator in the area of human interaction.  Paulina is now preparing to become a Translator and Interpreter in the languages of English and Spanish.  Paulina also loves to travel and embraces what different cultures have to offer.  She is also an avid reader and some of her favorite authors are Paulo Coelho, Khaled Hosseini, Mark Mustian, and Isabel Allende.  If you would like to know more about Paulina, check out her blog at www.paulinaponsford.com where she shares some of her thoughts, insights, and experiences. 

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Picking sides in translation: foreignization or localization?

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The relationship between the source text, reader, and the target culture has always been at the forefront of the minds of the greatest translation scholars. How integrated into the receiving culture should the source text be? Does translation entail cutting all ties with the language and culture that produced it? Can two cultures meet halfway in a text that is foreign yet local?

There are volumes written on the topic; nonetheless, today’s translation studies courses have not yet let go of the intricate balance between foreignization and localization. The debate remains open: in the linguistic context of today, which is the preferred direction for practicing translators?

Foreignization is a translation approach that relies on preserving the source language features – such as sentence structure, vocabulary, certain grammatical features – in the target language. Although rendered into a different language, a foreignized text celebrates its foreignness by letting it permeate the fabric of the new translated product.   

A translation process that relies on localization, on the other hand, usually produces a text that seamlessly enters the target culture, reinvents itself, and claims the new literary ecosystem as its own.

Let’s take a newspaper article that needs to be translated from French into English as an example. A foreignized translation would feature words of the French origin rather than their English counterparts, longer sentences, idioms that might challenge the reader’s imagination, or French cultural phenomena. A localized translation, conversely, would follow the traditional English language newspaper style in terms of the syntax, vocabulary, and grammar.

As a translator working for one employer or a freelancer juggling multiple contracts, take some time to look into the benefits and shortfalls of the two approaches – and everything in between – and decide what technique suits you best.

1. Know thyself. Which side do you gravitate towards: localization or foreignization? Where do you stand in the debate on the approaches to translating a foreign text? Maybe you’re neither a die-hard localizer nor a devoted foreignizer but a translator who modifies their approach based on the context and audience? As you get a fuller grasp of translation studies and grow in your role, pick a side that aligns with your beliefs, experience,technical expertise and the shifting needs of your clients. Further, know the pros and cons for each approach according to the field you are working in - global business translation work tends to prefer localization whereas some literary translations can prefer to hold onto some of the original nature of the text. 

2. Know your text and audience. Spend just as much time studying your contract and the audience it’s intended for as you would deciding what kind of a translator you are. After all, everything that you produce has to satisfy your client and get the message across despite the inherent linguistic and cultural barriers. Ask your clients how they envision the translated text, how it will be used, who the target audience is, and if they have a preference for a translation method.

3.  Be vocal about your preferred approach. While taking note of your employer’s instructions, inform them of your standpoint, what you’ve learned through your experiences, and if you have a better solution for their project. As much as your client might know about translation, they hired you as an informed and trusted advisor.

The age-old debate around the approaches to translating a foreign text is not only pertinent to the theoretical field of translation studies, but also every translation job that comes your way. Picking a side – or sides – is essential for professional consistency and your reputation in the field. 

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NEW ATIA WEBINAR: Reading Comprehension Exam Prep

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*NEW* Reading Comprehension Examination Preparation  with Roula Salam

February 22, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  (part one)

February 23, 10:00 to 12:00 p.m.  (part two)

Cost: Each part is $40.00 (or you can purchase both for $70) Registration Deadline: February 19 (minimum number of participants is 14)

This webinar will help prepare you for the Language Proficiency Reading Comprehension Exam by focusing on important reading comprehension skills, such as skimming for main idea, scanning for information identifying textual structure, making inferences, evaluating a text, guessing meaning from context, timed reading, and more! 

We will focus on different skills in each webinar, and there will be practice exercises and homework as well. 

Roula Salam, PhD, CTr is a certified Arabic-English translator. She teaches English at the University of Alberta and is the Managing Partner of Words Without Borders Inc.

 

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Sidekick to your passions: why translation should be more than a job

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What drove you to become a translator? Love of languages? Passion for intercultural communication? Or maybe an inherent flair for sifting through synonyms and finding one that’s just right? For many of us, it’s the profession’s agility and vastness that are most alluring, rewarding, and unique: the ability to pair translation or interpreting up with any of your passions, vocations, hobbies, or areas of expertise.

Think of translation as a universal soldier - a multi-tool that is not only a fascinating and fast-evolving field in itself, but is also a match to your interests; a sidekick to your grand ideas; a lifetime supporter of whatever forces you out of bed in the morning.

Along with the usual pairings—technical translation, court interpreting, medical translation, and translation of fiction—what other domains could benefit from linguistic diversity? More importantly, how can translation complement and enhance your life outside work?

The path to finding how translation can serve you lies within. You have to ask yourself how the unique professional skills you’ve mastered over years translate into your life at large—and find your unique pairing.

What do you like most about translation or interpreting? Is it doing background research? Editing your first draft? Since both translation and interpreting involve multiple stages and rely on diverse skills, you might gravitate towards one facet of the profession over another. While you might not have the luxury of pushing aside your least favourite tasks in a work environment, if translation or interpreting is more than a means of bringing home the bacon, doing what you love leads to a much deeper fulfillment.

What are you passionate about outside of work? In other words, what would you do on a Saturday morning if you had nothing planned? Listen to your authentic self and take some time to ponder this question. Discovering what truly makes you happy—trends, peer pressure, and money aside—is instrumental to leading a happy life. Next step is prioritizing your hobbies to identify those you’re most keen on nurturing.

Find your unique mix. Now that you’ve taken some time to single out your biggest passions, pair them up with what you love about translation or interpreting. There can­­—and should be—an overlap between professional and personal lives, the middle ground that marries your vocation with hobbies, causes you support, ideas worth sharing. As a result of this unique mix bearing your name, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds—fueling your passions with your expertise in translation or interpreting.  

Among many perks of being a translator or interpreter, your ability to spread ideas across cultures and continents, educate, and shape the way we relate to each other will always apply to anything you do outside business hours. Are you passionate about hockey? Video games? Cooking? Start a bilingual blog where you share your favourite recipes; comment on the translation of video games; teach hockey terminology in your second language. When you use your skills as a translator or interpreter to give your hobbies a kick and your ideas a voice, you will create a greater level of satisfaction in what you do all while elevating your career and advancing your interests. 

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English Syntax Webinar Opportunities

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When should one sentence end and another begin? What kinds of transitions are needed to move logically from one sentence to another? What are the issues with faulty sentence parallelism and how can we avoid them? These are some of the topics we will explore in parts 1 and 2 of our webinar workshops. In Workshop 1, we will focus on issues related to sentence length, sentence splitting, and simple transitionary words and phrases. In Workshop 2 the focus will be on more complex transitions.

Participants must have a firm understanding of what makes a complete and grammatically correct English sentence in order to
participate meaningfully in each workshop. While it is not necessary to participate in both workshops, Workshop 2 builds on the material covered in Workshop 1. For this reason, it is recommended that participants choosing to enroll only in Workshop 2 have a strong foundation in English grammar in order to participate meaningfully.

Workshop 1
Saturday, February 2, 2019
From 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Workshop 2
Saturday, February 9, 2019
From 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Fees
One workshop: $75.00
Two workshops: $120.00
To register, please visit
wwborders.ca

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Court Interpreter Mini-Course - Calgary

These unique mini-courses are provided voluntarily by court judges, prosecutors, and lawyers. In these valuable sessions court interpreters can learn the vocabulary and procedures for court.

The lectures will take place several times year. The topic will be different each time, and will always relate to criminal law. After the lecture, there will be a Q&A session with the speakers.

Details and Registration Information

Date: February 7, 2019
Time: 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. (please arrive 15 minutes early to register)
Location: 20th Floor Conference Room, Calgary Court Centre, Calgary, Alberta

TOPIC: Indigenous Issues and Gladue Reports

We will be reviewing the Gladue process and recent developments on how the courts deal with aboriginal accused in the greater Calgary area.

As stated previously, these lectures will take place several times year.  The topic will be different each time, and will always relate to criminal law.

WHO: The Honorable Judges Brown, Rob Bassett (Crown), Kelsey Sitar (Defence), and Alan Pearse (Defence)

Having Judges, Prosecutors, and Defence Lawyers providing their time as volunteers is a great contribution to court interpreters. 

Cost: $15, cash only (exact change is appreciated)

A light lunch will be served and materials provided. Please arrive 15 minutes early to register at the door. If you register, please show up as expenses have been incurred and also you will be taking the place of another participant on waiting list who could not register as there is a limit of 35 participants.  See you there!

TO REGISTER contact Carmen Aguilera at antiguahousealberta@shaw.ca.

Space is limited to 35 participants, so register early!
Registration deadline: February 4 end of day

If you register, and are unable to attend please cancel your registration as lunch and materials are based on the number of attendees.


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5 Belated New Year’s resolutions, a translator’s edition

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While you might have already committed to crushing personal goals, there’s still time to shine light on your professional persona and zero in on the path you’d like to pave for yourself this year. No matter how many hours a week you dedicate to translation, setting the right goals will help you advance your career. Before jotting down what will be your game plan for the next 300 something days, look back and notice the direction you’ve chosen for yourself and your career, and map out a plan that will strengthen and challenge it.

As translators, not only are we striving for linguistic excellence, but we are also following the trends and rapid changes in this fast-evolving profession. Before settling on your goals, think deeply and look widely. Apart from building up your technical skills in translation, what other related areas can bolster your career? What habits and routines will not only make you excel in your field, but also stretch your thinking?

  1. Read more. In all the languages you understand. It goes without saying that reading is one of the most important contributors to a strong, rich, and versatile vocabulary. However, picking up a few thick books and setting a deadline to finish them might seem quiet daunting. Reading for 20 minutes every day sounds a lot more realistic. And if you’re looking for an extra challenge, pick books in different languages.
  2. Befriend like-minded people. And by like-minded we mean fellow translators. Resolve to expand your professional network and meet new people who are as devoted to translation and languages as you. Not only that but who also share similar values and work ethics. Although we often focus on the quantity of connections, finding the people who truly value you proves much more valuable.
  3. Invest in workshops, seminars, and mentoring opportunities. Translators can live in silos, secluded in their offices, away from the hustle and bustle of the outside life. As a result of this almost solitary lifestyle, they might miss out on exchanging ideas. This year, commit to attending a professional seminar or signing up for a mentorship opportunity. Most professional organizations host a plethora of events throughout the year or even offer mentorship programs.
  4. Explore creative ways to use your skills. Challenge yourself to go beyond your regular contracts and jobs. How else can you put your technical skills to good use? Think of marrying your passions and hobbies with the expertise you developed as a translator. Are you passionate about technology? Why not running a blog about translating terminology in your field?
  5. Volunteer. Give back to the community. Pass on your passions. Share your talents. Find meaningful and rewarding ways to use your translation skills. Apart from volunteering as a translator, there are many other avenues you could explore as a fluent speaker of at least two languages: teaching foreign languages or poetry, bilingual art programs, and writing.

As you iron out your commitments, make sure they truly speak to you. Even if your professional path might seem murky, look back at the decisions you made in the past, your priorities, and lessons learned—they will help shed light on where you’re headed. 

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On the translator’s (in)visibility

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A translated text is often structured as a cake – a dash of source language features, a handful of editor’s comments all layered on top of the message you’re trying to get across. Should the translator’s voice be added to the mix?

The role of translator in the process of rendering a text into a different language remains a hot topic in the theory and practice of translation. While a translator’s scope of responsibilities might be well-defined, the depth of their involvement in the project and the magnitude of their impact on the final text remain vague.

For a long time, translators were overshadowed by the fruits of their labour – words they crafted, cultural connections they nurtured, ideas they helped spread across the globe. Even now these humble wordsmiths often remain invisible behind their work, succumbing to the power of the text and the language system it belongs to. How many of you can name the translator of your beloved foreign text? Did you notice that the text was borrowed from a different literary tradition? Chances are, unless you take a keen interest in translation, you’ll remember words that beautifully flow in sentences rather than the translator who brought them to you.

In terms of translation, invisibility stands for following the translation canon, adapting to the target culture rules, and diluting the foreign flavour of a text. This often results in a foreign text being digested as native to the culture it has entered thanks to translation. For translators, invisibility means that their role in enabling the exchange of ideas is suppressed, along with their political or social standpoint as they attempt to meet the professional expectations. 

Text’s visibility centres around recognizing its heritage and original environment.  In a way, a ‘visible’ approach to translation undermines the flow of the translated text, challenges the established traditions in the receiving culture, and shines a light on the translator’s contributions.  A ‘visible’ translator has more freedom to let their opinion and beliefs seep through their work. In practical terms, translator’s visibility is associated with more creativity, freedom to revisit the canon and innovate the field. A translated text’s invisibility, on the other hand, with well-established traditions, norms, and rules.

As a translator, you’ll come across projects of various genres and formats along your career path. Some of them might require a more ‘invisible’ approach; others, on the other hand, may offer room for innovation. Your job as a professional is to tell them apart. Don’t be afraid to voice your position to clients and suggest new approaches to handling a foreign text. As you grow in the profession, strive to develop a diverse skillset that would allow you to take on projects that prioritize a smooth transition into the target culture as well as those that value your input and creativity. Translation as a process of sharing ideas, cultures, and beliefs can take various forms – be informed about your options, know the current trends, be honest with your clients, and respect your opinion.

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Community Event for Translators in Calgary

"Myriad Translations: Giving Stories New Life through Alternative Forms"

Featuring: Cheryl Foggo, Gilles Mossière, Fred Stenson, Gisèle Villeneuve in conversation with Susan Ouriou.


Thursday, January 24, 7-9 p.m, Rose & Crown Pub (3rd floor) , 1503 4 St SW, Calgary


Guests are welcome to arrive anytime after 6:00 p.m. to settle in, enjoy dinner and socialize. Thursdays are ½ price bottle of wine night at the Rose—Santé! We all know that great works of literature have been translated into other languages around the world, but how often do we talk about the creative process of actually giving these works new life through translation, or of adapting fiction or nonfiction for the stage, screen or short film? Join us for an intimate conversation around creativity, vision, adaptation—and how the essence, intent and magic of our narratives can be interpreted through myriad translations.

This panel discussion is presented by the Writers Guild of Alberta (WGA) and the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada (LTAC) with additional support from RAFA (Regroupement Artistique Francophone de L’Alberta) 

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Five essential skills to help forge a successful career in translation

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You might be a word nerd, a polyglot, or a self-proclaimed linguist – does this mean you were born a translator? Nurturing the passion for languages and translation along with developing the required technical skills lay the foundation for a potential career in translation. Strengthening certain personality traits and forming the right habits are just as important. Talent alone won’t sustain you through the ups and downs of the business, pages of monotonous texts, memorizing terminology, or dealing with pesky clients. Your innate aptitude for languages needs strong companions to transform a gift into a rewarding career in translation.

Patience. There’s nothing more daunting than an 80-page technical specification. Filled with terms and formulas only engineers can decipher, the document might not be your first choice of a book. Yet it ended up in your inbox awaiting your time, brain energy, and words. Translation is not always about high-flown lexicon and elegant sentence structures; oftentimes, the source texts you’ll be getting from clients will be dry, complex, technical, or incomprehensible. Unless you hand-pick projects to take on, you need to build up your patience to power through pages of jargon you’d never use outside your work!

A patient translator practices self-patience: rather than giving up or flipping out every time you can’t find the right translation of a term, give yourself another chance. Slow down and let your brain do its magic.

Creativity. Language can be a great means for creative expression. Rich and diverse, organized and agile, language offers all the right elements to put your thoughts on paper, the right way. The real challenge many translators face is not feeding creative juices when working on a poem or novel, but finding creativity in the mundane: a legal document, a scholarly article, the infamous technical specification. Even in times of regulations, amendments, and guidelines, find room for creativity in your choice of words. Think of new ways to translate similar sentences, research synonyms or idioms to expand your linguistic repertoire.

Precision. Also known as language surgeons, translators pick texts apart, channel them through their brains, and puzzle the pieces back together to convey the exact meaning of the source text in a new language. Strive for precision when transforming a text or selecting a verb among various synonyms; when looking for a corresponding expression or idiom in the target language; when deciding on a language structure.

Curiosity. There’s always something to learn from the texts your clients send you. Find one (or more) things that you love about law or business, medicine or engineering. Immerse yourself in the text, look beyond the language, and absorb new information. As a translator, you’re probably consumed by the intricacies of your language pair, leaving behind everything and anything that won’t help you deliver a high-quality product. While playing with language might be your bread and butter, don’t turn a blind eye to new information that your clients graciously present to you.

Optimism. As with anything in life, positive disposition can brighten gloomy days and bring joy to any text you’re translating. Remember, even the longest technical specification has an end and take pride in having seen all of your contracts to fruition!

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Translating Revolutions: The Activist Translator! (Guest Blog)

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Revolutions have always been central in shaping and determining the course of human history. The concept itself refers to radical, transformative changes which denote several phenomena from the “industrial revolution”, the “sexual revolution”, to more contemporary revolutions that spark off fundamental political/institutional changes (e.g. The Bolshevik Revolution) and promote universal values such as democracy, human rights, real citizenship, emancipation, equality, and justice (e.g. The Arab Spring). Revolutions are theorized, led, and performed through language which is the vehicle of the people’s aspirations and demands. Thus, as Umberto Eco asserts, revolutions can be looked at as “open texts at the literal and semiotic levels” that can, through translation, cross transnational borders and mobilize any populace in the world. Just as contemporary revolutions and uprisings continue to unfold acquire new meanings and significations, so too does the role of translators and interpreters.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, translation research started to take a new path, which is marked by activism and engagement. The invention of the internet, the new technological developments in communication and digital materials, and the rise of cyber activism, have spawn a new dimension of translation called "the activist turn" (Wolf 129). It postulates that translators are not mere linguistic and cultural intermediaries, but rather individuals committed to human causes and agents of resistance and emancipation. In other words, translation is not merely about transferring words from one language to another and examining whether a translation is faithful or not. Instead, the focus is on the social, cultural, political, and ideological factors that inform and shape the translators' choices. Particularly, it is on the politics of translation as well as the visibility/agency of translators.

Interestingly, translation has become a medium for expressing dissent. In fact, translators have used their multi linguistic knowledge to empower voices that have been not heard. In his book, Challenging Codes: Collective Action in the Information Age, Italian sociologist Alberto Melucci argues that language and translation constitute a space of resistance, a means of reversing the symbolic order. In the same vein, Mona Baker, a professor of Translation Studies at the University of Manchester, adds in her article Translation as an Alternative Space for Political Action that translators “have broken away from a long tradition of positioning themselves purely as neutral, unengaged professionals who stand in some ‘liminal’ space between cultures and political divides”. Thus, individuals who translate texts and utterances cannot be neutral and apolitical, but rather they do take sides and influence the outcome of the mediation by constructing new realities and identities.

Historically, translation played a crucial role during the emancipation movements that began in the late 18th century in Latin America. Georges L. Bastin, Alvaro Echeverri and Angela Campo claim that “translators, like other actors in history, do not function in a vacuum; rather they are social beings and as such espouse ideologies and identities that are particular to their social contexts.” Among the cases that are worth mentioning, there is Antonio Narino who translated the 1789 La declaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen to Spanish and Juan Picornell who translated to Spanish Lettres aux Espagnols americains, written originally by the Peruvian Jesuit Juan Pablo Viscardo. One cannot also ignore the Spanish translations of the United States Declaration of independence and the constitution of the USA. Published between 1789 and 1812, these translations are among the central components of the ideological cornerstone of emancipation in Latin America.

In the Middle East and during the wave of revolutions that shook the region, translation has operated as the gateway through which the masses propagated their revolutionary narratives to people all over the world. For instance, Revolutionary Arab Rap (http://revolutionaryarabrap.blogspot.ca/) is a blog that comprises numerous translated musical productions mainly rap and hip-hop by male and female artists from the countries that witnessed the Arab Spring. The blog translatingrev.wordpress.com is a platform where students from the American University of Cairo contributed to the translation of chants, signs, banners, jokes, interviews and poems produced in Tahrir Square. Moreover, translators were engaged in the documentation and archiving of the Egyptian revolution by creating websites and blogs such as http://www.tahrirdocuments.org... site. Materials are collected from demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and published in complete English translation alongside scans of the original documents. Subtitling videos of the Egyptian revolution was another area of engagement. As a matter of fact, non-profit media collective known as “Mosireen” played a pivotal role in providing subtitles to videos of demonstrations and sit-ins. By doing that, it has created a digital space not only to support citizen media but also to circumvent the narrative of the government through translating the events for a wider audience. In this regard, translation becomes the link that enables activists to connect with protest movements abroad. Hence, translation is a political act and represents a key element of the revolutionary project.

Translation has been and will remain a catalyst for sociopolitical change. It may be argued that its supposed neutrality is pure fiction as translators, and throughout history, have promoted a wide variety of agendas from Saint Jerome’s commitment to women’s education to translator’s participations in social movements and revolutions. Salah Baslamah, a professor at the University of Ottawa, has developed a new vision of translation and translation called "Citizen Translation". This vision highlights the need to promote the translator's visibility and socio-political commitment. Nevertheless, the question that will keep spilling a lot of ink: how can translators be engaged in their communities while at the same time remaining faithful to the original texts?

Houssem Ben Lazreg

Houssem Ben Lazreg is currently a Ph. D. candidate, a freelance translator/interpreter, and a teaching assistant of Arabic/ French in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. He was a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant of Arabic at Michigan State University from 2010–2011. He holds a Masters Degree in TESOL from Nazareth College of Rochester.

 

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How to choose a translator or interpreter for life

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Let’s be honest – a professional interpreter who knows the topic of your conference as much as you do is hard to find. An interpreter who thinks on their feet and doesn’t lose their cool when discussions start to heat up, or a translator capable of digesting your technical report can be your business supporters for life.

1) Chose a certified translator over a professional with a degree in languages. Although fluency in at least two languages is a must when it comes to translation and interpreting, there is more to the profession than language proficiency. Professional translators undergo specialized training that covers topics such as ethics, different approaches to translation based on the source text, localization and domestication, and untranslatability, along with other notions pertinent to translation studies. Linguistics is usually a heavy component of a translator’s and interpreter’s training; however, what really sets them apart from foreign language students is hands-on skills tackling various topics and genres of text.

This is especially true for interpreters as their craft requires a very unique skillset: the ability to grasp a foreign text and translate it into a different language, to rearrange sentences and juggle words all while staying on topic and on time.

2)  Pick someone with translation or interpreting experience in your field. Even better, a translator or interpreter who’s also familiar with adjacent topics. The more exposure they get to the jargon and set expressions used in your area, the more efficient and accurate they will be working with you.

If you can, request a few samples of previous work or a list references – chances are, your potential translator is storing, in hard copies or electronically, files and projects they delivered for other portfolios. When reviewing work samples, zero in on flow and precision: do the chosen words convey the intended meaning and how well do they go together?

3) Try to connect with a potential candidate beforehand. A true connection and mutual understanding are hard to beat. Working with someone you click with energizes your routine and adds more flavour to the work you do. Finding your translator or interpreter goes beyond experience and certification; it’s a feeling of trust and compatibility, topped off with a strong skillset. When it comes to interpreting, building rapport and trust will alleviate any work-related tensions and elevate the overall quality of the assignment.

3) If you can, provide the translator with as much background information as possible. Who is your target audience and what do they expect from you – and the translator or interpreter? Is there a sample document they can review? Do you have a list of specific terms and expressions that will most likely be used in a meeting or conference? Any particular jargon only you and your clients use?

4) Upon completion of the project, follow up with the translator. Whether you’re happy with the service or not, let the translator or interpreter know how they did, what you liked about the service and what they could potentially improve on for future. Just like in any relationship – professional and personal – honesty is the best policy. 

 

 

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​Tips for building a successful freelance career in translation and interpretation​

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Whether freelancing is your full-time job or a side hustle, it takes more than just time to build up a network of clients, partners, and contacts. Working as a freelance translator or interpreter can be extremely rewarding – from cherry-picking the projects you take on to working at your own pace and building stronger relationships with clients. A freelance translation job can expand your expertise and open the door to new markets and experiences, not to mention the potential income.

At the same time, freelancing can sometimes spell financial instability, irregular hours, and a fluctuating workload. Therefore, before your freelance life starts spinning out of control, review our tips and tricks to stay on track and thrive.

Become an expert in your field. Be it court interpretation or medical translation, it is imperative that you master the ins and outs of your field. Learn the specific terminology and know the minute differences between synonyms. Apart from that, what can really help you stand out from the competition is an insightful and comprehensive grasp of your focus area. Be the translator or interpreter who goes beyond the realm of the language and context and can enjoy educated conversations with the lawyers, doctors, and social workers they work for.

Stay open to new up-and-coming trends. Staying current in your field and constantly honing your skills shouldn’t get in the way of exploring adjacent areas. If you focus on legal translation and court interpretation, why not read up on business and management? While it might not be realistic to branch out to a completely foreign territory, identifying the areas that you can build on with your existing knowledge will diversify your linguistic repertoire and clientele.

Let your talent shine. From social media to a personal blog, workshops, conferences, journal papers, presentations, and educational sessions, the avenues for revealing your passions abound. Do you specialize in interpreting at agricultural conferences? Share the hardest terms you’ve encountered or tips for taming interpretation nerves.

Another great way to pass your experience on to fellow translators or interpreters is by joining a professional organization or association such as ATIA. Not only do we run conferences and workshops, but we also offer mentorship opportunities so you can contribute your expertise to others in the field.

Go an extra mile for your clients. Don’t just send off another assignment or project: build relationships with your clients, anticipate their needs, and find out how else you can make their lives easier. Although you will most likely juggle multiple projects and aggressive deadlines, don’t just wall yourself off from the world. Take the time to get to know your clients. Use translation and interpreting to learn about their business, services, competition, and clients.

Follow the market. The demand for translators and interpreters has constantly been in flux – the top fields for translation and interpreting of today might succumb to nascent new areas of tomorrow. Stay abreast of the news and updates pertinent to your field, sign up for newsletters, attend conferences and workshops to better plan your career trajectory. Keep an eye out for emerging new industries that might need your services and develop the skills to match their needs.


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On Globalization and Translation

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What are the roles of translators and interpreters in a highly globalized, multilingual, and interconnected world? When every second citizen in a big city claims to be fluent in more than one language, what can we (passionate language lovers and professional translators) offer? Globalization: is it a threat for many of us who rely on linguistic differences and communication barriers?

When you think of globalization, the first image that might pop into your head is a developed urban metropolis with unobstructed access to international media, education, contemporary culture and fashion. These industries offer a vibrant collage of words, terms, concepts that have conquered various continents and many hearts. As a result of this rapid spread of ideas, many of us know a phrase or two in a foreign language. However, the depths of our knowledge often ends with a refrain of a favourite song in Chinese or a business buzzword in a French newspaper.  

Even if the number of multilingual speakers is increasing due to open access to information across the world, very rarely do they have a firm grasp of a foreign language. And only few of those who are, in fact, completely multilingual, can translate.

The art of translation - although rooted in the love for languages and communication – requires a unique set of skills and specialized knowledge to grow into profession. These skills are hard to master without a dedicated interest in translation studies.

How can translators benefit from a globalized world?

Quality over quantity. When everyone around you claims to speak more than one language, be someone who is flawlessly fluent, who chooses their words with care and consideration. Globalization did open doors to new concepts and ideas, but only to a fraction of them: oftentimes, we are only exposed to one variant of a foreign language, or, perhaps, one industry.

As a translator, strive to see the bigger picture of a language and enjoy its richness in full. Read voraciously and don’t shy away from new genres and authors to expand your expertise. A good way to get ahead of the curve is by exploring new emerging fields.

Let’s be analytical about it. Since the the end of the Second World War, globalization has evolved through many stages. What is it going to look like tomorrow? Coming to grips with globalization in its current state and knowing its features is key to pinpointing the social and language gaps we’ve been facing. Most importantly, if you’re aware of the current social and political environment, it will be easier to predict which direction your profession might take.

Match your skills with the demand. Globalization is not your enemy – make an effort to understand it and the multilingual friends around you. What services do they need? How can you help our globalized world communicate better? Taking advantage of globalization means that you might need to re-evaluate your translation skill set and pick up new skills that address today’s needs and prepare your for the translation gaps of tomorrow.     

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Setting Up for Success: How to work with a translator

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So, you’ve evaluated your translation needs, made a search on the ATIA membership directory or connected with a good translation agency, and assessed your candidate’s qualifications to find someone professional, trained, and deeply experienced in the exact area of translation that you need. Now, how do you optimize your working relationship with this translator?

Good communication is key to any working relationship. Provide a detailed description of the services you need and a clear outline of requirements and deliverables. With a comprehensive understanding of the nature and complexity of the project, the translator will be able to not only provide you with a more accurate picture of cost and delivery time, but also flag any potential challenges or stumbling blocks.

It is important for both client and translator to set clear, agreed upon terms and conditions from the beginning. When agreeing to hire a translator, make sure that you have the answers to the following questions:

How does the translator charge? You’ve probably already considered how much the translator charges, but make sure you understand how he or she charges – per page, per target word or per source word? If the translator charges per source word, the cost will be based on the number of words in the document you provide. If the charge is based on the number of target words, or the words in the translated document, the final cost will vary depending on whether the target language tends to use more or fewer words than the source language.

Does the translator include revisions in their cost estimate? If so, how many and with what turnaround time? Revisions and comments are an expected part of any writing project, so it is best to make clear and agreed upon arrangements in advance about how comments and revisions will be handled.

What file format will the completed translation be provided in? Make sure that the translator knows how to provide the finished work to best suit your needs.

What are the translator’s confidentiality policies and practices? Translation agencies will have their own confidentiality policies in place, but a freelance translator may not. Note that all ATIA members are bound by a Code of Ethics that protects your confidentiality. When in doubt, ask for an ATIA-Certified Translator.  

Ask about discounts for large volume jobs, redundant translations or not-for-profit clients. Not all translators will provide discounts, but it is worth making inquiries about discounts at the outset of a project rather than during the course of the work or after receiving an invoice.

And finally, make sure you understand the terms of conditions of payment and pay your invoice in a timely manner!

Establishing a clear understanding of your project’s priorities and needs and your translator’s practices at the outset of the project is the best way to set yourself up for a successful working relationship!

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ATIA Winter 2018 Social Events in Edmonton & Calgary

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Winter social season is upon us and the Association of Translators and Interpreters is hosting a members-only event in Edmonton at Co Co Di Mediterranean restaurant (11454 Jasper Avenue) at 6:00pm on Saturday November 24, 2018.
Meet and network with other ATIA members, enjoy a delicious meal (pay your own way) and entertainment, and partake in great conversation with your peers!

To RSVP, email the Development Coordinator, Nakita Valerio by November 17, 2018 (development@atia.ab.ca)

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Winter social season is upon us and the Association of Translators and Interpreters is hosting a members-only event in Calgary at Anatolia Turkish restaurant (237 8 Avenue SE) at 6:00pm on Saturday December 1, 2018.

Meet and network with other ATIA members, enjoy a delicious meal (pay your own way) and entertainment, and partake in great conversation with your peers!

To RSVP, email the Development Coordinator, Nakita Valerio by November 25, 2018 (development@atia.ab.ca)

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The Right Person for the Job: Choosing a Translator

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A quick search online for any given language pairing could bring up pages and pages of translators working all over the world. How do you sort the true professionals from the crowd? How do you make sure that you will get the product you need? Choosing the right translator for a job can seem overwhelming at first, but there are some steps you can take to simplify the process and make a hiring decision with confidence. 

Evaluate the nature of your project and identify its needs. What is the content that you need translated, and who is your target audience? You wouldn’t hire a technical writer who is proficient in writing software manuals to write snappy social media content. Like any other kind of writing, translation requires a sensitivity to the connotations and nuance of language, and some translators will be more experienced and adept at translating certain types of content than others. 

Also determine whether your document is required to be translated by a Certified Translator, such as a passport, birth certificate or marriage certificate, and whether it needs to be notarized. 


Consider your resources. What information and resources can you provide your translator to support them in delivering the product that you need? Previously translated materials can provide a sense of tone, style, and vocabulary. A style guide or glossary can provide a set of standards and preferred vocabulary.

Consider how you will evaluate the quality of the translation upon completion. This is a unique challenge of hiring translation services. If you need to hire a translator, you are probably in a poor position to assess the work of that translator. Before hiring a translator, find out whether they include proofreading by a second translator in the cost of their services and, if not, consider finding a second translator to provide proofreading services.

Narrow your options by using a professional association’s directory or by working with a reputable Language Services Provider. Professional associations such as the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) have membership requirements such as a Code of Ethics and Certification exams that guarantee a level of training, experience and professionalism.

A good Language Service Provider (LSP) will act as an intermediary and match you with a translator suited to your project. They will charge a fee over the translator’s payment. Bear in mind, however, that some agencies do not necessarily work with Certified Translators so ask for an ATIA-Certified Translator to ensure quality and confidentiality.

Examine your candidates’ qualifications. Making your search through a professional association’s membership directory will connect you with professionals bound by a Code of Ethics and subject to standardized membership requirements. Beyond those credentials, also consider whether someone is a native speaker in the target language, what formal training they have as a translator, and perhaps most importantly, how experienced they are. Of course, credentials and greater experience will be reflected in a translator’s rates.

As was mentioned previously, it is important to consider the nature of the text that you need translated. It is important to not just consider how much experience a translator has, but what type of experience. Look for translators with experience in the area of your project, whether that is literature, legal documents, marketing content or technical documents. They will be familiar with the appropriate tone and style and the required vocabulary. 

Taking these steps will ensure that you have a good understanding of your own project, as well as an understanding of the translation services available to you. This will empower you to confidently select the right person for the job.

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Are You Cut Out to Work as an Interpreter? Six key traits of professional interpreters

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Are you a bilingual or multi-lingual individual thinking about putting your language knowledge to work? Perhaps already working as a translator and looking to branch out? Interpretation is rewarding work, but knowledge of languages is only a starting point for success in the field. Do you have several of these six traits of successful and fulfilled professional interpreters? You might be cut out for a career as an interpreter! 

Good listener. The ability to speak fluently in multiple languages is, of course key, but more than half your time as an interpreter will actually be spent listening! Interpretation requires focused, attentive listening, often for long periods of time. Your client is depending on you to capture every detail and aspect of an interaction and to convey their meaning accurately, so it is important to be fully attentive to all parties. In addition to the very focused listening required while interpreting in the moment, at the outset of any job you will have to listen to your clients and make sure that you have a clear understanding of their needs and of the situation that you will be entering as their interpreter.

Ability to multitask. Interpretation requires a very particular type of fast paced, mental multi-tasking. Interpreters have to watch and listen (often while taking notes), absorb the meaning of what was said, as well as non-verbal cues, mentally translate the meaning, and then speak clearly and fluently. It is a rapid process, and the interpreter must also be able to easily alternate between translating and speaking both languages.

People skills. While translation can be a solitary, cerebral occupation, interpretation is a highly person-oriented occupation. Good interpreters are not just attentive, focused listeners, they are compassionate and patient listeners. They have the ability to connect with people and establish trust, sometimes under very difficult circumstances such as a medical appointment or court appearance.

Cultural competence. Communication involves much more than spoken language. Non-verbal cues inflect the meaning of the words that we choose, and make up a significant component of how we make ourselves understood. Like words, expressions and gestures vary across culture. An interpreter should have sufficient fluency in both cultures to interpret non-verbal cues. Understanding of cultural norms and expectations is also important to understanding both parties and helping to navigate misunderstandings that go beyond language.

Specialty knowledge (or the motivation to acquire it). Interpreters work in many different areas of specialization, such as community, medical, court or conference interpretation. Each of these areas has its own sets of technical vocabulary and cultural norms that must be mastered not just in one language, but both. If you have existing knowledge of the court system, for example, this is an advantage to becoming a court interpreter. What is more important, however, is the motivation and passion to do the additional learning required to master a specialization.

Emotional resilience. As an interpreter, you will be doing highly demanding work. This is what makes interpretation rewarding. But, you may also find yourself in emotionally difficult situations, such as having to interpret bad news from a doctor, or supporting someone in the legal system, or in the middle of a conflict. While good interpreters are compassionate, they must also be able to maintain boundaries. It is important to be able to sustain your own mental and emotional well-being, as well as your professionalism and dedication.

Does this sound like you? Do the challenges and demands of interpretation sound engaging and rewarding? Then interpretation might be your best next career move!                                                                        

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Celebrating Translation Day: Remembering What Translation Means

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Did you know that September 30, 2018 is International Translation Day? Translation Day started in 1953 and was set on the Catholic feast day of St. Jerome - the original biblical translator! In 1991, the day was made officially global by FIT (the International Federation of Translators) and it wasn't until May 24, 2017 that the United Nations officially passed a resolution recognizing the day as proposed by eleven different member nations: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Paraguay, Qatar, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Vietnam! A true cause to celebrate for translators all over the globe!

As a member of FIT and a professional organization devoted to certifying translators and interpreters in the province of Alberta, we are spending the day reflecting on the profession and what it means to all of us. Share your thoughts with us too!

Translation connects people. The first thing people think of when it comes to translation is that it connects people who do not read and write in the same language, and it facilitates the sharing of ideas and stories that would otherwise not be shared across the world. Translation gets to the heart of our humanity. As language-immersed beings, we interpret our world through the languages we speak and the words we label things with. Translation gives us some access to those ways of being in the world and gives host to a cache of narratives and histories we otherwise would fail to be enriched by.

Translation thrives on diversity. Similar to the connection piece, translation, by definition, thrives on the unwavering diversity that is humankind. Without this exceptional celebration of difference, translation would be a moot point. When we seek to translate, we accept people and their cultures as they are and we are striving to know more about them on their terms and in their terms – literally!

Translation facilitates justice. There is no justice if the person who requires access to it is inhibited due to language barriers. Translation allows for full access to due process because it allows individuals to tell the stories that have so deeply affected their lives. It allows them to hear and be heard.

Translation builds community. If you can communicate with people, you can join forces with them. Translation allows for the building of community by creating sharing experiences. It is this experiential aspect that brings people together.

Translation sparks innovation. All the way through human history, the translation of texts and information have allowed human beings to combine and innovate to create new knowledge, information and technology. As an example, without translation into Arabic, the great Greek philosophies might be lost to history.

Translation saves lives. Not only does translation give people access to adequate medical care in certain circumstances which can save their life, there are a multitude of other ways that translation can save lives. It could be in the sharing of medical research information about life-saving vaccines or pharmaceuticals; it could be in the sharing of agricultural information that will allow for the better growing of food with which to feed people; it could be the sharing of information related to a particular regional conflict that might have consequences for building peace.

Ultimately, with hundreds of global languages and billions of people, it is inevitable that we will need to communicate and the only way to facilitate this is the hard work of translators like our members every single day. Happy Translation Day everyone!

 

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Making Quality Interpreting Services Easier to Access: Interview with Mayagwe Director Bill Dodd

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This month, ATIA sat down with Mayagwe founder and director Bill Dodd to talk about how the platform is revolutionizing access to professional interpreters. With numerous ATIA members represented on the tech platform, Mayagwe represents the way of the future for clients to connect with certified interpreters and procure their services. 

What is Mayagwe?

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Mayagwe is a software application that connects clients who need the assistance of language interpreters and professional language interpreters looking for job opportunities. Currently the way clients access interpreters is that they have to contact a company and submit a form. They get an invoice and have to pay a company who then has to issue payment to an interpreter. Mayagwe eliminates the middle person and clients are connected directly to interpreters who are independent contractors. It’s like the difference between taxi cab companies and Uber. The utilization of technology makes the system much faster, more efficient, and more cost effective. There is a reason “Uber” or similar apps like “Skip the Dishes” are is taking over from the traditional methods of doing business. Mayagwe is doing the same for the interpretation sector.

What does the name mean?

Mayagwe is an Ojibway word meaning “he or she who speaks a strange language”. Mayagwe is a Canadian company and nothing could be more Canadian than honouring an Indigenous language in the name of a language company.

Where did you get the idea for starting this organization?

When I was a member of the Calgary Police Service, an incident occurred where investigators required a language interpreter ASAP. A person had been detained in relation to a bomb threat at the Calgary Provincial Court building. As a result, the court building and surrounding area had to be evacuated, displacing thousands of people and tying up multiple police resources for hours. It took over 5 hours to find an interpreter so that the situation could be resolved. This exposed the inadequacies of the current methods of finding qualified language interpreters. The Chief of Police at the time tasked me with finding a solution to this issue. As a result, I discovered that the Calgary Police Service was not unique. No other police service or other organization in the country had an effective system for accessing in-person language interpreters. As a result of funding and contributions from the Calgary Police Service, Alberta Health Services, and the Calgary Foundation, Mayagwe was born and a custom-made software application developed in Calgary was created to address this need. What use to take multiple hours (like the court house incident), or sometimes even multiple days, can now be handled in literally minutes. 

Creating a system that makes using interpreters was not easy. Many problems needed to be overcome, including issues around what constituted a “professional” interpreter, favoritism, a lack of transparency, a lack of cooperation between agencies competing for government funding, siloing of resources, exploitation of new immigrants or as some immigrant service agencies like to call them “volunteers” etc. Mayagwe addresses these issues by creating a democratic and transparent system that protects the needs of clients requiring language assistance and the needs of interpreters providing that assistance. Language assistance is a professional service where people need to be treated fairly.  

There was also the issue of out sourcing of  interpretation services, meaning either over the phone interpretation or in-person interpretation. Because of the arduous old process of contacting many “interpreter providers” who don’t cooperate with each other and don’t share their “interpreter lists,”  big clients such as Alberta Health Services began to outsource thousands and thousands of tax payer dollars to foreign companies - money and resources that could instead stay here in Alberta and support the local economy while creating good paying jobs. Everyone who uses an interpreter agrees that in-person interpretation provides better outcomes and the research also support it. The justification for over the phone is that it is more convenient and less expensive. Although there are times where over the phone may be a better option, with the Mayagwe system, we are demonstrating that using an in-person interpreter can be just as easy, and as cost effective as other options. 

What's your background?

My background is that I was born and raised in Calgary and am a unilingual English speaker so it may seem odd for me to be working in a company that is all about other languages, but I don’t think it is at all. I became a police officer because I wanted to help people and make a difference in my community and I truly admire those who can communicate in multiple languages. (they are so much smarter than me). Mayagwe is a way to continue to contribute to my community.  

How did you get into this?

During my work I saw that language can be a huge barrier to providing critical services to under-served Calgarians. I met many people in our community who also wanted to help and who had the languages skills that could make a difference. One powerful example of this occurred a few years ago. The Calgary Police Service has a team who assist victims of crime called the Victims Assistance Unit or VAU. The members of this team contact Calgarians who have been the victim of a crime and offers assistance. This team does absolutely fantastic work on a daily basis and one of the people who has worked on this team is a wonderful woman named Amina.  Not only is Amina a terrifically smart and empathetic person, she also has the added ability to converse in multiple languages. A few years ago a situation occurred  where a woman who had recently come to Canada was the victim of a terrible crime, and the police were needed. The officers who attended to her did their best,  got her to place of safety and filed a report. By chance Amina was the person from VAU who got the file and contacted this women offering assistance. During the conversation Amina recognized that she spoke the same language as the victim. Once they could fully converse it became clear that so much more had happened than the initial investigating officers had been able to determine. The victim was able to tell her whole story which was so much more complicated. As a result, more appropriate and much more serious criminal charges could be brought against the perpetrator of this crime. Amina was able to help this person navigate an unfamiliar system, help with her family situation, her immigration situation and so forth. It is a long story and brings people to tears when they hear it, but it is no exaggeration to say that Amina’s intervention and her ability to communicate fully with the victim literally saved this person's life (the victim's own words). Unfortunately many people still fall through the cracks and even though there are many examples like this, leadership of critical social serving agencies such as the police still do not provide their front line workers with the tools they need to provide the best service possible. We hope to help fill some of those cracks. 

What are the principles and vision behind what you do?

Mayagwe is a nonprofit whose vision is to make language assistance as efficient as possible to anyone who requires it, create good paying local jobs and contribute to a better quality of life for everyone in our community. 

What are the benefits for participating Interpreters?

  • Provides fairness and equal access to job opportunities.
  • Provides employment opportunities with maximum flexibility for participation.
  • Provides business experience as independent business operators.
  • Provides connection and understanding of social serving agencies, reducing any stigma which may exist about the roles of these agencies.
  • Eliminates favoritism or cronyism in offering employment opportunities to a select few.
  • Recognizes interpretation as a professional service.
  • Quick direct payment for service. 

What are the benefits for Client Agencies?

  • Direct access to trained interpreters.
  • Maximum flexibility in scheduling, from immediate requests to long-term scheduling.
  • Ability to set criteria for interpreters unique to each organization.
  • Ability to customize interpreter requests.
  • Assurance of accreditation standards.
  • Cost-effectiveness by only paying for services provided.
  • Providing connection to people in the communities they serve.
  • Reducing risk of miscommunication and improper service.
  • Demonstrating commitment to inclusiveness. 

What is a good story you have heard in relation to Mayagwe that you would like to share?

A good story about Mayagwe is that more and more people are recognizing the positive social impact this can have in our communities. A good example is the Canadian Western Bank who has recognized the positive social impact this will have in communities in which it operates and has provided generous financial assistance to help expand this service to Edmonton.  

What is the future of Mayagwe?

The Mayagwe application is unique in Canada and plans to expand this service to social serving agencies across the country.

What's one thing you would like interpreters to know?

If you are providing Interpretation services, you need to make certain that they are covered by professional liability insurance. If you are being contracted through a company or social serving agency to do this work, ask them to provide you the details of that insurance policy such as: the policy details, policy number, coverage amount etc. If you do not, you are potentially exposing yourself to personal risk of a lawsuit.  

To join the database of interpreters on the Mayagwe system, just go to www.mayagwe.com and follow the easy steps detailed there

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Strength in Numbers: How joining a professional association benefits you, your clients and your field

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Are you looking to establish and build a new career as a translator or interpreter or are you an already an established professional looking for ways to continue your professional development? Interested in becoming more actively engaged in your chosen field of translation or interpretation? Membership in a professional association has numerous benefits for both early career translators and interpreters and more seasoned professionals. 

Some of the benefits of joining a professional association are practical and tangible. A professional association is a trusted source for clients seeking translators and interpreters, so being included in a respected association’s directory will make it easy for prospective clients to find you. Membership, whether at an associate or certified level, also designates you as a professional in your field. This indicates to prospective clients and employers that you have a certain level of experience and training. ATIA members undergo an application and certification process tailored to their specialization. There are five categories of ATIA membership: Translator, Court Interpreter, Community Interpreter, Medical Interpreter, and Conference Interpreter, and members may attain certification in multiple categories. 

In addition to standardized membership requirements and certification, many associations offer professional development opportunities and resources such as seminars and webinars. ATIA has offered webinars in topics ranging from exam preparation, to how to freelance as a translator, to elevating your English grammar skills, as well as mini-courses on different specializations within the field of translation and interpretation. 

Other advantages of involvement in a professional association, such as collegiality and a deeper engagement with your chosen field, are less tangible but are still important to developing a successful and rewarding career. For younger professionals, joining an organization opens opportunities to network, learn their new industry, and access a degree of professionalization while building early career experience. It is often recent graduates and new professionals who are most likely to seek and utilize networking opportunities, but experienced professionals should not underestimate the importance of collegiality and connection. Participating in a professional association is a way to maintain and develop professional connections and to stay in touch with industry developments and news. Ongoing learning and active engagement keep skills fresh and careers dynamic.   

Professional organizations, whether at a provincial level such as the ATIA or national, contribute to the health and strength of the entire professional field. By developing and implementing standardized certifications and Codes of Ethics, professional associations maintain the quality and consistency of the field, protecting the interests of both clients and providers. Standardized certification and regulation ensures that the expertise that translators and interpreters work hard to attain is recognized as a profession. It also ensures that clients and employers are able to connect with consistent, quality services. A professional association’s strength is in its members, though! Each individual who joins a professional association contributes to making that association a robust and active presence in its field.

 The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta is itself a member of the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC), and through the CTTIC is affiliated with the International Federation of Translators (FIT). To find out more about the ATIA membership categories and the membership process, check out the Membership page.  

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Practicing Customer Service as a Freelancer: Nine tips for translators and interpreters

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Providing customer service based on communication, responsiveness and integrity is essential to a successful freelance career. When seeking new clients, customer service is what sets one certified expert apart from another. It is also what keeps clients returning. But what does good customer service actually look like for a translator or interpreter? We have nine tips for stepping up your customer service game from first contact with a client to end of contract:

  Invest in a good website. Most clients will seek you out online. Make sure that your online presence is easy to navigate and clearly provides all the information that a potential client will need to understand your services and recognize your value. Make it easy for them to contact you.

  • Practice good email and phone etiquette. Customer service for freelancers is all about building relationships, so be friendly, positive and professional. Use salutations in your emails. Smile on the phone and say thank you.
  • Listen to your clients. The goal of good customer service is a satisfied client – or better yet, a client who has been truly wowed. To satisfy a client you must understand what they want and deliver the product or service. To wow a client you must understand their values and priorities and be able to deliver an experience beyond their expectations.
  • Use your expertise, with tact. The customer is always right, except that they have come to you as an expert. You have the experience and knowledge to avoid potential issues in a project, so don’t be afraid to share your expert perspective on a course of action.
  • Set clear expectations from the start. Good customer service requires flexibility, but professionalism includes setting limits that reflect the value of your time and expertise. Agree upon clear and realistic deliverables and deadlines from the outset of a project. Include limitations such as how many revisions you will provide before incurring additional charges.
  • You and the client are a team. Even with the best laid agreement, clients will occasionally make unexpected requests and projects will hit setbacks. Remember that the client and you are on the same team and respond with flexibility and a collaborative attitude.
  • Focus on solutions, not blame. When problems arise or you receive critical feedback from a client, focus on generating solutions rather than assigning (or dodging) blame.
  • Be able to apologize. Owning up to your mistakes with humility demonstrates integrity.
  • Follow up. After completing a contract, follow up with the client to thank them for their business and ensure they are satisfied.                 

Success as a freelance professional depends on good client relationships and a positive reputation. This is especially the case in professions such as translation and interpretation, where the freelancer is involved in something as intimate and nuanced as communicating on behalf of a client. Consistent customer service practices demonstrate professionalism, dedication and integrity, all of which are qualities that will bring both new and repeat clients.

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The Art of Exceeding Client Expectations: Why customer service should matter to freelancers

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As a freelance translator or interpreter, you’ve dedicated years to learning your craft, building a portfolio and mastering certifications. You may want to believe that your specialized knowledge and experience will speak for (and sell) itself, but succeeding as a freelancer takes a whole host of other skills. A freelancer has to be his or her own sales and marketing team, accountant, office administrator and maybe even web designer. Among all the roles that freelancers play, it is easy to see why the importance of customer service is sometimes overlooked. It should not be that way, though. Effort put into customer service saves double that effort in seeking and securing clients. 

What is customer service? It is about more than fielding complaints and practicing good email etiquette. Customer service is the art of exceeding customer expectations. Success as a freelance translator or interpreter relies on being able to build strong relationships with clients. You are not just a representative of a business, you are your business. Customer service based on communication, responsiveness, and integrity will help secure new clients, build long term relationships with existing clients, and will contribute to a positive reputation.  

A freelance professional who communicates clearly is easy to hire and easy to work with. You are the expert, so give potential and new clients the information they need to understand your services and value as an expert. Good communication builds rapport and connection, setting you apart from the competition. You are not just trying to secure a contract. You are establishing a relationship that may lead to repeat contracts and recommendations. Good communication is also essential to ensuring that you deliver the service that the client expects, or better yet, a service that fulfils their needs and priorities so well that it exceeds their expectations. Ultimately, this is what generates repeat business and good word-of-mouth.  

Clients will also return to a freelancer who demonstrates that they are responsive to the client’s needs. This may mean being flexible to changes of direction and being open to unique requests. It also means being able to resolve problems and rectify mistakes with a positive, solution oriented attitude. Flexibility and responsiveness to requests will garner new clients. To existing clients, it will demonstrate your ongoing dedication to their satisfaction. Being able to effectively respond to problems and mistakes, which will inevitably occur, demonstrates reliability and integrity.  

Like most relationships, the most successful, long term client-freelancer relationships are based on trust. Integrity is fundamental to establishing and maintaining this trust. This is can be as simple as delivering work by agreed upon deadlines, or as challenging as resolving conflicts or rectifying mistakes in a fair and constructive manner. Becoming a trusted name in your industry will also generate new business.

A strong portfolio and certifications are fundamental to establishing a career as a translator or interpreter. Customer service, however, is what will set a career as a freelancer into motion.  Prioritizing customer service from first contact with a potential client and throughout the entire project pays off in a positive professional reputation, long-term, repeat clients, and new business.

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Translation & The Richness of Culture (An Interview with ATIA President Perla Ben-Zvi)

In the coming months, the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) will be profiling some of our prominent members and those who have served (or continue to serve!) ATIA in a volunteer capacity. This month, we talked to Perla Ben Zvi, certified translator and current president of ATIA.

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How long have you been part of ATIA?
In the year 2002, I became an English to Spanish Certified Translator.

Tell me a bit about your personal history and what brought you to the organization.

I came to Canada in 1989, and after going through the process of “being an immigrant” myself, I tried to give back to the community by translating for immigrants at a non-profit organization.

I loved translating from the beginning.  I enjoy translating and interpreting for my clients so they may achieve their goals. I enjoy finding ways to represent as faithfully as possible the meaning of a text in another language and the constant learning experience of working on translations.  Sometimes the challenge is the topic and sometimes it is in how to precisely calibrate the translation to make it the best fit for the country in which the material will be presented.  Most of my translations are for Latin America where there are lots of different countries and I need to adapt the translation accordingly.

I was born in Argentina, where I studied four years towards a degree in Economics.  To improve my translations skills, I completed a program offered through New York University.  It was very interesting to be part of a class with students from different Latin American countries and to become aware of the subtle differences in the Spanish of the various countries.

In which positions have you served the organization?

I was the treasurer for two years from 2005 to 2007.  At that time the treasurer used to do the accounting, write receipts, issue cheques, prepare the budget, etc.  We were a smaller organization then, so the support was limited. From 2015 to 2017, I held the position of Vice President for Northern Alberta and I currently serve as the President.

Can you tell me about some of your most enjoyable moments as a translator? What are some of the most memorable projects you have worked on so far? Do you have a favourite?

I very much enjoy doing translations in the agricultural field.  I always have something to learn about plants and animals and the richness of Alberta’s agriculture.

What struggles have you had?

Like many other translators, a big struggle is to find that “right word” in the sentence: you end up reading lots of material in the target language to make sure that the translations will read as ‘naturally’ as the original English text.  At times, the problem is that the document in English was not written in the best possible way and that makes translating it effectively a bit challenging, but you work around such things.

How did you know you were cut out for translation work? When I started to do translations I did not confine myself to personal documents.  I found that enjoyed the entire process of reading, doing research, translating, editing and feeling very good about the translation I had just finished.  I enjoyed reading books in the topics of translation, especially one by Marina Orellana entitled “La traducción del inglés al castellano”. Such things indicated to me that I had found my passion and my vocation.

What type of work do you primarily do? Is there another type you wish you did more of?

Over the years, most of my work has been translation, but in the last couple of years, I have increased my workload as an interpreter.  I find that the balance between translations and interpretations suits my professional goals of aiding a wide variety of clients very well.

ATIA has been around since 1979! In your opinion, what makes the organization successful and gives it such longevity? What sets ATIA apart?

ATIA is a professional organization and part of a national body (CTTIC). A major reason for our success and longevity is that we take pride in the way translators and interpreters become members after proving themselves as professionals through rigorous exams.  ATIA has a very strong Code of Ethics and the members are aware of the way they must conduct themselves in the field. Such standards have always set our members apart – to the satisfaction of their clients - and that makes the organization stand out for the better.

To become a member of ATIA requires preparation, experience, commitment and continuous study.

What vision have you brought to the position of President?

My vision is to help establish ATIA as the “place to go” for clients looking for professional interpreters and translators with high quality and ethical standards.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to travel, read books, and be with my family.

What is a quirky fact someone may not know about you?

I like salads and soups.

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Perla Ben-Zvi is a Certified English-Spanish Translator and an Associate Community and Court Interpreter. Perla provides high-quality English-Spanish translations in a variety of areas, as well as exceptional interpreting services in a number of settings. Her studies also include CISOC Community Interpretation Protocols and Procedures training and police interpreting. Perla has more than 20 years of experience working in the translation industry. Perla lives in Edmonton with her family.


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Important Tips for Working with Language Service Providers

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As a new translator starting out or a seasoned professional who likes to keep things simple, it might be the case that you decide you want to work for a Language Service Provider (LSP) or translation agency rather than seeking out clients directly. Whatever your reasons for pursuing work with an LSP, there are some important tips that can make your time with them more productive and mutually successful.

Recently, ATIA held a webinar with the CEO of Alpha Translations Canada, Michele Hecken. Michele went through a ton of introductory tips for working with LSPs and we are picking out and adding to our favourites for all of you.

1. Deliver on what you promise to. This might sound obvious but the snowball effect when working for LSPs is very real. The more solid work you produce, the more you will be offered. And the busier you will be. Note that LSPs sift through hundreds and hundreds of translation CVs regularly so your position there is always a bit tenuous, but one way to have job security is to be reliable for quality translations delivered on-tie, every time.

As harsh as that sounds, this is the world of working for LSPs. They are usually producing work globally and generally have a very large translator database. Everyone has off-days but there is less opportunity to come back from a few of those when working for an LSP simply because of the size of these organizations and how in-demand they are by clients and professionals alike. Stay consistent and manage your time to deliver quality translations regularly.

2. Specialize! This might seem counter-intuitive because you would think that the more types of translations you do would *translate* into more types of work offered, but this is generally not the case. The more you specialize in specific types of translations, the more work you are likely to build up in your area of expertise. You might even garner a reputation as the go-to translator for that specialization. Never be afraid to turn down translation work that you are not qualified to attend to – the LSP will likely respect your knowledge of your own boundaries and will appreciate that you don’t take on anything that is outside your areas of expertise, which could result in subpar translations.

3. Embrace the technological revolution! Translations-by-hand are still often seen as the best method for accuracy but they may be more time-consuming than you or the LSP you work for would like. At ATIA, we know many folks who recommend avoiding machine translations wherever possible. At the same time, there are some technological tools which make your work a lot easier – especially for everything but the translation itself! Use appropriate software for formatting, scheduling your work, storing your work, and invoicing at the end of the day. We have written about this previously, so be sure to check out the best online tools for professional translators.

4. Stay in your lane. Knowing your place as a translator is important for keeping yourself sane and on-track. It isn’t your job to work on source texts so if you find errors, don’t edit them. Simply translate to the best of your ability the meaning of the text. You can introduce a translator’s note to draw attention to project manager about the original errors who can then advise the client.

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ATIA Blog: Common Misconceptions about Interpretation

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Becoming a community interpreter is one of the most accessible ways to get into the industry and start your professional career as an interpreter. Many professionals in specialized fields such as court or medical interpreting started out in community and even continue to do community interpreting as well! That being said, it doesn’t mean that just because someone is multilingual or bilingual they can start interpreting for community organizations or groups and be successful. And it certainly does not mean they will have the skills required for work in hospitals or courts either! In this article, we will explore some of the common misconceptions about Interpretation, among new interpreters and clients alike!

Myth: Bilingualism means you can interpret well. While having a second language is obviously an essential aspect of being an interpreter as you will be conveying the meaning of verbal words and body cues from one language to another (either consecutively or simultaneously), it doesn’t follow that that is the only requirement for you to interpret well. In fact, fluency in both your mother tongue and the target language beyond the conversational level are absolutely essential as are the knowledge, vocabulary required and cultural understandings necessary to accurately convey someone’s communications. The relay of information across languages and cultures is a mastered skill that takes time, training, expertise and experience. It also requires that interpreters continuously improve their knowledge with regards to new words, colloquialisms (especially regionally) and update their necessary technology.

Myth: The interpreter can answer questions for you or the person you are communicating with. While the interpreter is never necessarily neutral (as some people claim!), that doesn’t mean that they are participating in a direct way in the conversation. The interpreter is responsible for providing understanding and facilitating conversation between two or more people – not for participating in that conversation by interjecting contributions or answering questions.

Myth: Simultaneous interpretation is always possible. While in most cases, this is possible because of the simplicity and redundancy of human language, it should be noted that in some circumstances (especially where a lot of various and complex technical jargon is used over a long period of time) simultaneity could simply be unrealistic.

Myth: Translators can just do the same job as interpreters, right? While tangentially related in terms of languages and conveying messages, please note that translation and interpretation are completely different fields with different areas of training

Myth: It is safe for any bilingual person to interpret in medical and court settings. The answer to this is simply no. In any setting, you should be using the services of a qualified language professional but in the settings of a medical environment or emergency, or a court room, it is often someone’s health, liberty or life at stake. Incorrect interpretations can send ambulances to the wrong address or offer the incorrect medical dosages. They affect someone’s defense or legal case. It is essential to realize how high the stakes are and don’t take unnecessary risks with your life or the lives of others.

Myth: Telephone or video interpreters are just as good as in-person. Don’t let fancy advertising and clever marketing fool you. There is no adequate replacement for in-person interpretation. So much of language is non-verbal, contextual and relies heavily on the interpreter being in the room so as not to miss any of these incredibly important subtle or gestural conveyors of information.

Myth: Any interpreter will do for any setting. Interpreters should be chosen based on their areas of specialization, expertise and experience – particularly when it comes to specific industries. Of course, most people think of medical or legal jargon which it is important to have knowledge of, but some interpreters are also working in special industries such as natural resources, engineering, and the like which may require a technical vocabulary as well.

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Upcoming Webinar: How to Partner with Language Service Providers & Translation Agencies

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Join us for this online webinar on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. Our guest speaker, Michele Hecken is the CEO of Alpha Translations Canada and she will share insights on working with language service providers and translation agencies.

Cost: $10

ATIA Members: Free

This webinar is Professional Development Policy Compliant.

Refunds will only be issued in the event that ATIA or the speaker unexpectedly cancels.

Register here.


Michèle Hecken is the CEO of Alpha Translations Canada, the largest translation service provider in Alberta, and co-founder of Alpha Global Experts, an international consultancy firm specializing in global business expansion. Together, her companies provide in-country market intelligence, specialized local experts and strategic support to clients worldwide. Michèle supports organizations in the community that help entrepreneurs succeed, such as AWE and Entrepreneurs’ Organization and is a passionate speaker on the topics of global business, culture and innovation. Over the past 20 years, Michèle has done business in over 30 countries. Her clients include most of the world’s top 100 law firms, banks and Fortune 500 companies. Michèle holds a Master’s degree in translation and interpreting and is a graduate of the Entrepreneurial Master’s Program at MIT.

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ATIA Blog: Getting it Right or Lost in Translation?

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Emmanuel Macron—France’s handsome and charismatic President—made the news worldwide a little while ago for no other reason than his closing remarks at a recent speech in Sydney Australia.  President Macron exact words, directed to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, were:  “I wanted to thank you for, and your delicious wife, for your warm welcome and a perfect organization of this trip, thank you so much.”  We know President Macron is fond of older women—his wife is twenty-five years older than him—however; I am certain this remark got lost in translation. What he probably meant was “delightful.” Luckily, PM Turnbull took it with a sense of humor and laughed it off.

Treading in the unknown territory of a new language, where would you be?  Would you be getting it right or would you be lost in translation?  There are many applications and gadgets nowadays that allow for a quick and cheap translation and promise to save you money and time.  While they might be useful for travelers to translate words quickly from a menu, these gadgets will not be helpful in a business situation.  These gadgets merely translate word by word—even when they claim to be intuitive.  In fact, professional translators will not use translation devices since its more cumbersome trying to decipher the resulting “translation” than doing it from scratch.  When doing a translation, many factors come into play that only the human brain can analyze such as complete ease and knowledge of the source language as well as the target language, understanding the culture and idiosyncrasies of the people who speak these languages and communicating the message without room for misunderstandings.

Friends of mine traveling in Taiwan took a picture of a plaque in Chiayi City high-speed rail station promoting the National Museum in Taipei.  The English translation did not flow well, but this section was the most interesting:  “In appearance, there seems to be a lack of closeness between cultures and arts in Taiwan and those in Asia.  However, judging from Taiwan’s history of intercourse with other members in Asia, actually, Taiwan has been quite intimately connected to other cultures and arts in Asia.”   It appears that the word lost in translation was “interaction.” 

Such examples are not the only culprit: common and innocent words have different meanings in all languages.  “I’m so excited, I just bought a new car!” means something else in Spanish since the word “excited” means “aroused.”; translated literally from English into Spanish it would be:  ”I’m so aroused, I just bought a new car!”  Your excitement over the new car would raise a few eyebrows and cause a lot of laughs among the Spanish-speaking folks.

It’s not a big deal to make mistakes and cause a few laughs—it happens; however, when it comes to business, you don’t want colleagues and potential clients laughing at you!  You need to get it right since your investments and reputation, among many other things, are at stake! Poor translations are not just embarrassing, they cause costly mistakes for businesses; misinterpretations have also caused severe problems throughout history with repercussions for centuries thereafter—from wars to religious connotations.  Translations need to be professional and render a faithful adaptation to avoid confusion. For such translations, you will require the services of a Professional Translator.   

Professional Translators work hard to develop their skills and have a complete understanding of the language and culture.  They will not only translate the written word, but they will also relay style and tone, and convert equivalent concepts.  Translators consider cultural references, including slang which does not translate literally.  Translations go through several revisions before becoming final ensuring the best outcome.  Next time get it right, hire a Professional Translator and avoid being lost in translation!

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Paulina Ponsford was born in Chile and has lived most of her adult life in Canada.  She worked as an Accountant for thirty years in the Oil and Gas industry in Calgary.  At the same time, she always wanted to connect with people at a different level and for this reason, she became a volunteer Fitness Instructor and later on a Certified Facilitator in the area of human interaction.  Paulina is now preparing to become a Translator and Interpreter in the languages of English and Spanish.  Paulina also loves to travel and embraces what different cultures have to offer.  She is also an avid reader and some of her favorite authors are Paulo Coelho, Khaled Hosseini, Mark Mustian, and Isabel Allende.  If you would like to know more about Paulina, check out her blog at www.paulinaponsford.com where she shares some of her thoughts, insights, and experiences. 

 

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Good Writing Is Good Business: Your go-to guide to stylish and successful business writing

Margaret Chandler, who has been delivering grammar and punctuation workshops for ATIA for the last few years, has recently published a business writing book – Good Writing Is Good Business: Your go-to guide to stylish and successful business writing. Margaret is a teacher, writer, and editor and runs a communications company, Green Fuse Inc.

 Good Writing Is Good Business is a comprehensive guide (360 pages)  that includes advice on planning and prewriting, a grammar and punctuation refresher, a review of style principles (clarity, concision, energy, and flow), a discussion of editing strategies, and much more. With plenty of examples, exercises (and an annotated answer key), and appendices (including one for writers whose first language is not  English), this book is a great resource for anyone who writes (or translates) on the job.

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Free Orientation Session for the Public

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Are you interested in becoming a certified translator and/or interpreter? Are you already doing the necessary work of translation and interpretation in your cultural community? Do you want to start the process of certification or learn more about why it is important?

Currently, ATIA is doing outreach in cultural communities which represent a large demographic of the Albertan population but whose interpretation and translation professionals have yet to be certified with our Association. Certification is crucial for official document and legal translations, and to ensure the highest possible standard for final products. All of our members adhere to the best ethical standards in the profession and are actively sought out by clients in government, industry and the public.

Join the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) for a free orientation webinar:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

7:00pm (1 hour long)

During the webinar, we will cover the following subjects:

·         How to get involved in the profession

·         How to serve your community better

·         Why certification matters for professionals

·         The benefits of becoming a certified member of ATIA

·         Career advancement through translation/interpretive services

To register, contact ATIA Development Coordinator, Nakita Valerio - development@atia.ab.ca

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ATIA Blog: Translation Success (An Interview with ATIA Member Hellen Martinez)

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In the coming months, the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) will be profiling some of our prominent members and those who have served (or continue to serve!) ATIA in a volunteer capacity. This month, we talked to Hellen Martinez, certified translator and interpreter, and former ATIA President.

How long have you been part of ATIA?

I became a member in 2003.

Tell me a bit about your personal history and what brought you to the organization.

I have a bachelor’s degree in translation and interpreting from my native Peru.  My dissertation thesis was about translation techniques for technical translation.  I was working as a full-time translator for engineering companies in Peru.  I was also a translator for the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Peru.  When I moved to Canada, I intended to keep working in my career path.  I learned about ATIA through Luisa Izzo, who was my Grammar teacher at the University of Calgary. 

In which positions have you served the organization?

When I joined ATIA, I volunteered in events and fairs.  From 2007 until 2011, I served as VP for Calgary, and from 2011 until 2016, I served as president of our organization.

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Can you tell me about some of your most enjoyable moments as a translator? What are some of the most memorable projects you have worked on so far? Do you have a favourite?

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ATIA Guest Blog: Translating for Theatre as Performative Translation (Interview with Dr. Stefano Muneroni)

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Translating a play for the stage may often be considered a form of literary translation, but it is a very different process. Unlike a novel or a poem, a play is meant to be performed, and the translator must consider how the language will be spoken and heard. 

 My own journey into translation started with an Italian to English translation of the play Three on a Seesaw (Tre sull’altalena) by Luigi Lunari. Since I am a novice at translating theatre, I decided to talk with a more experienced translator for insights on the process. I had a coffee with another Italian translator, Dr. Stefano Muneroni, who is Associate Professor in the University of Alberta’s Department of Drama and does translation as part of his academic work. He is a native Italian speaker and translates Italian to English and English to Italian, as well as Spanish to English.

 During our conversation, Stefano confirmed my feeling that translating theatre is a different beast from other literature. Theatre does not remain on a page, but comes alive through actors in front of audience. Stefano described how a translator of theatre must account for the “speakability of the language.” He finds it essential to include staged readings of his translations in progress, in order to hear the language spoken aloud by actors. His translation would have at least two live readings before he declares it ready for rehearsal and production.

 Since the words of a play are intrinsically linked to live performance, Stefano describes the translation of a play as performative translation, rather than literary translation. He explains the gap between the two: “[When translating theatre] it’s not just about words. There will eventually be actors speaking those words and embodying those words. The body and voice of the actor cannot be taken out of the operation of translating a text.” For this reason, Stefano says it is crucial that translators of plays have an understanding of the theatrical process, and ideally be theatre practitioners themselves.

 Speech, language, dialect, and accent are important for creating characters in a play, and we talked about this while discussing how to handle the multitude of regional dialects in Italy. Stefano is currently working on an Italian to English translation of the play Finis Terrae by Gianni Clementi, which features dialogues between a character from Sicily and a character from Rome, both of whom speak their respective dialects. The characters’ dialects reveal a lot about their backgrounds, and are steeped in regional identities and history that Italians intimately understand. But the challenge is how to convey these nuances to an audience that may not have that same understanding. As Stefano explains, it would make no sense to put a Southern United States accent on the Sicilian character or a California accent on the Roman, since that would obscure the meaning of the play and who these characters truly are. The solution may be to play with different Italian accents in the English translation, possibly drawing on class, education, and age as ways to access how characters would sound in the target language. Another strategy could be about how the lines sound, thus looking closely at as lexical choices, intonation, rhythm, pace, or euphonics. Yet language is not the entirety of a play—an actor’s physical performance may be able to bring out nuances of a character that may not be expressed by the translated language. This is why it is crucial to have actors perform the translation and see and hear how they portray the characters.

 While an audience for a translation may not understand all the historical and cultural nuances, it is our responsibility as translators to communicate the original ethos of the work. Stefano often uses bilingualism in his translations so the audience does not forget the culture or language of the source text. One technique he uses is echo-translation, which has a character saying their line in the source language, and another character responding in the translation language, while making sure the context is not lost. Another technique is using cognates, words that sound similar in both languages. Stefano’s Spanish to English translation of the Mexican play El Ausente, by Xavier Villaurrutia, left about 20% of the text in Spanish, but using echo-translation and cognates made the play understandable to the audience.

 This conversation was certainly enlightening for me as a novice translator, and Stefano shared a lot of tools for the often daunting task of preserving the original intent of the language. If you are interested in translating for theatre but have no theatrical experience, getting involved in theatre practice is a good starting point. You might try a class in playwriting, theatre production, or acting, or even consider auditioning to act in a play. Getting first-hand experience in the theatre helps develop the understanding of the performability of language, the key for translating theatre.

This article was written as a guest blog for ATIA by community member, Giorgia Severini. Giorgia is a theatre director, playwright, translator arts administrator, and overall language enthusiast. Giorgia’s first foray into translation was in 2015 when she worked with Barrett Hileman on a new translation of Three on a Seesaw (Tre sull’altalena) by Italian playwright Luigi Lunari. This translation was produced by Fire Exit Theatre in Calgary, and Giorgia couldn’t resist directing her own production in Edmonton as well.

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ATIA Blog: Signs You're Cut Out For Freelancing

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If you have dabbled a bit in freelance work or are thinking about making it your career, there are some important points to consider when it comes to taking the plunge! While not all of these will be true for everyone and even if you don’t resonate with these, that shouldn’t deter you from trying out freelance work if you are inclined, the following list includes many of the characteristics freelancers commonly report as being important to do well in their work. So without further ado, here are the signs you might be cut out for freelance work:

You can focus.

This is a big one. Yes, some procrastination is inevitable and there are some folks who work best under pressure so procrastination can become a motivational and even inspiring tool to get quality work done. However, for most people, translation and writing work takes several drafts and time to percolate which means that leaving everything to the last minute or working on multiple projects simultaneously (thereby distracting you from all of them) means that your work can leave a lot to be desired. You have to be able to make lists of priorities and execute those items according to what is the most needed and most urgent. Spreading yourself too thin over a number of tasks or getting distracted by other things is a recipe for a mess!

You can be many different things to many different people.

Being a freelance translator does not mean that you will only be freelance translating. It also means that sometimes you are doing marketing work, networking and outreach, administrative assistant work, book-keeping, accounting and so forth. You have to be able to move between these positions fairly seamlessly and according to the contexts in which you find yourself.

You are willing to cultivate relationships.

The importance of being willing to cultivate long-term relationships with clients, businesses, organizations and groups that are relevant to your area of work cannot be underestimated. You don’t have to be a networking all-star but you do have to keep on top of community events you are invited to, social media interactions and the like. Frankly, this task is easier now than ever before because connection with others can be had at the click of a mouse.

You can conquer “impostor syndrome”. You believe in yourself and your work.

Being paralyzed by fear or perfectionism will only make your work harder and more stressful. Be open to constructive feedback and be sure to always check your work, but don’t become obsessed with every single detail. You should be able to produce polished work without having an emotional weighing of your self-worth tied to it. Remember you are a trained professional with skills and expertise to offer. If you don’t know something, learn it or admit it and move on!

You believe the rewards of freelance work outweigh the risk.

Freelancing is not without risks – particularly a sense of job security and perhaps a steady paycheque. But if you are willing to trade those things for all the benefits of being your own boss, being able to work from anywhere in the world, and choosing what work you put out into the world, you are unlikely to be disappointed. Plus if you have been making fairly decent money on the side for a while from freelancing, taking the plunge might not be so scary after all. Just imagine how much ore work you could get by focusing on what you do entirely.

You are willing to do *some* things for free.

This is a touchy subject but it is important to realize that there are plenty of things you will do to manage your business that you aren’t directly paid for. Unless you are making loads of cash, you are unlikely to be able to pull a salary from your profit to pay yourself for the management of the business beyond the actual freelance work itself. Returning emails, taking calls, arranging meetings and the like are all things that you can’t really invoice someone for. Depending on how you bill, whether by word or by hour, there is the chance that you can factor some of that overall time into how you do invoice though. It is important to measure how long you spend doing unpaid/non-invoiced work for your business because if you end up losing out of deals because you are spending so much time doing the nitty-gritty, it might be worth your while to subcontract some of that out to someone else.

You have healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress.

There is going to be a time when all things converge at once and you are going to feel like you have to stay up until 2am every night for over a week to get everything done. How you deal with this matters. One of the number one reasons that folks leave the freelancing world is that they are unable to cope with the unique stresses it brings: from accommodating difficult client requests to feeling like you are working around the clock, from feeling like you can never clock out to giving up any semblance of a weekend. Be good about setting time boundaries so your work doesn’t bleed into every aspect of your life including recreational and family time. Make sure you can recognize when things start to get too hair for you and you need to take a breather. Figure out ways that you can make things more manageable, and know when to approach clients for more time, if needed.

You know how to say “No.”

This is another big one…especially when you are first starting out. Who wants to turn down work? At the same time, we can’t all do everything. We have areas of specialization and work-life balance to consider, among other things. Your limits are really up to you. Spend some time thinking about what you are doing with your life and your goals for the year or five-year period. Is the work you are doing helping you to achieve those goals?

You work well solo from home.

Most freelancers work from home or in public spaces like coffeeshops or libraries. Some get to the point of being so busy that they are able to rent an office space to meet clients and complete their work at. For the rest of us, working well, solo, from home is crucial to our success. If it really bothers you to be alone all the time, consider going to a monthly meet-up of freelancers for coffee where you can share your experiences and network, or meet a fellow freelancer for a work session at a coffee shop – just make sure you don’t end up distracting each other too much!

You have developed organizational methods that work for you.

There are plenty of other signs that a career in freelancing could be for you but ultimately you are the best determiner of that fact. What works for one freelancer, doesn’t work for everyone and over time, you will develop the organizational methods that work best for you. Some freelancers work best with a paper wall calendar and to-do lists on sticky notes, others are digital all the way. Whatever keeps you on track and ensures that your work gets done on-time and well is what you should stick with!

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ATIA Blog: Saving Lives Through Medical Interpreting

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The professional fields of certified translation and interpretation are no different than any other skilled and regulated vocation: there are standards to uphold and suggested rules to follow in order to maintain some semblance of consistency across the board. This is particularly the case with ATIA associate and certified members who are bound by a Code of Ethics which protects them, the client and the industry. Our members translate and interpret the world around us – we make communication possible.

One area of the field that goes beyond establishing communication between people into the realm of saving lives is medical interpretation. Medical interpreters bridge communication barriers and build understanding between doctors, nurses and patients. This understanding is crucial for making sure proper medical decisions are made from properly listing symptoms, to making professionals aware of allergies to medicines or other items they made encounter in a medical setting.

Medical interpretation is also essential for helping patients have a complete understanding of what their medical care will entail and to be able to give proper, legal consent for procedures based on that understanding. For this reason, in-person interpreting is the most desirable – not only does patient anxiety diminish, but interpreters that are present are better able to see what is happening at the moment of interpretation.

Why should your medical interpreter be certified through ATIA?

A study from 2014 by the American College of Emergency Physicians determined that interpreter errors had clinical consequences and that errors were significantly higher with ad-hoc interpreters. Professional interpreters had an error rate of 12% (versus 22% on average). For professionals with more than 100 hours of training and experience, their errors dropped below 2%! Additionally, the errors made were less likely to result in medical complications or compromising situations. In many cases, this could be the difference between health and illness.

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ATIA Blog: Essential Tips for Writing Your Translation CV

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Translation agencies and organizations looking to hire in-house translators tend to receive a high volume of applications, even on a weekly basis. It becomes increasingly important then to ensure that your CV stands out in all the right ways. But what does this mean? Below, we explore the “dos and don’ts” of translation CVs.

Do:

  • Highlight your assets in education and experiences. It is not unusual to put the most relevant education and work in bold to draw the hiring officer’s eye to that first and foremost.
  • Tell them a bit about yourself. The most important part of your CV is you and you are what will make it stand out from the rest! Take the time to write a short description of yourself that includes your motivations, skills and language combinations.
  • List your relevant work experiences from the most recent to the oldest examples
  • Include your published materials, being clear to highlight any books or peer-reviewed articles, research work and translations. If you can include links to each item, this will help your case in terms of ready accessibility for the hiring officer
  • Include your professional associations, including your level of certification with ATIA
  • List your relevant education experiences from the most recent to the oldest examples.
  • Include any relevant awards, scholarships, bursaries or other recognitions you have received.
  • Be specific about your language skills including listing your specialized translation fields (such as medical, court etc), as well as the language combinations you hold and your level in each combination.
  • Include information about your computer skills including (but not limited to): knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite or its equivalences (Mac OS, Google, etc); CAT tools or other management systems you may use; and any web skills you have.
  • Include a few other small details that help you stand out. These can be some of your interests, as well as other assets you have such as a driver’s license, if relevant.

Don’t:

  • Exceed 2 pages. One page is preferable.
  • Mess with formatting. Avoid strange fonts or making things difficult to read. Do not use colours or decorative elements to stand out – this just makes your CV look like it is not polished.
  • Include a photo of yourself. This will get you sent directly to the “toss” pile, no matter how perfect you are for the posting. It makes employers uncomfortable to see a picture of you which could influence how you and your application are received.
  • Include every job you have ever had in your “work experience” section. It isn’t relevant that you were a barista 8 years ago and worse, it can make your CV looks muddled. The “translation” to the hiring officer is that you aren’t very focused on your translation career.
  • Don’t include your grades with your education experiences. It takes up space and is not necessary unless you graduated with honours or distinction.
  • Write a separate cover letter – not many officers the time to read these anymore, especially if they receive a stack of them every week. A short email with your basic personal introduction, and some highlights from your attached CV are enough.
  • Forget to attach the CV. Everyone makes this mistake at some point and some places are more forgiving than others but it is best if you don’t make this mistake.

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ATIA Spring Social: Edmonton (May 5, 2018)

It's time for another ATIA social event in Edmonton! Join us for an evening of great Greek food (pay your own way) and outstanding conversation. It's a great opportunity to meet and network with other ATIA members in a positive atmosphere! Take the night off and join us! Please RSVP to development coordinator, Nakita Valerio, at development@atia.ab.ca by April 30, 2018 at the latest to confirm your place. Clicking "GOING" on Facebook does NOT count as confirmed attendance.

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ATIA Spring Social: Calgary (April 28, 2018)


It's time for another ATIA social event in Calgary! Join us for an evening of great Greek food (pay your own way) and outstanding conversation. It's a great opportunity to meet and network with other ATIA members in a positive atmosphere! Take the night off and join us! Please RSVP to development coordinator, Nakita Valerio, at development@atia.ab.ca by April 23, 2018 at the latest to confirm your place. Clicking "GOING" on Facebook does NOT count as confirmed attendance.

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Call for ATIA Member Volunteers: Law Day 2018

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Law Day is a nationwide day of activities to commemorate and celebrate our nation's adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, organized by the Canadian Bar Association, with cooperation and funding from the Alberta Law Foundation and the Law Society of Alberta. The goal of Law Day is to increase public awareness, knowledge, and understanding of our laws and our legal system. ATIA participates annually as a way of informing others about the presence and importance of legal interpreters and certified translators in the field of law. SIGN UP for a 2 hour shift and represent our Association with pride, meet other members and enjoy the day!

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ATIA Blog: Why Become a Translator?

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As soon as you begin to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning. 

— Barbara Sher

Some people know what-they-want-to-be-when-they-grow-up shortly after they come out of the womb.  For others, it’s a slow realization, and by the time they leave high school, they are on their way to realizing their dream career.  Some, unsure, ponder the options and might change careers and jobs until they find their true calling.  And then, there is me who thought I never really had a “calling,” until now that is.

After working thirty years as an accountant in the Oil and Gas industry in Calgary, I found myself without a job.  The company I was working for was going through tremendous financial difficulties due to the recessive economy and—like many other companies—laid off many of its employees including myself.  I loved my job, and it was great while it lasted, but I knew it was not my true calling

I was envious of people who had a dream and followed it!  I never had a vision for myself.  But I always loved languages, reading, and writing.  After losing my job, I decided to start a blog, something I wanted to do for a long time.  My first articles were in English; later on, to reach a broader audience, I decided to start translating them into Spanish—my mother tongue.  One day, as I was happily pounding my keyboard while working on my translations, the idea of becoming a Translator hit me on the head like an awakening brick!  At that moment I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up!  I knew what my calling was!

I had no idea how to go about, but I was entrepreneurial and put an add on Kijiji advertising my services.  Shortly, I received a call from a potential customer, after a few interactions she asked me if I was “Certified.”  I did not get the business since I wasn’t a Certified Translator, but it opened the door to the exciting world of Translators and Interpreters.  I started looking into it, and I found ATIA (Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta). 

Since finding ATIA, I’ve been right on track with their program.  I’ve attended every workshop ATIA has put on so far, and I’m preparing for the first two exams you must pass—Code of Ethics and English Comprehension.  ATIA has welcomed me with open arms, and every member I have met so far has been warm, friendly, and talented! 

The Translation and Interpreters industry is booming with the prediction that demand for their services will increase fifty percent by the year 2020; this is excellent news for people starting like me as well as for established translators and interpreters. 

Can just anyone who speaks more than one language become a Translator?  Not necessarily.  To become a translator, you need to be familiar with the culture behind the languages you will be working on.  You need to be extremely motivated and have the ability to work independently since most translators and interpreters are freelancers.  You need to have excellent writing and reading skills.  You also need to be very proactive in promoting your services and finding clients.                        

Strangely and whimsically, I realize now that I have been preparing for this my whole life.  I’ve made a point throughout the years to be fluent in Spanish and English by speaking, reading and writing in both languages.  Being at a “certain age,” while some people are thinking of planning on retiring, I’m excited and feel renewed at the opportunity of a new career!

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Paulina Ponsford was born in Chile and has lived most of her adult life in Canada.  She worked as an Accountant for thirty years in the Oil and Gas industry in Calgary.  At the same time, she always wanted to connect with people at a different level and for this reason, she became a volunteer Fitness Instructor and later on a Certified Facilitator in the area of human interaction.  Paulina is now preparing to become a Translator and Interpreter in the languages of English and Spanish.  Paulina also loves to travel and embraces what different cultures have to offer.  She is also an avid reader and some of her favorite authors are Paulo Coelho, Khaled Hosseini, Mark Mustian, and Isabel Allende.  If you would like to know more about Paulina, check out her blog at www.paulinaponsford.com where she shares some of her thoughts, insights, and experiences. 

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ATIA Professional Development: The Ethical Translator/Code of Ethics Exam

The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) presents...

Professional Development Workshop

"The Ethical Translator" & Passing the ATIA Code of Ethics Exam

with Instructors Houssem Ben Lazreg and Regina Landeck

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Event Details:

Saturday, March 3, 2018 - 10:00am - 3:30pm - Londonderry EPL, Edmonton - Londonderry Mall

10:00am - Registration and Welcome

10:30am - MORNING SESSION: Lecture and Discussion on the ethical neutrality of translators/interpreters as agents of sociopolitical change with Instructor Houssem Ben Lazreg

12:00pm- Brown Bag Lunch - Some refreshments will be provided but please bring a brown bag lunch as well

1:00pm - AFTERNOON SESSION: Interactive training session and discussion for successful completion of the Code of Ethics Examination with Instructor Regina Landeck

The Instructors:

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Houssem Ben Lazreg is currently a PhD. candidate, freelance translator/interpreter, and a teaching assistant for French/Arabic at the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. He was a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant of Arabic at Michigan State University from 2010–2011. He is a holder of a Masters degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). His latest publications include a translation of the novel "Screwballs by Catherine Mardon, "A Woman Walking Inside Me by Nizar Qabani" in Transference: Vol. 4 and co-author of the article “Marjane Satrapi and the Graphic Novels from and ` about the Middle East.” in Arab Studies Quarterly.

His research interests include politics and translation, Middle Eastern graphic novels, and Islamist militant movements. His recent experience includes service in translation and interpreting for The Family Center, Translation Agency of Manitoba, Precision Language Services in Edmonton, EZ Translation Company in Rochester, New York, and as a volunteer translator for the United Nations. His instructing experience includes work as a teaching assistant in both French and Arabic, as an ESL instructor and as an instructor of Foreign Language education at various institutions including: Indiana University of Bloomington, The American Language Institute at Nazareth College, Center for Maghrebi Studies, West Virginia University, the Canadian School of Public Service and the University of Alberta.

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Regina Landeck has been running her translation company, ProLingua Consulting, since 1998. She is a certified member of ATIA for German to English and English to German. Her educational background includes a Law Degree from Germany, a Post-graduate Diploma in Adult Education from the University of Alberta and a Master’s Degree in Translation from the University of the West of England. She has many years of experience teaching English as a Second Language, has developed online teaching materials and currently edits German language courses for Athabasca University. In addition, she teaches the ‘German to English Legal Translation II’ course in the Translation Certificate Program at New York University. Regina has been on Council of ATIA since 1995 and has served as the President of ATIA since 1998. She is very active within the professional community at the provincial and national level.

To register: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/at...

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The Best Online Tools for Professional Translators

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If you are working as a professional translator, especially in a freelance capacity, you know that there are plenty of things that need to be managed in order to make your client work proceed smoothly. Luckily, there are plenty of tool available to aid with managing everything from your clients, to documents and invoices, and everything in between. Below are five of our favourite online tools for professional translators – check them out!

1. Online Encrypted Clouds like DropBox, Google Drive or Sync: Online clouds are essentially folders on the internet or downloaded to a folder on your computer which allow you to share documents easily. You can share with all of your devices by downloading corresponding apps on your phone, tablet and computers so you are never without a much-needed document, no matter which device you happen to be using! You can also access the content even without your devices through the internet by logging into your account. You can also easily share documents with anyone from around the world and have the ability to either share cloud accounts or single documents and folders instead of having to email attachments all the time.

Some benefits of these clouds include: all of your documents being a single place that cannot be destroyed, even if all of your devices break down; most of these options are completely free or very close to free; and they are highly secure as they are fully encrypted services. You can keep all of your business neatly organized in folders in your cloud, from translation documents to blog posts you write to invoices – it is a handy centralizing tool that can make your work a lot more stream-lined. And the more organized we are, the better work we do!

Great options: Google Docs and Dropbox – free

Best option: Sync.com – For a small monthly fee, you keep your cloud services based in Canada with this Ontario company.

2.  Google Docs: Google Docs is an online, cloud-based word processing platform that is quick and helpful when you need to collaborate on documents with other people. Rather than doing your word processing in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, you write and edit your document on a Google server that is connected to the internet. All documents can be downloaded at any time and are automatically saved as you edit. This can be handy for translators who use copy-editors or proofreaders, particularly as margin comments can be added and any changes by any involved users are highlighted. This helps with avoiding having to send documents back and forth via email and running the risk of working on the wrong versions or having messy formatting changes as the document is passed back and forth. Oh, and it’s free – you just need a Google account to access it.

3.  Online appointment keepers: If you have ever had to set up a meeting with a client to discuss the details of a project in person or over the phone, you know there can be a lot of emails back and forth in an attempt to find a suitable time to chat. There are, of course, apps and webpages to help with that! One that is well-received by professional translators online is youcanbook.me which is cloud-based and allows you to easily set your availability and book appointments. All of these appointments can easily be synced with your Google Calendar to ensure continuity if that is your email host. Once you pass the link onto your clients, they will be able to see when you are available in your online calendar and can book themselves in whenever works for both of you!

4. Social Media Marketing Tools like Buffer or Hootsuite: Gone are the days where word-of-mouth can solely be relied upon for professional translators to get new clients and projects for work! The importance of self-marketing for freelancers cannot be overstated, and few places is this more important than on social media. Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and so forth, offer us the opportunity to connect with new and existing clients, to send updates to our followers with great ease, and to generate a buzz around ourselves and our services. This can feel overwhelming for some professional though – after all, their work is in translation, not social media management! Fear not as there are easy-to-use options online that will make your life a lot easier. These social media management tools allow you to schedule content to all of your social media accounts in advance. It also allows for centralized access to your analytics so you can see how your audience is interacting with what you do – all from a single, user-friendly dashboard.

5. Invoicing Templates: After all is said and done, professional translators still need to get paid and this leads to the sometimes arduous task of needing to invoice our clients. You can save time with your invoicing by using online software that can help create templates that you then store in your online, encrypted cloud for ease of access later on (especially during tax season!). Whether you search for free templates that you can download or you build the invoice yourself by using Google public templates, it is sure to make the management of your invoices a lot more professional and streamlined. And you will save time too!

What are your favourite tools?

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Reminder: Upcoming Examination Information!

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Certification Examination - May 12, 2018

Information and the link to register can be found on ATIA's website in the Member's section (https://www.atia.ab.ca/members/certificiation-examination). Please ensure that you have met the requirements and completed your excel spreadsheet before submitting payment for the examination.

Cost: $245

Registration Deadline: January 31, 2018

The Certification Examination is administered as per CTTIC's instructions.

Anyone wishing to write this examination must be a member in good standing with ATIA (paid their dues for the current year and has no pending disciplinary matters before ATIA), and selected the “Accept Terms” on their website profile. Associate Members must pass the certification exam within 6 years of admission as Associate Member in any specific language combination. If you became an Associate member in 2013 (5 years ago) you will need to pass this exam or retake the next Associate-level exam.

Associate-level examinations

As member of ATIA you are welcome to register for the upcoming Associate-level translation examinations. The link to register for the English Proficiency examinations is no longer on the website, but if you would like to register please let me know.

Here are various scenarios:

  • If you are a member as 
    • a translator for XX-EN and you would like to add EN-XX, 
    • a translator for EN-XX and you would like to add XX-EN, 
    • an Interpreter (court, medical, or community) and you would like to add translator to your designation,
  • please register to write the next English Proficiency examination (member deadline: February 26) by contacting admin@atia.ab.ca. Examination date: Saturday, March 10, 2018 Cost: $30.
  • If you are a member as
    • a translator for EN-XX and you would like to add English into another language
    • a translator for XX-EN and you would like to add another language into English
  • please wait and register for the next Associate-level Translation examination. The registration for this will be on ATIA's website (www.atia.ab.ca/events) by March 19. The examination will be held on April 14.

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Court Interpreter Mini Course Calgary - February 2, 2018

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Where:          20th Floor Conference Room,

                      Calgary Court Centre  

When:           February 2, 2018, 12:00 – 1:30  

Topic:           Calgary ECR Unit:

                      “What’s Changed Since Jordan?”  

Who:            The Honorable Judge Mah

Rob Bassett (Crown)

Kelsey Sitar (Defence)                      

Price:            $15.00, lunch will be provided  

RSVP to Carmen Aguilera by January 30 so that food can be ordered and receipts prepared. 

Description  

We are very pleased to have one of our newest members, Rob Basset, take point on this lecture (Yeah Rob!)  

The Early Case Resolution (ECR) process is a crucial aspect of the Calgary justice system.  When assisting your clients, many (if not most) will have lawyers using this system.  

As stated previously, these lectures will take place several times year.  The topic will be different each time, and will always relate to criminal law.   

To register, please contact Carmen Aquilera at antiguahousealberta@shaw.ca.   

Questions, comments and general insults should be directed to Alan Pearse at

alan@alanpearse.com.

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Good Writing Is Good Business

Margaret Chandler, who has been delivering grammar and punctuation workshops for ATIA for the last few years, has recently published a business writing book – Good Writing Is Good Business: Your go-to guide to stylish and successful business writing. Margaret is a teacher, writer, and editor and runs a communications company, Green Fuse Inc.

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Good Writing Is Good Business is a comprehensive guide (360 pages)  that includes advice on planning and prewriting, a grammar and punctuation refresher, a review of style principles (clarity, concision, energy, and flow), a discussion of editing strategies, and much more. With plenty of examples, exercises (and an annotated answer key), and appendices (including one for writers whose first language is not English), this book is a great resource for anyone who writes (or translates) on the job.

Good Writing Is Good Business is available on Amazon for circa $23.00 at https://www.amazon.ca/dp/09959....

If you would prefer an e-book (PDF, Mobi, or ePub), please visit www.goodbusinesswriter.com. All the e-book versions have a hyperlinked index and are regularly $15.95. For ATIA members, Margaret is offering a discount on the e-books until December 31. You can buy the e-book for the reduced price of $13.25 using the coupon code ATIA2017.

If you would like more information on the book or are interested in bulk orders, please contact Margaret at margaret@goodbusinesswriter.com.

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Improve your English grammar and editing skills by taking a workshop!

Improve your English grammar and editing skills by attending the English Grammar and Punctuation for Language Professionals in Calgary on Saturday, February 10, 2018, or in Edmonton on Saturday, February 24, 2018

Register on our website to attend this information and interactive workshop taught by Margaret Chandler!

Poster: English Grammar And Punctuation For Language Professionals 2018 January

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ATIA Mentorship Program - Call for Certified Member Mentors

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Experience the power of knowledge sharing by becoming an ATIA mentor! 

If you are a certified ATIA member, you have the opportunity to benefit from developing a reciprocal mentorship relationship with an associate ATIA member.

As ATIA is piloting this project, we are currently in the first phase: mentor recruitment. If you are interested in the possibilities below, email our Development Coordinator, Nakita Valerio, at development@atia.ab.ca today to be listed in our online directory as a willing mentor. Associate members can then search mentors in their language combinations.

Both members will agree to the ATIA Letter of Agreement/Understanding and your relationship will be underway!

  • Mentors assess mentee translations and provide feedback
  • Mentees gain insight into the practicalities of translation
  • Mentees may ask mentors to proofread client work
  • Mentors may assign certain texts for translation, may ask for glossaries or research to be conducted, and can provide first-draft translations for students to learn from
  • There is the possibility for a mentorship relationship to count towards ATIA Professional Development Policy requirements (To be announced) in the near future

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Translators & Interpreters Public Information Session

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Currently, ATIA is doing outreach in cultural communities which represent a large demographic of the Albertan population but whose interpretation and translation professionals have yet to be certified with our Association. Certification is crucial for official document and legal translations, and to ensure the highest possible standard for final products. All of our members adhere to the best ethical standards in the profession and are actively sought out by clients in government, industry and the public.

Are you interested in becoming a certified translator and/or interpreter? Are you already doing the necessary work of translation and interpretation in your cultural community? Do you want to start the process of certification or learn more about why it is important?

Join the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) for a public Information Session:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

6:00pm

Jasper Place Edmonton Public Library (9010-156 Street, NW, Edmonton)

At the session we will cover the following subjects:

·         How to get involved in the profession

·         How to serve your community better

·         Why certification matters for professionals

·         The benefits of becoming a certified member of ATIA

·         Career advancement through translation/interpretive services

Refreshments will also be provided. To register, contact ATIA Development Coordinator, Nakita Valerio - development@atia.ab.ca

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ATIA November Social in Edmonton

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The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) is hosting a November Social. Join us to meet and network with other ATIA members, enjoy a delicious meal together, and partake in fun activities.

Please note that the restaurant is completely vegetarian in order to accommodate most food preferences. Allergies can conveyed to the kitchen at the time of ordering.

RSVP to ATIA Development Coordinator, Nakita Valerio, by October 31, 2017: development@atia.ab.ca

Only members who have RSVP'd can attend as our reservation space is limited. Thank you and hope to see you there.

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TransLit 11

The TransLit Editiorial Board, in cooperation with the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) and the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada (LTAC), is proud to invite you to an intimate book launch in celebration of TransLit: Volume 11. POSTER

Thursday, October 26, 2017
6:30pm
Bogani Cafe
2023 111 Street, Edmonton

21 Authors. 22 Translators. 12 Languages.

TransLit 11 is a stunning compilation in celebration of world literature and diverse global cultures. Take a narrative journey with us from the shores of the Americas through Eastern Europe and into the Far East.  

Please note:

  • Copies of TransLit 11 will be available ($20 + GST)
  • Food and beverages will be available for purchase
  • Bogani Cafe is LRT accessible and has public parking

 Please RSVP at https://translit11yeg.eventbri... in order to make arrangements for attendees. There is no cost associated with this event.

TransLit Volume 11 includes texts from twenty-one authors and twenty-two translators in twelve languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, and Vietnamese.

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