Suki Chung is a Chinese and English translator and interpreter working mainly in the field of political and social development issues. Suki recently completed a Masters in translation at Aston University after more than five years of professional experience in Hong Kong, which included translating international news reports for publications such as the Oriental Daily. She will present a paper on the relationship between translation and ideology in British news reports on China at the session for recent graduates on 16th May.
Paul Appleyard is a French to English translator and Director of Manzana Business Solutions Limited, a translation company specialising in work between English and French. He has worked in a range of roles within the industry since finishing his studies in translation over 20 years ago, including Software Support Engineer, Computational Linguist, Terminologist, Translator, and Translation Manager. He is Coordinator of the ITI French Network and will be sharing his experience in a panel discussion called Where to draw the line? on Sunday 17th May.
Iwan Davies is a French and German to English translator and localiser, and one half of the crack team at Translutions Limited. In addition to almost 15 years as a professional translator, Iwan has extensive experience in computer programming, including working with complex file formats and characters conversions. He is also webmaster of the ITI Scottish Network, and is working away behind the scenes as part of the Conference Committee. On Sunday 17th May, he will be part of a panel discussion called Where to draw the line?.
Nick Rosenthal is Managing Director of Salford Translations Ltd. He is a former member of the ITI Council, immediate Past President of the UK chapter of the Society for Technical Communications and sits on the Translation Subcommittee of the OASIS Committee. Nick has also been involved in translator training and professional development since 1989, and is a tutor on the excellent ITI Professional Support Group (PSG), run online for newly-established freelance translators. He will be part of a panel discussion called Where to draw the line? on Sunday 17th.
Richard Gray is CEO of CLS Communication Ltd, the UK subsidiary of one of the world’s largest language service providers CLS Communication AG. He has a degree in French and Philosophy from Bristol University and lived in Madrid for 7 years, where he translated Spanish into English for investment banks on a freelance basis before founding Richard Gray Financial Translations (RGFT) in 1996. With offices in London, Paris and Madrid, RGFT was acquired by CLS Communication in 2004. He is currently the corporate representative on the ITI Council, and on Sunday 17th will speak about setting up a conciliation service within the ITI.
Stefan Mikulin is a freelance interpreter and translator covering French, German, Polish and English. He was trained at the University of Salford in the UK, where he now lectures part time, and the Jagiellonian University in Poland. He is currently studying for the UK’s Diploma in Public Service Interpreting. At the session for recent graduates on 16th May, Stefan will present a paper based on his MA thesis on the evolution of simultaneous interpreting at international criminal tribunals. (If you miss him there, you can also hear Stefan present on this topic at the International Association of Forensic Linguists‘ 9th Biennial Conference in Amsterdam later this year.) Check out the rest of the ITI conference programme here. [Read more…]
Spencer Allman has been a freelance translator of Finnish into English for 18 years. He has given talks to groups of translators on various subjects, including the translation of musical texts, translation revision (the subject of his MA dissertation), and the use of the internet as a translation tool. He is also a tutor on the University of Birmingham’s MA in Translation Studies. Spencer will be presenting a paper on the notion of translational expertise on Sunday 17th May – check out the rest of the conference programme here. [Read more…]
I’m trying a little experiment*. If it works, then we should gain some interesting insights from a number of luminaries in and around the world of translation. If it doesn’t work, well, we might just learn something from that too.
With a background in landscape planning and several years’ freelance experience as a copywriter, editor and desktop publisher, in 2001 Betti Moser decided to qualify as a German translator so she could work from home more often. Currently based in London, Betti talks to us about about setting up a freelance practice, finding clients and marketing yourself as a freelancer. [Read more…]
With nearly a quarter-century executive-level experience in the localisation industry under his belt, Renato Beninatto has been researching and leading the consulting practice of Common Sense Advisory since 2002. Here he offers us a business consultant’s view of freelance translation practitioners, and language service providers (LSPs) in general.
Sarah Dillon: You’ve worked in localisation for many years, and in many different roles. How do you see the role of the translator changing within the industry? What kinds of new tasks or jobs are they taking on?
Renato Beninatto: The role of the translator is the pillar of an important production chain. Nothing happens without the translator. Good translators do not grow in trees. Good translators are scarce and becoming scarcer. Research from storage companies shows that content grows at a rate of more than 50% per year. If you assume – like we at Common Sense Advisory do – that the demand for translation grows at a lower rate of 15% to 20% per year, you would need tens of thousands of translators to come into the market every year, which is not the case.
That brings me to what is changing within the industry. Productivity. LSPs are searching for ways to deal with the dearth of good translators, and therefore investing in technology. Translators will have to find ways to produce 10 thousand words a day, even if that requires them to work with more advanced translation memories and machine translation.
Notice that I always say “good” translators. You can compare translators to wine: There are thousands of varieties of wine, but only a few of them are really good, mostly those that age well and get better as time goes by.
As to what tasks they are taking on, my answer would be that it is irrelevant. Translators are in the service business and they should provide the tasks that their clients request. The mistake is to accept to do tasks for free. If the task or job that you take on reduces your productivity, charge for it. If it increases your productivity, celebrate it. As for the new jobs in the translation business, I would say that telephone interpreting and post-editing of machine translation are up and coming requirements. However, I would avoid asking good translators to do post-editing. That’s something that can be done by non-linguists more efficiently and with less frustration.
SD: I heard you speak at an ATC conference in London once where you said that, when it comes to selling translation, quality doesn’t matter. Can you tell us what this means for translators?
RB: Quality is a given. That’s why I don’t like to talk about it. In my seminars I propose a new paradigm for the translation industry in which everybody is responsible for perfect quality at every stage of the process. It is hard to explain a two hour workshop in a couple of sentences, but in a nutshell today’s model is based on catching errors and on translators expecting that someone is going to review their work and correct mistakes. This is counterproductive, costly, and inefficient. Good translators deliver excellent quality, always. Issues are solved before the job is delivered and the review phase becomes unnecessary. As soon as people understand this, they can start charging more.
SD: What are some other typical business mistakes that you see being made by language service providers in general?
RB: The most typical mistake made by LSPs is to talk too much about themselves. Once LSPs understand that selling is not telling clients about TM, about cents per word or about the translation process, but asking questions about how the client is going to use the translation and how much value the translated version is going to add to the company’s bottom line, then they will see conversations switch from price to value.
SD: Any tips on how owners of ‘micro’ translation businesses could differentiate themselves from their larger counterparts?
RB: One of my favorite comeback stories is from the salesperson from a small LSP with 12 employees that was confronted with the fact that the large LSP that they were competing against had thousands of employees. “How many project managers are you going to work with in the large LSP?” the salesperson asked. “One,” said the client. “Well, that is the same number of project managers you are going to work with at our company.”
This story falls into the sales principle that says that you have to make yourself equal before you make yourself different. Think of that.
SD: Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to freelance translators interested in growing their business?
RB: Value your product and mentor your colleagues. In line with the saying that the rising tide lifts all the boats, if the quality of work of all the players in the market is improved, the image of the market as a whole is improved. One of the characteristics of a good translation is that it is invisible. If the translation is bad, however, everybody notices and talks about it. So, protect your work by educating your peers.
A really interesting perspective on things, Renato – thank you!