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How translation tech is making travel easier

Source: Wired
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Just as services like Google Maps have made it easier to get around, at home or abroad, some advances in translation tech are making it easier to travel in places where one may not know the language.

Right now this translation tech is still in its infancy and primarily eases logistical complexities. With Google Translate, you can point your camera at a street sign to verify it says “Downtown This Way” and not “There Be Dragons.” The same app can quickly translate a menu—if not always perfectly, then well enough to be sure that you’re ordering chicken.

The article goes on to consider how far this technology might improve, up to a future where we’re all wearing earpieces and hearing or being simultaneously interpreted for in our conversations. Sound familiar?

Read more >>

What do you think? Will this eventually be a practical possibility?

Microsoft Translator App now with AI offline services for Android, iOS, Amazon devices

Source: Gadgets 360°
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Microsoft Translator has been upgraded to offer artificial intelligence (AI) powered offline language packs across all Android, iOS, and Amazon Fire devices. The AI-powered offline language packs were previously limited to devices with a dedicated AI chip. However, Microsoft engineers have now leveraged edge computing to bring AI-backed neural machine translation (NMT) to the masses. The Translator team is also in plans to bring the new experience to Windows devices in the coming future.

The Redmond company in 2016 built its NMT model for online use only as it required high-quality translation models. But in 2017, the experience debuted on select Android devices that are equipped with a dedicated AI chip. It brought offline translation quality in line with the quality offered by the original online neural translation model. And now, the Translator team has optimised the initial offline-specific algorithms to bring language packs irrespective of any particular hardware.

Read more >>

Lera Boroditsky on how language shapes the way we think (TED talk)

Source: TED
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Here’s an interesting look at the different ways language may shape the way we think, with some fascinating examples from different languages/cultures around the world:

AI interpreting system gets nervous and has a mistake-laden debut

By: Jared Tabor

Artificial Intelligence is not quite ready to take jobs from capable human interpreters/translators. At the recent Boao Forum for Asia, one company debuted an AI system designed to provide interpreting and transcripts, only to have the system produce a mix of mistranslations, repeated words and garbled characters in the live demonstration.

The makers of the software admitted to the mistakes, pointing out that the AI “is still learning and growing” and would continue to improve over time.

Read more at:

South China Morning Post

Abacus News

Amazon releases its own neural MT service

Source: Amazon
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Amazon announced this month it was releasing “Amazon Translate”. From the announcement:

Today we’re excited to make Amazon Translate generally available. Late last year at AWS re:Invent my colleague Tara Walker wrote about a preview of a new AI service, Amazon Translate. Starting today you can access Amazon Translate in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), and EU (Ireland) with a 2 million character monthly free tier for the first 12 months and $15 per million characters after that. There are a number of new features available in GA: automatic source language inference, Amazon CloudWatch support, and up to 5000 characters in a single TranslateText call.

See more >>

A Translator’s Diary: A Year in the Life of Emma Ramdan

Source: The Quarterly Conversation
Story flagged by: Hend Saeed

“What is it like to live day-to-day as a translator? What are the worries and the stresses, the pleasures and the reliefs? How does a translator get by, and where do her projects fit into the rest of her life? In this new year-long feature, translator Emma Ramdan gives us some answers by keeping an open diary about a year her life.”

http://quarterlyconversation.com/a-translators-diary-a-year-in-the-life-of-emma-ramadan

Interpreters need to learn from actors

By: Claudia Brauer

Interpreting in 2018 is becoming progressively more of an audiovisual experience in remote encounters, than the face-to-face meetings of the past. As such, in my opinion, there is one issue that interpreters of the 21st century need now more than ever: EMPATHY, the ability to understand and SHARE the feelings of another human being.

As a trained actor from my days of youth, I believe that many of the techniques that are used by actors should be used by remote interpreters; as conduits of the thoughts of another being, those thoughts never exist in a vacuum. Thoughts are intimately related not only to our culture and the patterns of our society but also to our feelings, for thoughts control feelings (and feelings influence thoughts).


Good actors make us suspend disbelief and see THROUGH them the character that they are portraying. We see those “other” human beings (they portray) in all their strength and frailty because the actors are able to get themselves “out of the way” and BECOME a true conduit of the thoughts and feelings of the character they portray.

Good actors, therefore, achieve selfless results (i.e., we see “another” instead of the actor) by developing total EMPATHY for their character. So too, it is my belief, that we, as interpreters, are conduits for the expression of another’s words and feelings. In that sense, it is too little to ask that we “simply” convey words. We MUST convey the words in total accuracy, but we must ALSO convey the thoughts and feelings that are attached to those words. EMPATHY allows us to do so, or at least to try our best. It is this human-ness that will indeed separate us from the likes of bilingual Siris!


In accordance with the website “Skillsyouneed.com“:

Empathy is, at its simplest, awareness of the feelings and emotions of other people. It is a key element of Emotional Intelligence, the link between self and others, because it is how we as individuals understand what others are experiencing as if we were feeling it ourselves…

Three Types of Empathy

Psychologists have identified three types of empathy: cognitive empathy, emotional empathy and compassionate empathy.

Cognitive empathy is understanding someone’s thoughts and emotions, in a very rational, rather than emotional sense.

Emotional empathy is also known as emotional contagion, and is ‘catching’ someone else’s feelings, so that you literally feel them too.

Compassionate empathy is understanding someone’s feelings, and taking appropriate action to help.


So, how do we develop EMPATHY? There are many techniques and exercises. I found some very interesting by Martha Beck, appropriately called The Empathy Workout:

[Excerpts]

EXERCISE 1: LEARNING TO LISTEN

…start with conversation. Once a day, ask a friend, “How are you?” in a way that says you mean it. If they give you a stock answer (“Fine”), repeat the question: “No, really. How are you?” You’ll soon realize that if your purpose is solely to understand, rather than to advise or protect, you can work a kind of magic: In the warmth of genuine caring, people open up like flowers….

EXERCISE 2: REVERSE ENGINEERING

Some mechanical engineers spend their time disassembling machines to see how they were originally put together. You can use a similar technique to develop empathy, by working backward from the observable effects of emotion to the emotion itself. Think of someone you’d like to understand…Remember a recent interaction… Now imitate, as closely as you can, the physical posture, facial expression, exact words, and vocal inflection they used during that encounter. Notice what emotions arise within you. What you feel will probably be very close to whatever the other person was going through…

EXERCISE 3: SHAPE-SHIFTING

In folklore, shape-shifters are beings with the ability to become anyone or anything. As a child, I was fascinated by this concept and used to pretend that I could instantaneously switch places with other people, animals, even inanimate objects… I recommend you try it, soon. See that strange man in the orange polyester suit putting 37 packets of sweetener into his extra-grande mochaccino with soy milk? What if— zap!—you suddenly switched bodies with him? What would it be like to wear that suit, that face, that physique? What impulse would lead to sugaring a cup of coffee like that, let alone drinking it?

EXERCISE 4: METTA-TATION

World-class empathizers…conduct a daily regimen of metta, or lovingkindness, meditation. This involves focusing all of one’s attention on a certain individual and offering loving wishes to that person with each breath you take, for several minutes at a time. Classic metta practice starts with your own sweet self. For five minutes, with each breath, offer yourself kind thoughts… Then switch the focus of your kind thoughts onto a friend or family member. When you feel a sense of emotional union with that person, target someone you barely know….


ACTION ITEM: Give it a try!

[Originally posted on WordPress by Claudia Brauer (BrauerTraining)]

https://claudiabrauer.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/new-beginnings-interpreting/

Five Spanish novels about translators available in English

Source: ASYMPTOTE
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

If you are interested in reading fiction where translators are among the protagonists, you may want to check out this review of five different novels, originally written in Spanish but also available in an English translation:

https://www.asymptotejournal.com/blog/2018/03/28/on-translators-in-translation-spanish-novels-about-translators-available-in-english-translation/

Advice on standing out in translation and interpreting, from the ATA Chronicle

Source: The ATA Chronicle
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

Lists of things you need to do to get/be/become something else usually contain at least a few pieces of advice we already know. But it can be beneficial to remind ourselves of those things every now and then, to stop and think about what we could be doing differently. A recent article in the ATA Chronicle discusses nine strategies for standing out to potential clients and collaborators: http://www.atanet.org/chronicle-online/featured/nine-ways-to-stand-out-in-the-translation-and-interpreting-industry/#sthash.MOkLRezD.dpbs

What do you think? What would you add to (or subtract from) that list?

- Jared

The Economist on languages in films

Source: The Economist
Story flagged by: Marjolein Snippe

The Economist has a fortnightly feature on language and linguistics which is often interesting and/or amusing. Last week’s issue advocated for more foreign languages in Hollywood movies.

https://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21738861-use-xhosa-black-panther-gave-it-foreign-flair-directors-can-be

New log in options for ProZ.com with Google, Facebook and LinkedIn

By: Jared Tabor

In case you had not noticed, you can now log in to your ProZ.com account using your Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn credentials.

These log in options are provided to make it easier to jump to your ProZ.com account, or to access your account in the event of a forgotten password.

If you run a website or application and would like to allow your users the option of signing in with their ProZ.com accounts, you can find out how here.

Marketing for freelance translators and interpreters who hate marketing

By: Jared Tabor

no_more_wheat_karen

recent survey of freelancers centered around their marketing efforts showed some interesting finds:

  • 55% of freelancers spend 3 hours a week on their online marketing efforts
  • 51% of respondents considered marketing too time-consuming, and 41% felt marketing was too costly
  • 83% are investing financially in online marketing of some sort
  • 72% say they are spending less than but up to 100 USD a month in marketing (those who spend more than that report earning more)
  • The average survey respondent had reached their income goal within two years of starting out

The survey sample were some 2,000 US freelancers of all types, so it is reasonable to expect those numbers to be somewhat different if we narrow it down to translators and interpreters, expand the sample to other countries, or both.

One number in particular that caught my eye was the monthly investment in marketing. 100 USD a month sounded pretty steep to me, but maybe I’m wrong. 1,200 USD in freelancer marketing a year. Do you spend that much on your marketing? If so, drop me a line, I’d be very interested in hearing about it and if you find it to be a good investment.

If you are already a paying ProZ.com member, you are spending between 12 and 18 dollars a month on marketing through your membership, though you get all the rest of the tools and opportunities available along with it. It’s a kind of marketing that is easy to do, what we’d call passive marketing.

Be an ant, not a grasshopper

For some kinds of work, sending CVs, applications, emails, calling or meeting potential clients, printing business cards or flyers, posting ads, and all of that active marketing, can be effective. Many freelance translators and interpreters find that kind of marketing tiring, frustrating, and also expensive, both in terms of money and time. You’d rather be translating or interpreting, right?

You may have to rush to do active marketing if you suddenly find yourself short on clients or workload. This tends to happen when a freelancer has no kind of marketing in place while they are fully-booked, a bit like the grasshopper who watched the ant stock up for winter, unworried during the summer because food was plentiful, and then sorely unprepared for the winter.

Passive marketing is your ant stocking up for winter. It can help save you from the unexpected, even though work might be plentiful now. And sometimes it’s a gateway to new opportunities that can pop up and replace what you’ve got going on with something even better.

Where is your shop window?

As I said, passive marketing is easier to do, if you do it right, and the time/monetary investment is quite different too. It basically consists of opening up a brightly-lit shop window (your online presence) on a bustling street. Many people walk by, window shopping, but if your shop has the right goods (your services, expertise, samples, things that make you stand out), shoppers will pop in to look and talk to you. Some will be interested in buying now, some will simply make a note of your shop for when they do need what you have to offer.

Where is that bustling street, though? Well, ProZ.com is one of them. You should have a professional online presence in any serious work-related venue for language professionals (a profile on LinkedIn, for example). But since ProZ.com is the busiest street when it comes to searching for and finding language professionals, if you are not figuring there as prominently as possible, you are definitely missing out on client contact. So that ProZ.com membership, roughly the cost of a new pair of shoes per year, is all you need to keep your shop window on the busiest street in the industry.
where_is_your_shop
Check your directory ranking in your top language pair and area of expertise. What page of the results are you on? How many pages of results will your ideal client browse through to get to you? They say, “The best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google search results.” Directory results work in a similar way. Chances are, by the time a client has gone a few pages in, they’ve already found the people they are looking for.

Don’t waste my time

Now, when I say “online presence” I don’t mean having a profile registered on a place and having the bare minimum of information filled out there. Nowadays, if I’m looking for a service/service provider online, I don’t even look twice at people who have not put some time investment into presenting their services. No picture? No thanks. No real name? See ya. No details about the services you offer or why I should choose you? Don’t waste my time! This is where the time investment comes in. It’s mostly an up-front investment. Put in the time to craft that presentation, then go do whatever else you want, and let it go to work for you in the background.

Now think about your two biggest clients…

I’ve got all the clients I can handle right now, no need, you might say. OK! But how many times would you try to go back to a shop that was closed every time you went there?

Now, think about your two biggest clients. Would you be in trouble if tomorrow, through no fault of your own, you lost those two clients? If so, why not put your shop window out there, and occasionally field an inquiry from an interested potential client? The worst that can happen is that you’ll make some new contacts while you’re working, and heaven forbid your fully-booked status should change, you’ll have some good leads to work with.

What’s in your shop window?

Now go over to your ProZ.com profile. At the top of your profile you will see a link to “Force visitor view”. Click on that. What you see is what any visitor to your profile will see when they are evaluating working with you. Put yourself in the shoes, or eyes, of your ideal client. Does what you see there look professional, attractive, keep your interest, “sell” you on the idea of contacting this person with a work offer? Does it speak to that person’s strengths, what makes them different from the competition?

shop_window
By the way, if you are looking for ways to build, update, or fine tune your online presentation, many of the same principles of decorating a real shop window apply! Thinking about it this way may also help get your creative juices going. If you need some inspiration, you can find some pointers here:
https://www.appearhere.co.uk/inspire/blog/how-to-dress-your-shop-window

Survey results on freelancing and marketing

By: Jared Tabor

A survey of freelancers and the results were recently published by Wise Brand. The company focuses on providing marketing services, so the survey is mostly centered on marketing efforts and results. Some of the numbers:

  • 55% of freelancers spend 3 hours a week on their online marketing efforts
  • 51% of respondents considered marketing too time-consuming, and 41% felt marketing was too costly
  • 83% are investing financially in online marketing of some sort
  • 72% say they are spending less than 100 USD a month in marketing
  • The average survey respondent had reached their income goal within two years of starting out

You can read more in this article on Entrepreneur: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/308524

Or see the report by Wise Brand: http://wisebrand.co/state-of-the-freelance-nation-survey/press-release/

How do these results compare with your own experience? Are numbers like these likely to be very different among freelance language professionals specifically?

New report highlights issues of quality and availability of interpreting services in Denmark

Source: CPH Post Online
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

A new and critical report from the Danish national auditor Rigsrevisionen has drawn attention to serious deficiencies among interpreters employed by a number of government bodies, including the police and the health sector.

Danish police forces are obliged to use interpreters chosen from an approved list, but the report shows the majority of them don’t satisfy the criteria laid down by the Justice Ministry.

Among other things, the ministry stipulates that interpreters ought to have a long academic education in linguistics or speak the language as their mother tongue – as well as being able to speak and write Danish fluently.

In practice, the burden of evaluating an interpreter’s capabilities falls on the ordinary police officer who is unable to speak the language in question.

Data in the report shows that in the health sector, almost every fourth employee has experienced a situation in which a course of treatment or examination has been postponed or delayed because of either a lack of or inadequate interpreters.

Read more >>

App for freelancers seeking coworking options in their area

By: Jared Tabor

Croissant is an app that allows its members to try out nearby coworking spaces at a reduced cost. In exchange for a monthly subscription, users can book participating coworking spaces depending on the number of hours they plan to use, with the option to rollover unused hours.

If you are into coworking or have been thinking of trying it out and you live in or near one of the 40 cities that are currently covered, this might be worth checking out. They offer a free seven-day trial to test drive the service.

Read more on Business Insider at http://www.businessinsider.com/croissant-coworking-space-app-review-2018-3

Or on the Croissant website at https://www.getcroissant.com/

Dealing with PDF files during a translation project

By: Nancy Matis

Dealing with the translation of PDF files could turn into a nightmare during some translation projects. Getting them without their source files often causes trouble that would probably have not arisen if clients had sent the text in its original format. So why do some customers send PDF files for translation? There’s certainly not just one answer to this question. What can we do when there is no chance of receiving the source files? Should we charge more when working on PDF files? This article explores some aspects of handling PDFs during a translation project.

http://blog.peempip.gr/dealing-with-pdf-files/

Creation of Interpretation Technologies Alliance announced

Source: PressWire
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

At the recent GALA conference, the creation of a non-profit initiative focused on the interpreting industry was announced: The Interpretation Technologies Alliance.

From their press release:

Globalization requires multilingual communication. Multinationals and cross-border investors are turning to a new generation of on-demand simultaneous interpreting solutions to connect with foreign partners, experts, employees, and customers. This trend, combined with the rise of cloud-based unified communications services and increased interest in AI-powered translation, inspired the alliance’s founding members to take action.

“As more of the world’s meetings take place in the cloud, it is important to make them effortlessly multilingual,” said Barry Slaughter Olsen, a professor of interpretation at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) and co-founder of industry trade group InterpretAmerica. “The ITA brings together passionate entrepreneurs and technologists to solve this problem and accelerate market adoption,” he continued.

The founding members are Boostlingo, Cadence Translate, Headvox, KUDO, Voiceboxer, and ZipDX. In the coming weeks and months, the alliance will work to highlight use cases of interpreting technology through private sector trade shows and industry media, with a focus on fast-growth and non-traditional sources of demand, including the financial services, high-tech and transportation industries.

“There is a wealth of knowledge and insight lying just across the language barrier,” says Jonathan Rechtman, co-founder of Cadence Translate and interim director and secretary of the alliance. “ITA showcases the technology and talent that can deliver tremendous value to international investors and managers.”

“ITA is dedicated to expand the size of multilingual meetings,” adds Fardad Zabetian, CEO and founder of KUDO, “the number of decentralized meetings has been growing and we are passionate to add language capabilities to those meetings.”

The alliance is recruiting an executive director, and interested parties can learn more at the alliance’s website, which launches today at www.itaglobal.org.

Applications for new members will open later this year. A waitlist can be joined by emailing membership@itaglobal.org. Clients interested in using cloud-based interpretation solutions are encouraged to contact Jonathan Rechtman at jonathan@itaglobal.org.

See full press release >>

[Podcast] Everything a freelance translator needs to get things done – Interview with Caroline Bries, episode 163 of Marketing Tips for Translators

Source: Marketing Tips for Translators
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

In this episode we talk about a new tool for freelance translators. I am all for efficiency and organization, but I am also quite lazy, and have struggled keeping track of my projects, number of words and how valuable different projects have been for me, how long they took etc. But now there is a tool that is super easy to use, that does all this for me, and much more. I interview the co-founder and co-creator of the tool Caroline Bries.

Important things mentioned in this episode:

  • LSP.expert as a project management tool for freelance translators
  • All the functions in LSP.expert – quoting, job tracking, expenses, income, reports, invoicing, outsourcing, timer and much more
  • Security and support for LSP.expert

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

  • LSP.expert
  • Review of LSP.Expert by Silver Tongue Translations
  • LSP.Experts Facebook page
  • How LSP.Expert revolutionized my business – Review on The Open Mic

Listen to the interview >>

Netflix closes its Hermes test platform for subtitler screening (at least for now)

Source: Netflix
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

The Hermes platform to screen potential subtitlers for Netflix, released last year, has already closed– at least temporarily– as it has apparently reached its maximum capacity of applicants:

Netflix

You have reached the site to register and start the Netflix subtitling test, Hermes.We have reached our capacity for each one of the language tests due to the rapid popularity and response from applicants all over the world.

Therefore we are closing the platform to future testing at this time.

Did you take the Hermes test? What was your experience?

Translators without Borders announces winners in the 2018 Access to Knowledge Awards

Source: Translators without Borders
Story flagged by: Jared Tabor

The Access to Knowledge Awards are presented annually to top contributors supporting the Translators without Borders mission. These award winners are leading the effort to ensure vulnerable people have access to vital knowledge in local languages. These awards are the preeminent honor given by Translators without Borders to those from the humanitarian, development and language sectors working in the field of communications in the right language.

The awards, which honor volunteers, donors, and non-profit partners, are given within six categories: Right to Knowledge Award for a translator or translation company who has translated humanitarian content with Translators without Borders; Excellence Award for an individual who has volunteered ‘above and beyond’ in supporting Translators without Borders; Empowerment Award for an individual or organization who has helped train or mentor new translators; Communicator of the Year for an individual who builds awareness of the need to increase access to knowledge; Humanitarian Communicator for a non-profit that exemplifies increased access to information in the right language; and Donor Award for an individual or organization that has significantly contributed to the financial health of Translators without Borders.

Congratulations to ProZ.com member Gladis Audi, on the French Translation Team receiving the Empowerment Award, and to Ashutosh Mitra, Monika Saraf and Bhashna Gupta, receiving honorable mention as part of the eCancer Hindi team.

See the full awards announcement >>



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