We at the NYCT Gotham Translator hope all members have been enjoying the new interactive newsletter that was implemented this January.
We are always striving to bring current and informative information to members of the Circle. Staying informed of local events, new CAT tools and the industry in general helps us all improve our skills in the profession.
This issue includes not only our usual meeting recaps and regular fare but also articles on working abroad, in order to take advantage of summer and two articles from FIT.
FIT (the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs/International Federation of Translators) is an international grouping of associations of translators, interpreters and terminologists. More than 100 professional associations are affiliated, representing over 80,000 translators in 55 countries. The goal of the Federation is to promote professionalism in the disciplines it represents. We should all be aware of organizations that work for our interests.
We hope you enjoy this issue. Should you wish to write an article please send us your article or e-mail us to discuss your idea.
Reprinted with gracious permission of the author and “interaktiv” the newsletter of the German Language Division
Have you ever thought about leaving the confines of your home office and setting up shop at some exotic locale without being afraid of missing out on lucrative projects? It’s doable! If you like to travel, as I do, there’s always that nagging feeling of missing out on jobs if you’re away from home for too long. I have no qualms about turning down small stuff to enjoy a vacation, but if I get an offer too good to pass up while I’m away – and this has happened more than once – I don’t like to say no. That’s one reason why I never travel without my laptop.
When I started out in this business almost 20 years ago, I even brought along some of my basic dictionaries – Bunjes, Romain, Dietl-Lorenz and Ernst, in both language directions – in hardback! It made for some heavy lifting. Technology has come a long way in the past two decades, and now traveling and working at the same time is a breeze. No more lugging hardback dictionaries. Nowadays, all I need is an electrical outlet and an Internet connection at my destination. I still bring along the CD-ROM dictionaries, just in case, but they don’t take up much space in my backpack. When I go on the road, an indispensable tool is a high-volume thumb drive with all my files backed up on it, and Dropbox of course.
I always bring a multiple-outlet adapter plug, because many hotel rooms don’t have enough outlets for my gadgets, and if I go overseas, an adapter set for the country I’m going to. And then I hope for WiFi at my destination (unless an Internet stick works). But even that hurdle has be-come much lower in recent years. If in need, Starbucks is your friend. Not only for a Grande Soy Latte but also for free WiFi. As are many other places. During my recent pre-Christmas trip to Germany and the Frankfurt Wei-hnachtsmarkt, I dashed into the Apple store on Fressgasse and tapped into their WiFi to send off an urgent file to a client. Another decidedly not frivolous ex-pense is the annual membership fee for the United Air-lines Red Carpet Club. I’ve recouped it many times over by being able to retreat there and work during layovers. With my traveling routine honed over the years, I’ve worked from some pretty interesting locations recently.
A couple of years ago, I spent time on the Greek Island of Kythera, the home of Aphrodite, goddess of love, beauty and sexuality. According to Greek mythology, she emerged from the foams of the Aegean at Paleopolis beach after Cronus cut off Uranus’ genitals and cast them into the sea. Sigh. I arrived in a less dramatic fashion, on the one daily commuter flight from Athens, Greece.
Kythera (pop. 3,000) is about 50 miles long and 35 miles wide and mostly undeveloped. From the air, it’s all volcanic rock terrain and olive groves. Narrow two-lane roads snake all over the island. There are no chain hotels, shopping centers, fast-food restaurants, or highways. The airport is about half the size of a Wal-Mart or Costco. Life happens primarily al fresco, in the town squares and on the side streets, where brightly painted tables and chairs are set up in front of every building and shop. That’s where the locals sit for hours and drink coffee, play backgammon, or simply talk to each other in the most unhurried fashion.
My temporary office was al fresco as well: The sun-kissed patio of an apartment located only a two-minute walk from the scenic beach in Capsali. That’s where every day started under palm, fig and pomegranate trees, with strong Greek coffee, delicious yoghurt that came in big earthenware pots, and fresh fruit and sweet rolls. Lunch was often whatever Panagiotis, the fisherman who lived next door, hauled in that morning.
Mornings were spent at the beach (armed with iPhone and iPad) or sightseeing. Shopping on Kythera was an experience reminiscent of a different era. The local general store seemed right out of an old Western movie, with merchandise stacked to the ceiling, an earthy smell, and two sales clerks behind sturdy wooden counters, note pads in hand, ready to wait on customers.
The island soon became a kaleidoscope of colors, tastes and fragrances: Sweet smelling fennel, hardy rosemary and thyme, and soothing chamomile, all growing wild and giving off their alluring aromas. The fig and olive trees were laden with fruit ripe enough to be pulled off, and people did so freely. Mouth-watering scents wafted from bakeries, with owners readily offering samples of almond cookies and lemon squares fresh out of the oven. A sales clerk in a souvenir shop insisted on giving me a small gift, some fennel seeds wrapped in gauze and tied with a pretty ribbon, which required some explaining to the customs agents at Dulles Airport (“Really, they’re just fennel seeds!”).
I hadn’t planned for the trip to be a working vacation, but couldn’t resist when a huge job fell into my lap. So huge, in fact, that it paid for my entire vacation and then some. The time difference was an advantage –by the time clients in the U.S. started their day, it was afternoon in Greece and I’d already been to the beach and back. I liked the Greece working vacation so much that I’ve repeated it several times since.
Last May, I spent time in Costa Rica, meeting up with a friend and colleague from Munich. We worked part of the day from a comfy B&B in Escazu, and explored the island, local cuisine and nightlife at night and on the weekends.
In late August, I spent a week in Wyoming – another unplanned working vacation. I’d gone there for a writer’s workshop and to visit a friend when a big job arrived. So big that it again more than paid for the vacation. I simply couldn’t say no. This time, my workplace was even more scenic: A quaint log cabin in Wilson, WY (pop. 214), way out in the country (17 miles to the closest supermarket), where I set up my makeshift workstation on a rustic wrap-around porch that has a history: It’s where the Walton’s congregated in the evenings on the famous Seventies’ TV show. Now my friend Nanci, a writer, lives there with her horse Dallas and dog Story.
Working from her porch the beauty of the scenery took my breath away: Munger Mountain, covered with wild rosemary and sagebrush, and vast wide-open spaces everywhere. No TV, no city noises like squealing brakes or sirens, and breathtaking starry nights. Granted, it was a bit tedious having to walk out into the pasture to get reception on the iPhone, but the heavenly silence, broken only by an occasional chain saw, elk’s bugle or barking dog, was well worth it. Again, I alternated working and sightseeing during the day, and played at night – I even learned to dance the Texas Two-Step at the famous Cowboy Bar in Jackson, WY (I hope my dance partners’ toes have recovered by now!).
Traveling and working at the same time is not doable for everyone. It was not an option for me when I still had a husband and kids living at home, or taught ESL at night. But now, it definitely is an option, and one I like to exercise as often as possible. My motto is: Work hard, play hard!
My first trip of the New Year will be to Snow Shoe, West Virginia. Needless to say, I’ve already made sure that there’s high-speed Internet at our cabin :). On the road again …
Reprinted with gracious permission from the author and “interaktiv” the newsletter of the German Language Division
Sharing my experience of working from England for six weeks this past summer while my husband reconnected with the capital city of his homeland elicited the question: “Why don’t you share your experience with other GLD members in interaktiv?” Uh….. okay. As I thought about it, I realized this was already the second time I’ve done this, both times to England, and I’m hoping to replicate the experience in Germany this summer!
The plan was simple. I would (kinda) work normal hours while my husband, who really was on vacation, took in the surroundings on his own. We would do things together in the evenings and on weekends, exploring our new temporary “home” – and the six-week stay was sufficient to afford me some time off, too! It worked out great for the most part. I even ended up taking two of the six weeks off myself, but the earnings from those four weeks certainly made the whole effort worth it – and my bonus was a very happy husband!
So now you might be asking how exactly I went about this, right? The most important part was finding a place to stay that offered unlimited wifi access and sufficient space to set up a mini-office. After some research, I ended up using www.airbnb.com and we found a flat pretty central in London that we rented for the duration. Airbnb has a payment system that goes through them and does not pass on to the owner until 24 hours after you arrive giving you a chance to complain if it is not what was advertised. Also, we were able to use a credit card, which was a relief after the rather unpleasant experience in 2010 the first time we booked an extended stay in England. That time I used www.homeaway.co.uk, but unfortunately we got burned on that one. Our reservation was cancelled just two weeks before we were to leave and had already paid in full. I’ve heard the safety net for that site has improved immensely in the meantime, but being burned once meant I was extra careful the second time. For full disclosure, I should add that in 2010 we managed to hunt down the woman and listen to her “sob story,” and she at least paid back 80% of what we had paid, but only after that meeting. Who says travelling isn’t an adventure!
The next thing you need to think about is your workstation. The first time I took my laptop, giving up a second monitor for the duration, but by this time I had transferred to the Mac Mini, so I was able to take my “desktop” computer with portable keyboard and mouse and arranged to have a monitor made available by a brother-in-law. I’ll admit that adjusting from my now three monitors at home took some getting used to, but it’s a small price to pay to work abroad for six weeks – and I managed my workload just fine under the circumstances.
Meanwhile at the ATA 55th Annual Conference in Chicago someone introduced me to a USB monitor that’s portable, so now I won’t even need to organize that in the future! As we look on to another “work”cation this summer in Germany, my new scheme is to use websites that help people find other people to “house-sit.” It appears to be a great way to significantly lower housing expenses. My plan is to build a profile on several sites that do this and see if we can get any “gigs.” I’ve read about other people who do this, so I’m hoping we can succeed, too. To be continued…. 🙂
When Anna Stout was 19 years old, she started a non-profit called Foundation for Cultural Exchange, which offered American college students cultural exchange trips to El Salvador and academic scholarships to Salvadoran students. Almost eleven years later, the organization is still a major part of her life. She currently works as a Spanish>English certified translator and state certified interpreter and teaches Translation and Interpreting courses at Colorado Mesa University and the Community College of Aurora. Last year, she published a book called El Salvador: Lessons on Love and Resilience about the path the non-profit has taken her on and all the bumps and successes along the way. You can find out more about her work here: http://www.fceelsalvador.org/
1) What made you want to start the Foundation for Cultural Exchange?
When I returned from my first trip to El Salvador, I felt a genuine void in my heart. Going back to “life as I knew it” was difficult and I—along with a number of my travel companions from that first trip—wanted to do something to maintain the connection with this community that had so generously and selflessly welcomed us into their homes. We wanted to ensure that there was an organization in place to bring structure and continuity to the sister city relationship between the communities of El Espino, Cuscatlán, El Salvador and Grand Junction, Colorado.
2) Who were your mentors when you started out in the translation and interpreting field?
One of my college professors, Dr. Tom Acker, was instrumental in pushing me out of the college nest and getting me started as a “real” interpreter for local nonprofits. After that, the two managing interpreters in the judicial districts where I worked as a new interpreter, Jeannette Finlayson and Maria Deleo, took me under their wings and taught me the ropes of court interpreting. I also met Tony Rosado at the ATA conference in Denver in 2010 and I credit him with bringing me into the profession beyond my home districts and making me feel part of something much bigger. He gave me the confidence to submit proposals to regional and national conferences, and later run for the CAPI board.
3) Our May monthly meeting is dedicated to translators who interpret and interpreters who translate: linguists who, despite the pressure to specialize, ended up doing both and enjoying every minute of it. Do you consider yourself a translator or an interpreter? Does one enrich the other?
I consider myself as much a translator as an interpreter, though I definitely started out as an interpreter. There is a very symbiotic relationship between the two fields. I have found that translating has taught me a lot about terminology, research, and the proper use of both languages, which helps me to be a better interpreter. On the other hand, interpreting has taught me on-your-feet problem-solving strategies and given me better language intuition, which makes me a better translator. So I think both skills are interrelated and enrich each other.
4) Congratulations on the recent publication of your book, El Salvador:Lessons on Love and Resilience. What do you envision yourself doing in five years?
Thank you so much. It was a very special achievement for me. I have no idea what the next five years will bring, but I will definitely still be active in the language industry, traveling at every chance I get, and hopefully watching my kiddos in El Salvador doing great things. Maybe I’ll be working on another book, or starting a new organization. Who knows? But I’ll undoubtedly be keeping busy!
Last April, Sarah Grey gave a highly engaging and informative presentation on social media and marketing tools for freelancers, sharing insights from her time as project manager and her early days as a freelancer. This year, she expanded her presentation to include more marketing and professional networking strategies and advice on building client relationships and handling dry spells. She took several breaks for Q&A sessions, which gave the meeting a nice pace.
Sarah emphasized creating a specific brand that answered the questions “Who are you,” “What do you offer” and “Who are your target clients,” which have to be front-and-center on your business card and website. This is the elevator speech a freelancer tells everyone they meet because they never knew where their next job will come from.
With regard to the debate on specializing versus not specializing, Sarah said that doing as much as possible for as many people as possible may not pay well. Freelancers have to consider what non-obvious skills they could transfer to their business. For example, Sarah received the most referrals for political science-related books. Sometimes, the work finds you and all you had to do was take it.
Every freelancer has a client portfolio. According to The Freelancer’s Bible by Sara Horowitz, the blue chips are the clients that cover your bills – the ones you need to keep happy. Then, there are the jobs you enjoy the most, but don’t pay as well. The Hailey’s clients, as Sarah called them, come around once every 80 years and are not a dependable source of income. The one-offs (a résumé, a website) aren’t worth a lot of your time and energy because they aren’t likely to come back. The cattle calls are low-paying jobs advertised on Craigslist and freelancing sites. Its fine to take them when you’re starting out and have a hole in your schedule, but you can’t count on them. The new ventures are jobs you try just to see what would happen. When deciding to take one, consider where you want to be in five years and if you still want to be doing what you’re doing.
Freelancers can grow their business by obtaining testimonials and referrals and expanding their client relationships. All you have to do is ask people in your network if they know someone who has a need for the kind of work you do. If your client comes back to you with words of appreciation, ask them for a few sentences to put on your website or LinkedIn profile. To expand your business, tell your client about the range of services you offer. We assume that clients know these things about us, but they’re not giving us that much thought if they’re happy. You have to make sure our clients like you and be pleasant, prompt and easy to deal with. To build a relationship, you can go visit them in person. Sarah advised not talking about work too much and letting it come up naturally. You can ask things like “How did you end up in the language industry?” and look for points of connection.
Some print marketing tools you can use to find new clients are business cards (which are expected these days), a résumé, brochures and gifts. Your résumé must be well-formatted and free of grammatical errors. It should focus on what you’ve achieved rather than your duties. Freelancers should target their résumés and have separate ones organized around skill sets and client needs.
Brochures are going out of fashion. They’re useful to those who market their services at conventions, book fairs and language fairs, but you have to weigh their utility against their cost. As for gifts, pens are particularly great for getting your name out.
Every freelancer must decide how much of a website they need. Even if you work with agencies, having one means you’re a professional. Having a separate page for each service you offer (translation, editing, etc.) means you’ll come up in Google searches. The kinds of clients you’re trying to reach will determine your level of formality. It’s easy for someone to sell you an expensive website you don’t need. You can limit yourself to basic information. You may not be able to publish the names of your clients and projects due to signed Non-Disclosure Agreements, but you should if you can.
When posting on social media, you have to consider the value you offer readers. Reading about your latest project or product doesn’t do anything for them. Your post should hold their attention. If you post things that are interesting in your field, the client will think: When I have a job, I’ll go to that person. Helping people who ask questions on listservs and forums builds your reputation in the long run. Networking is all about the long run. Freelancers should understand their social media platforms (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest), list their services in business directories and post local ads. Sarah uses Facebook to drive traffic to her website. She recommended going to neighborhood meetings and having your elevator speech ready. A lot of people would prefer to work with someone local.
Sarah also cited Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business by Louise Harnby as a great resource.
In conclusion, she shared her networking tenets: giving, not getting, building a reputation, offering expertise, creating community and forging professional connections.
The following is a reprint from Translatio, the FIT Newsletter. FIT is an international organization for translators, interpreters and terminologists.
The FIT Council held its first meeting in late March after the Berlin Congress. The meeting took place in Baku, a city of over 2 million people and capital of Azerbaijan, at the invitation of the AGTA association. Two days of intense work were just barely enough to deal with current questions and define the new Council’s direction and priorities.
At the heart of the discussion: committees and task forces
The committees and task forces are key elements of FIT. Through them, FIT drives its actions, communicates and gets involved for the good of the translation and interpreting profession.
The Statutory Congress 2014 modified the rules for committees and set up some task forces to improve efficiency. For the most part, the former committees had very wide and sometimes nebulous objectives, often too ambitious for a small team of volunteers. The new task forces will have more limited and well-defined tasks to be completed within a fairly short time frame (from 6 months to a year, renewable where necessary). The teams will have a simplified structure so as to become operational quickly. Once the work is completed, the task force will be disbanded and its members free to take part in another assignment. In this way, participation in a task force is no longer unlimited, as was the case previously. This new formula enables each person to know exactly the length of their commitment and the precise task to be undertaken.
Some permanent committees will be retained when there is no imposed time limit. However, to renew the teams and maintain the work dynamics, there will be a call for applications and elections every 3 years, and the 2008 limit of three 3-year terms is retained. In the Committees and Task Forces article below, you will find details on the committees and task forces that the Council wants to create and in which you are invited to participate.
FIT Europe and FIT North America have held general meetings and elected new committee chairs. Natacha Dalügge- Momme is the new president of FIT Europe and Michel Parent, the president of FIT North America, the rules and regulations of which have also been approved.
Next Congress at Brisbane
Alison Rodriguez, Council member, confirms the dates of the Statutory Congress (1 and 2 August 2017) and Open Congress (from 3 to 5 August 2017). Preparations are well in hand and the main themes have been set. These include ethics in translation, literature and the postmodern world, transcreation, political language, indigenous languages, new and emerging languages, and sign languages.
Topics presented at the last Statutory Congress
Several proposals requiring modifications to the by-laws could not be voted on at the Statutory Congress because they were not communicated to members two months before Congress. One of the proposals concerned the staggered renewal of Council members (ITI proposal) to avoid the departure and accession of the whole Council at each Congress. Alan Melby and Sabine Colombe will prepare a plan for the staggered accession (annual) of recently elected councillors.
GALA: FIT’s president was the first to have been invited to the GALA conference in early March this year in Seville (Spain). Informal contacts will be followed up.
DFKI: The Institute for Artificial Intelligence
Research in Germany is also working on automatic translation. It has approached FIT, asking it to participate in this project by making its network of translators available to assess the quality of automatic translation and compare it with that of a human translator. A framework contract has just been signed. Ordinary members will be contacted in due course to suggest translators who are interested in participating (remunerated).
EC meeting: 6 October 2015 in Peru
Council meeting: March 2016 in Paris
EC meeting: Xi’an, APTIF Forum, May
2016; in Havana, December 2016