THE RISING TIDE OF FRAUDULENT JOBS IN THE TRANSLATION INDUSTRY

Fraud within the translation industry has reached unprecedented levels, with scammers proliferating at an alarming rate. Recent statistics reveal a disturbing trend, indicating a surge in fraudulent activities targeting translators and interpreters! In the past three months alone, I have encountered three fraudulent translation job offers, plus another one just today! underscoring the severity of this issue.

Almost fell for it!

One notable incident involved a deceptive scheme where I was tasked just in November last year with translating a substantial 35-page document from English into Spanish, my language pair. The allure of full upfront payment accompanied the offer, which initially appeared promising. However, upon receiving a suspiciously misspelled check, I promptly sought verification at a check cashing store, thus avoiding potential devastation had I deposited it into my account. Swift action ensued as I reported the incident to the authorities, armed with copies of email correspondences with the scammer to prove my innocence. Thankfully, law enforcement recognized the attempted fraud, acknowledging similar reports from other translators.

Vigilance is paramount in identifying potential scams, with certain red flags warranting careful scrutiny. The timing of initial contact, such as receiving emails in the very early hours, often signals origins from regions like Africa or India, where scammers operate during their daylight hours. Furthermore, attention should be paid to the absence of corporate affiliations or legitimate contact information, including the lack of a company webpage or business telephone number. Many scammers masquerade as “Project Managers,” exploiting unsuspecting translators.

Can we fight back?

The subtleties of language can also serve as indicators of fraudulent intent, as scammers frequently exhibit poor grammar and syntax in their communications. Despite such telltale signs, the reality remains dishearteningly bleak, as the international nature of these crimes complicates prosecution efforts. Perpetrators often operate with impunity in jurisdictions where law enforcement agencies turn a blind eye to their illicit activities.

The translation industry has emerged as a lucrative target for cybercriminals, with the illicit economy raking in hundreds of millions of dollars annually. This burgeoning sector of the fraud industry poses significant challenges for translators and interpreters worldwide, necessitating heightened caution and diligence in dealings with potential clients.

Careful when publishing your CV!

Recognizing the prevalence of scams targeting job seekers, particularly within the translation and interpretation industry, as well as other sectors, even certain recruiters have advised against the indiscriminate publication of CVs. It is advised that job seekers exercise caution by being succinct in their contact information, refraining from including personal or familial details that could potentially make them vulnerable targets. This proactive approach aims to mitigate the risk of exploitation and safeguard the interests of individuals seeking legitimate employment opportunities.

As professionals in the translation field, it is imperative to adopt stringent verification measures when engaging with new clients. Requesting verifiable company information, including a legitimate webpage and email address, as well as a valid business telephone number, can help mitigate the risk of falling victim to fraudulent schemes. In instances of doubt, direct telephonic communication with the client may be warranted, although scammers typically evade such attempts, resorting instead to deceptive email correspondence.

Important Research Resources

Protect yourself and your livelihood from scammers! Take action now by researching the valuable resources available at www.translator-scammers.com and www.scambusters.org/translationscams.html

The proliferation of fraud within the translation industry underscores the pressing need for enhanced awareness and vigilance among practitioners. By remaining vigilant and adopting robust verification measures, translators and interpreters can safeguard themselves against the growing threat of fraudulent activities. Ultimately, proactive measures are essential in preserving the integrity of the profession and protecting against financial and reputational harm.

Arm yourself with knowledge to safeguard against deceptive practices and ensure the integrity of your translation business. Don’t wait until it’s too late – empower yourself today!

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK: MENTORING IN THE INTERPRETATION AND TRANSLATION INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK CITY

In the bustling metropolis of New York City, where ambition is as common as yellow taxis, making your way in the competitive field of simultaneous interpretation and translation can be a challenging journey, especially without the guidance of a mentor. Aspiring linguists often find themselves adrift in a sea of opportunities, not knowing where to start or how to navigate the complex currents of this vast industry.

The Role of Mentoring in the Industry

Enter the New York Circle of Translators and Interpreters (NYCT), a professional association dedicated to supporting and nurturing language professionals in their pursuit of success. For both seasoned practitioners and novice linguists, NYCT serves as a beacon of hope, offering a platform to hone their skills, expand their networks, and explore avenues for growth, training, and income generation.

The value of mentoring cannot be underestimated in such a dynamic and demanding industry as translation and interpretation. Mentors provide valuable insights, guidance, and support to mentees, helping them navigate the intricacies of the profession with confidence and clarity. In turn, mentors themselves reap numerous benefits from the experience, from honing their leadership skills to staying abreast of the latest technological and methodological advancements.

The Importance of Professional Organizations

Participation in organizations like NYCT is crucial for linguists at every stage of their careers. By fostering a sense of community and camaraderie, NYCT creates fertile ground for collaboration, learning, and professional development. Through the association, a robust network of mentors and mentees can be cultivated, bridging the gap between experienced experts and eager newcomers.

Imagine a world where experienced professionals willingly share their knowledge and expertise with the next generation of linguists, empowering them to reach new heights of success and fulfillment: remember when you were a newbie? By harnessing the collective wisdom of its members, NYCT can establish a voluntary mentoring program, pairing mentors with mentees based on their areas of expertise and professional goals.

Relevant Statistics on the Interpretation and Translation Industry in New York

– According to data from the US Department of Labor, employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow by 20% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

– New York City is home to a large population of speakers of different languages, leading to high demand for interpretation and translation services.

– According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for interpreters and translators in the New York metropolitan area was $62,810 in May 2020.

– A study conducted by the American Translators Association (ATA) found that 53% of surveyed translators and interpreters considered mentoring to be important or very important for their professional development.

In light of this revelation, it becomes abundantly clear that a vast array of opportunities awaits those with the ambition to seize them. However, amidst this burgeoning commercial landscape, certain newcomers may find themselves inadvertently excluded, their potential hindered by a lack of direction and clarity in navigating the plethora of prospects available.

Conclusion

For all the experienced experts who feel a pull in their hearts to give back what they once received from their own mentors: now is the time to act. Your guidance and support can make a difference in the lives of aspiring linguists, helping them navigate the challenging waters of the industry with grace and confidence.

Together, let’s build a community where mentoring thrives and success knows no bounds. Join the NYCT in shaping the future of the translation and interpretation industry in New York City and beyond. Together, we can make a difference: one translation, one interpretation, one mentoring at a time. Contact us and volunteer to become a Mentor or a Mentee!

EXPRESSION OF EMOTIONS DURING SIMULTANEOUS INTERPRETATION IN A BOOTH DURING A FORMAL SPEECH

Simultaneous interpretation is an intricate process that becomes even more challenging when the speaker’s emotions are highly expressive. This article delves into the complexities faced by interpreters in matching the emotive intensity of speakers during formal speeches, drawing from personal experiences interpreting for renowned figures such as Mr. Tom Peters and former President, Mr. Jimmy Carter.

Tom Peters’ Seminar Experience
During a seminar led by Mr. Tom Peters in Ecuador in 1990, while interpreting for Mr. Peters in two cities, the undersigned could hear, see, and feel his dynamic energy and expressive demeanor from the outset. Peters engaged with the audience with enthusiasm, utilizing animated gestures and posing thought-provoking questions. Notably, his inquiry into business failure elicited a significant reaction, with a momentary deep silence swiftly followed by uproarious laughter from the attendees. Throughout Peters’ presentation, there was a constant flux of emotions, ranging from lighthearted humor to poignant seriousness, leaving the audience captivated and appreciative and the interpreters with a turmoil of emotions.

Jimmy Carter Event Experience
Conversely, at an event held at the Carter Library in Atlanta in 2002, while serving as a simultaneous interpreter for former President Jimmy Carter, the atmosphere was somber. Carter emotionally recounted the achievements of his mother, a devoted nurse, during the inauguration of the Lilian Carter International Nursing Center. As Carter’s speech progressed, his voice faltered, and tears welled in his eyes, evoking a similar response from the entire audience, including myself and my booth colleague.

Managing Emotions Live
In their little universe, conference interpreters play a crucial role in facilitating communication across language barriers in various settings, including international conferences, meetings, and seminars. While their primary task is to accurately convey the message from one language to another, they often encounter a myriad of emotions expressed by speakers. This article aims to examine the challenges faced by conference interpreters in managing these emotions while maintaining composure and professionalism and offers some interesting recommendations.

Emotional Dynamics in Interpretation
Interpreters frequently encounter speakers who exhibit a wide range of emotions during their presentations. Some speakers may be lively and physically expressive, using gestures, high and low peaks and valleys in their intonation, and facial expressions to convey their message emphatically. Others may adopt a more laid-back and softer demeanor, yet still convey emotional depth through their words and tone. Regardless of the speaker’s style, interpreters must remain attentive to the emotional register presented, as it significantly impacts the interpretation process and effect on the listeners.

Challenges Faced

  1. Maintaining Composure: Interpreters must maintain their composure and focus, regardless of the emotional intensity exhibited by the speaker. This can be particularly challenging when speakers express strong emotions such as excitement, anger, or sadness, which may affect the interpreter’s concentration and ability to convey the message accurately.
  2. Conveying Emotional Nuances: Interpreters face the challenge of accurately conveying not only the literal meaning of the speaker’s words but also the emotional nuances embedded within them. This requires a deep understanding of both languages and cultures, as well as the ability to capture subtleties in tone, intonation, and body language.
  3. Remaining Neutral: While interpreting, it is essential for interpreters to remain neutral and refrain from injecting their own emotions or biases into the interpretation. This can be difficult, especially when interpreting emotionally charged content or controversial topics.
  4. Managing Stress: The pressure of simultaneous interpretation in real-time, coupled with the need to manage emotional dynamics, can lead to heightened stress levels for interpreters.

Effective stress management techniques, such as deep breathing and mindfulness, are essential for maintaining focus and performance.

Strategies for Overcoming Challenges

  1. Preparation: Thorough preparation, including research on the topic and familiarity with relevant terminology, and if possible, listening to videos of the scheduled speaker, can help interpreters anticipate emotional cues and prepare accordingly.
  2. Active Listening: Interpreters must practice active listening to accurately capture the speaker’s emotional nuances and convey them effectively in the target language.
  3. Professionalism: Maintaining a high level of professionalism is paramount for interpreters, even in the face of challenging emotional dynamics. This also includes maintaining confidentiality, adhering to ethical standards, and remaining impartial at all times.

Closing
Matching the emotional tone of the speaker presents a formidable challenge for interpreters, demanding both sensitivity and technical proficiency. It is imperative to strike a delicate balance between conveying the speaker’s emotions accurately while ensuring linguistic precision and clarity. Despite the difficulty, this task is crucial in meeting the expectations of the audience, organizers, and contracting agency, fostering a genuine connection despite language barriers.

In conclusion, while the task of matching the speaker’s emotional expression during simultaneous interpretation is undeniably challenging, it is essential to strive for parity within the bounds of utmost respect for all parties involved. By doing so, we ensure that the audience, organizers, and contracting agency are thoroughly satisfied with the emotional resonance conveyed through our interpretation, transcending linguistic barriers and fostering meaningful connections towards a successful event.

2023 Candidate Statements – Please Vote!

 

Dear Circle Members,

It’s that time of year again when we vote for our new leadership. Please review the candidate statements below and make your voice heard by mailing in your ballot (see related post below for the ballot). The Circle thrives because of the efforts of you, our members, and our dedicated Board of Directors.

CANDIDATE FOR PROGRAM DIRECTOR: ANTHONY ALENCAR

I joined the New York Circle of Translators as soon as I relocated to New York City about one year ago. I was interested in connections with fellow professionals and any other resources that would contribute with my profession. I am truly happy I joined!

This year I was invited to serve NYCT, by running as Program Director for the 2023-2024 term. But first things first, recognition to Alexia Klein for her efforts as current director. She had said on her 2021 statement that her goal following the pandemic was to “keep this organization afloat and strong, serving its vital role as a place of support and encouragement”. Mission accomplished. Thank you, Alexia!

I believe NYCT is a platform for great things to come. The world has a need for language professionals more than ever in its history, despite Google Translate, AI, and whatever else technology will bring. If chosen for the role, I propose we work together on three fronts.

First, I think we must learn how to capitalize on the need for our work as language professionals. Too often we miss opportunities, not because of the quality of our work, but for lack of other abilities. How to attract clients, the use of sales techniques for language professionals, marketing strategies, career investment ideas, and so forth. I have a background in sales, and believe me, when I started in this profession around ten years ago it truly made a difference, and still does. Knowing how to sell yourself and your work is as important as your work. Without the first you don’t have the latter.

Second, after we find more work, we must always explore avenues on how to improve as language professionals. Contrary to my first proposition, here we have plenty of materials, lectures, books, and other resources that can make us better translators. I believe NYCT can continue to be a great channel for such resources.

Third, we must keep on working on our fellowship as language professionals. Once again, using the words of Alexia for last term, New York language professionals must “come together, form meaningful relations, feel inspired and uplifted, and feel that they belong to a community”. I could not have expressed it better, and I can’t wait to meet you and come together as a family. Thank you!

 

CANDIDATRE FOR TREASURER: RANDAL GERNAAT

My name is Randal Gernaat and I am pleased to be running to be your treasurer. At the beginning of the year, I was appointed by then NYCT President, Milena Savova, as interim treasurer to fill out the final year of the previous treasurer’s term.

I currently work as a freelance German-to-English translator focusing on economics, business, and financial translations. I have been a member of the New York Circle of Translators and ATA since 2021. Prior to becoming a freelance translator, I worked in the field of economics and finance for nearly 20 years in New York. I worked for Haver Analytics and Bloomberg LP where I was involved in international and European economic research, economic and financial translations from German and French into English, and the development of economic software products for global financial markets.

I appreciate the support that organizations such as NYCT can provide to language professionals and am happy to volunteer to help keep our organization strong both now and in the future. Over the past year, I have been working carefully to document all of our revenues and costs in order to ensure our financial situation remains strong. I also began working on figuring out ways we can spend our money in responsible ways to better support our membership.

If I am elected treasurer, I look forward to continuing to find ways to make sure our costs remain reasonable and to responsibly use NYCT resources to support our members. Thank you for your consideration.

 

CANDIDATE FOR SECRETARY; LAURA RODRÍGUEZ O’DWYER

Laura works as a freelance translator, interpreter, entrepreneur, and language tutor. She is a translator for German, English, and Portuguese into Spanish and is now doing a Masters in Translation and Interpreting at Hunter College-CUNY. She has served at the Argentine Association for Translators and Interpreters (AATI) as a board member and was tenured professor for German language at Universidad Nacional del Comahue in Argentina. In 2019 at the Polyglot Conference in Fukuoka she spoke about multiple intelligences and learning styles and in 2014 at the XXth FIT (International Federation of Translators) World Congress in Berlin she delivered a presentation about reading comprehension as a means to acquiring foreign languages more quickly and efficiently. Laura would be honored to serve all translators as a secretary connecting NYCT with other organizations and defending our rights as translators. Laura loves travelling, cooking, learning new languages, and creating spaces for personal and professional self-development. 

 

NYCT Election Ballot 2023

Please familiarize yourself with the candidate statements provided in today’s post and cast your vote. Print the ballot and mail it to the Circle at the address shown below. You may also print the ballot, fill it out, scan it and send it as an email to nycirclemanager14@gmail.com.

All ballots must be postmarked or received via e-mail by December 7, 2023. Ballot received after that date will not be valid. Only one vote per members.

 

NYCT ELECTION BALLOT 2023

 

CANDIDATE FOR PROGRAM DIRECTOR:

 

______ ANTHONY ALENCAR

 

CANDIDATE FOR TREASURER:

 

_____RANDAL GERNAAT

 

CANDIDATE FOR SECRETARY:

 

_____LAURA RODRÍGUEZ O’DWYER

 

Mailed completed ballot by December 7, 2023 to:

 

New York Circle of Translators

PO Box 4051

Grand Central Station

New York, NY 10163-4051

GUTEKUNST PRIZE CEREMONY FOR EMERGING TRANSLATORS

On August 16, 2023, I attended the 13th annual award ceremony of the Gutekunst Prize which was held at the Goethe Institut in New York. This year’s winner was Betsy Carter for her translation of an excerpt from Simone Scharbert’s novel Rosa in Grau. Eine Heimsuchung which was published in 2022.

The ceremony was attended by Mariella de Carvalho, Head of Cultural Affairs and Science Department for the German Consulate of New York, David Detjen of the non-profit organization Friends of Goethe New York which funds the prize and by the noted German translator Alta Price, herself a former recipient of the prize. Danielle Drori, a scholar of Modern Hebrew literature, also spoke about the intersection of translation and politics.

The Gutekunst prize was established in 2010 in memory of Frederick and Grace Gutekunst with the goal of identifying outstanding young translators of German literature into English. The competition is open to college students and to translators under the age of 35 who have not yet published a book-length translation. The award seeks not only to honor the translator for an outstanding translation but also to assist young translators in establishing contact with the translation and publishing communities.

In 2023 there were 20 applicants for the prize, each of whom had to submit a translation of a 10-page excerpt from Ms. Scharbert’s novel. The assignment was not an easy one since Ms. Schargert’s novel is often fragmentary in nature. It portrays the thoughts and recollections of a woman who has been in and out of mental institutions while struggling to raise a young daughter. The novel is set in 1950’s Germany in which the trauma of World War II is still fresh in the minds of the inhabitants. The novel contains flashbacks and hallucinatory episodes which present notable challenges to the translator as do its various cultural references, some of which are pulled from the worlds of music and history.

Ms. Price described how Betsy Carter had effectively captured the voice of the troubled middle-class mid-twentieth century narrator. Her translation was able to successfully reflect the more formal tone of a woman of the era while still translating the test into an idiomatic English. Betsy Carter then spoke to the audience about the experience of translating this novel. One of her goals was to keep the sound and rhythm of the original German while making its cultural references meaningful to an English-speaking audience.

Ms. Carter is a Ph.D. student in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) at the University of Arizona and a graduate associate teacher with the university’s Department of German Studies. She holds a master’s degree in German studies from the University of Colorado Boulder and a bachelor’s degree from Brown. Her award-winning translation is available on the Goethe Institut New York website. The translated title of the book is “Rosy Shades of Darkness. A Tribulation.”

 

Patricia Stumpp

 

 

CAN TRANSLATORS BE AUGMENTED BY TECHNOLOGY?

On June 27, 2023, the Circle hosted an online event about AI and a technology known as Augmented Translation. The featured speaker was Miguel A. Jiménez-Crespo, an ATA certified English to Spanish translator. He also holds a PhD in Translation and Interpreting Studies from the University of Granda and is a Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Rutgers.   He is particularly interested in how humans interact with technology so that the technology can become more ergonomic.

According to Mr. Jiménez, almost all human translation nowadays involves an interaction with a machine or some external source of information other than our own brains. For example, if a translator uses a computer and a Word program to prepare a translation, the translator is interacting with a machine. In using translation memory, we are actually using someone else’s brain to do our work. Even the use of a dictionary involves dependence on an external source of information.  These external sources enable us to do our work better and more rapidly.

Human Interaction with machines on the part of translators can often generate negative emotional reactions to automation. For example, translators are concerned about the downward pressure on rates posed by machine translation which may negatively impact their opinion of machine translation. Some translators may also have negative reactions to certain features of machine tools such as CAT tools. These reactions can create anxiety on the part of the translator. This kind of reaction is known as cognitive friction.

Mr. Jiménez then introduced the concept of Augmented Translation. Its purpose is to help humans solve problems better and faster. It is a human-centered approach to translation in which the human is in control. It seeks to enhance the work done by humans by uniting the strengths of both humans and machines. This technology is different from AI since in AI there is no human involvement.

Mr. Jiménez then discussed the technology known as neural machine translation or neural architecture.  This is the technology used by DeepL, ChatGPT and Google translate. It seeks to replicate the workings of the human brain.

While machine translation is statistical in nature in that it generates word choices by means of probabilities, neural machine translation captures the long-term dependencies between words in a particular language. By accurately analyzing the positions of words within sentences, the technology chooses the word that is correct for a particular context. It is not that the machine is actually thinking: it is merely predicting the next word because it has been pre-trained with huge amounts of data culled from the human translations available on the internet.

Mr. Jiménez sought to dispel the fear that technology will replace human beings. He believes that humans will continue to surpass machines when they are translating high value content or engaging in tasks that involve creativity, critical thinking, judgment and storytelling. AI on the other hand is more appropriate for lower order tasks and lower value content.

The speaker believes that the future of AI in translation will involve striking the right balance between humans and technology and determining which tasks can be automated, which can be augmented, and which can be left exclusively to humans. The level of technological support will depend on the complexity of the task at hand.

Patricia Stumpp