Check out the third episode of the SLD podcast, where the administrators and founders of SLD’s ATA exam practice group, Maria Guzenko and Eugenia Tietz-Sokolskaya, discuss how the group helps participants prepare for the ATA Certification Exam, their experience managing the group, and volunteering opportunities.
Get ready for Big Opportunities in the Big Easy! The ATA 59th Annual Conference will take place October 24-27, 2018 in New Orleans. ATA59 offers specialized opportunities for dedicated translators and interpreters to connect and collaborate while they shape the future of their profession. Join 1,600 of your colleagues to tackle current challenges and work with industry leaders to reach common goals.
The ATA59 conference website is now live! Find out more at: http://www.atanet.org/conf/2018/.
Check out the newest episode of the SLD podcast! Madalena Zampaulo, owner and CEO of Accessible Translation Solutions, answers member questions and shares tips about websites for translators.
Every ATA Annual Conference comes with its share of success stories. And now we want to hear yours! Did you meet a colleague who helped you transform your business? Did you meet a client who became a favorite—or a major source of income? Did you attend a session that helped you increase your productivity?
Share what great thing happened to you at an ATA Annual Conference!
Why? Because the Conference is more than a three-day event. It’s a long-term investment in the success of an attendee’s career and business. Tell us how that investment has paid off for you.
Help us celebrate success. Click here to send us your stories:
Do you find the Valentine’s Day celebration of romantic love a bit much? Do you cast about in search of refuge from the onslaught of bliss? Look no further! Lydia Razran Stone—the indefatigable editor of SlavFile and a specialist in translating Russian poetry—has put together a few of her translated of Russian poems focusing on the negatives of love to serve as your antidote to an excess of Valentine’s Day positivity. If you would like more poems in this vein, you can contact her at email@example.com for more of her translations.
A: THE MALE PERSPECTIVE
- FYODOR TYUTCHEV: LOVE AS COMBAT
|Предопределение Федор Тютчев 1851
Любовь, любовь – гласит преданье –
И чем одно из них нежнее
|Predestination Fedor Tyutchev 1851
Through love, through loves, as legends state it
And in this combat one soul’s fires
Original is in the public domain and may be found online at: http://www.ruthenia.ru/tiutcheviana/stihi/bp/172.html
- SASHA CHERNYY THE SAD CONSEQUENCES OF INFIDELITY: THE LONG SUFFERING HUSBAND
|Колыбельная Саша Черный 1910
Мать уехала в Париж…
|Lullaby Sasha Cherny
Hush, my little sleepy-head.
Original is in the public domain and may be found online at: https://45parallel.net/sasha_chernyy/kolybelnaya_mat_uekhala.html
- THE WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE
- Zinaida Gippius- EVEN IF IT IS GROTESQUE, MIGHT IT STILL BE LOVE?
|Зинаида Гиппиус ДЬЯВОЛЕНОК 1906
Мне повстречался дьяволенок,
Шел дождь… Дрожит, темнеет тело,
Твердят: любовь, любовь! Не знаю.
Пойдем, детеныш! Хочешь греться?
А он вдруг эдак сочно, зычно,
Пророкотал: “Что сахар? Глупо.
Он разозлил меня бахвальством…
Но он заморщился и тонко
Смотрю при лампе: дохлый, гадкий,
И даже как-то с дьяволенком
То ходит гоголем-мужчиной,
Я прежде всем себя тревожил:
Такой смешной он, мягкий, хлипкий,
И оба стали мы – едины.
|Zinaida Gippius THE LITTLE DEVIL 1906
One night I met, to my surprise,
He shivered in the icy rain,
They talk of love! What do I know?
“You’ll surely freeze here on the street.
He spoke—his voice a booming bass
“Am I a babe, seduced by sweets?
At his brash words I took offense,
He gave a squeal so thin and shrill;
In lamplight he looked nasty, seedy
So I got used to all his ways;
At times his walk’s a manly stride;
I used to worry, fret and strive;
He is so funny, soft and flimsy,
Now he and I have grown together.
Original is in the public domain and may be found online at: http://pishi-stihi.ru/dyavolenok-gippius.html
- Marina Tsvetayeva: BETTER OFF WITHOUT IT, OR MAYBE NOT
|Марина Цветаева 1915
Мне нравится, что вы больны не мной,
Мне нравится, что можно быть смешной –
Мне нравится еще, что вы при мне
Спасибо вам и сердцем и рукой
|Marina Tsvetayeva 1915
How nicе to know what ails me is not you,
How nice that you can calmly, though I’m near,
I’m grateful to you, more than I can tell,
Original is in the public domain and may be found online at: http://www.stihi-rus.ru/1/Cvetaeva/74.htm
- SOME CONSOLATION
- BULAT OKUDZHAVA: IF YOU’RE LUCKY AN UNHEALTHY LOVE TRANSFORMS INTO A BETTER KIND
|Булат Окуджава 1959
Мне нужно на кого-нибудь молиться.
И муравья тогда покой покинул,
И в день седьмой, в какое-то мгновенье,
Все позабыв — и радости и муки,
И тени их качались на пороге.
I feel the need for someone I can pray to.
At peace no more, dispirited, frustrated
For when his days of prayer had numbered seven,
Forgetting all the past – both pain and pleasure,
Two shadows moved like dancers in the entry.
Original is in the public domain and may be found online at: http://www.stihi-rus.ru/1/okud/32.htm
- Nikolay Gumilyov: EVEN IF LOVE DOES NOT BRIDGE THE GENDER GAP, ONE CAN TRY
|Николай Гумилев Жираф 1907
Сегодня, я вижу, особенно грустен твой взгляд
Ему грациозная стройность и нега дана,
Вдали он подобен цветным парусам корабля,
Я знаю веселые сказки таинственных стран
И как я тебе расскажу про тропический сад,
|Nikolay Gumilyov The Giraffe 1907
I see that this morning your eyes are especially sad;
To him have been given harmonious figure and grace,
He seems at a distance a luminous sail on the waves
I’d cheer you with tales of this land full of legend and song,
No lighthearted tales of the tropics can make your heart glad
Original is in the public domain and may be found online at: https://gumilev.ru/verses/375/
All translations by Lydia Razran Stone, published with permission.
The American Translators Association is now accepting presentation proposals for the ATA 59th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 24-27, 2018.
What would you like to learn at the next ATA conference?
Review by Ekaterina Howard
At ATA conferences I make attending Chris Durban’s sessions a priority (even SLD’s Ru>En slam could not tear me away), and to me they invariably become one of the highlights of any conference.
This year’s session tied in nicely with the session on blind spots at ATA57, which effectively became the primary source of my business development plan for 2017 (as easy as that!).
In the “Working with Direct Clients. For Real.” Session Chris Durban addressed the most common constraints that prevent translators from moving out of the mass-market segment (although some direct clients can be mass-market, too) into the premium segment (which is where recognition, satisfaction and high rates come together).
The main constraints are:
- Good writing and/or good quality are a given, not a differentiator, as are native-level quality and consistent terminology.
- Instead of generic statements that do not add up to anything distinctive, you have to provide specific examples of value that you bring to the table.
- Quality may be (and frequently is) affected by any or all of the following factors:
- Time pressure
- Blind spots
- Overselling (and under delivering).
To start working with direct clients:
- The factors that go into producing a product that is not likely to be MT-replicated or replaceable are: Time + Brain + Talent. Plan accordingly
- Understand priorities of direct clients in your segment (likely not price-driven). Know what is mission-critical or sensitive
- Find a partner (reviser)
- Create a client-friendly system: be generous, be efficient, do not make clients jump through multiple hoops to work with you
- Be friendly and enthusiastic. Do not snark. Do not blabber
- Be honest on your experience and on whether or not you subcontract. Specialization goes deep, not wide (to eliminate blind spots)
- Research and stalk (professionally, of course) potential clients
- Be mindful of scalability vs quality restraints
- Sign your work
- Offer solutions instead of words on a page.
If you are considering working with direct clients, for real or hypothetically, you might want to look up The Prosperous Translator — Advice from Fire Ant & Worker Bee at https://prosperoustranslator.com/, follow Chris Durban’s blog at https://chrisdurbanblog.com/author/christinedurban/, or read a review of the first Business Acceleration Masterclass for Translators and Interpreters by Jayne Fox: http://foxdocs.biz/BetweenTranslations/business-tips-translators-chris-durbans-masterclass/.
Even if you feel that you are not quite ready yet, it is not too early to start getting ready to move towards working in the direct client segment. I believe that one of the most important things you could do is not learn how to market yourself (although this won’t hurt), but continuously work on your translation and writing skills.
If you are an SLD member, you can join the SLD Certification Exam Prep Group to exchange translations with other participants and discuss the challenges on a monthly basis. If you would like to up the ante, consider participating in SLD translation slams, either by submitting a slam proposal for the next ATA conference, or by volunteering to join a virtual slam. Those are all great starting points for working on your translation skills, and I hope that someday there will be an event similar to “Translate in…” (in 2017 it was in Quebec City – http://www.ontraduitaquebec.com/en/about/) for Slavic languages.
On that note, I invite you to share your collaboration experiences, your stories of growing as a translator, and your tips on working with “dream” direct clients.
Ekaterina Howard is an English to Russian and German to Russian translator working with marketing materials. She is the current Administrator of the Slavic Languages Divisions. You can follow her blog at http://pinwheeltrans.com/blog, stay in touch on Twitter (@katya_howard), or connect with her on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ekaterinahoward). If you would like to become SLD’s next translation slammer, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review by Anna Livermore
The session titled “Search Engine Optimization: Website and Social Media Localization,” presented by Laura Ramírez, a lecturer at the department of translation studies at the University of Illinois, was one of the highlights of my visit to this year’s ATA conference. The content of the session was exactly as promised in the title (with one small exception), the subject matter was very relevant, the delivery was professional, and the examples were on point. I came away wishing the slot for the presentation had been twice as long.
First of all, Ms. Ramírez drew a distinction between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) & SEA (Search Engine Advertising), which together make up SEM (Search Engine Marketing). She explained why different approaches are required when dealing with the 2 parts of SEM, both in terms of strategy as a website owner and impact on the translation. The better a translator understands the workings of SEM, the better they will be able to serve their clients’ needs and add value with their service.
Organic SEO is a strategy that yields better long-term results, but its ROI is notoriously hard to calculate. Essentially, by using SEO clients optimize their content for better indexability by search engines, thus affecting the rank the webpage is assigned when users search for certain keywords. In order to appear in the top search results, companies employ a combination of tactics: building good links, writing good content, using proper indexing, and integrating social media and blogs. It is time consuming for the client and, when translated into another language, it needs to retain all its parts from the obvious (content, URL name) to the subtle (meta tags and keywords). Those who offer website translation/localization services should remember that different search engines use different approaches to language tagging and educate themselves about the concepts of geo-targeting used by the search engines of their target region.
SEA, on the other hand, yields quick results and the ROI is easy to calculate, making it suitable for short, targeted campaigns. However, the conversion rates are lower (due to lack of consumer trust towards this kind of advertising) and it is an expensive option. When translating keywords for SEA, it is important to remember that repetition is good. Also, translated keywords will (or should) change depending on the target segment, audience, location etc.
As Ms. Ramírez pointed out, CAT tools are a good option for translating this kind of content: it tends to be repetitive, and consistent use of the same keywords is beneficial to a given ad’s ranking. One should also be aware of the limits set on the number of characters that can be used for ad headlines or ad descriptions, as it might become an issue when translating in certain language pairs: for instance, when translating English into Russian, the latter tends to require more characters.
Ms. Ramírez made an interesting point about translating SEA: the process can feel counterintuitive at first to translators who aim to produce a perfect translation. In this case, a functional approach serves better for creating the desired impact, which is to sell the product or service. When translating SEA text, one should always keep in mind the end user: what search term spellings are they likely to use, are there any regional variants to keep in mind, are there any synonyms that should also be included in the keywords, are there any other variants one should consider, such as calques from the source language and misspelled words (a quick Google search illustrates just how many ways there are to misspell the word pregnant).
Summarizing some of the characteristics of SEA language, Ms. Ramírez highlighted the use of calques, elliptical constructions, unusual punctuation (exclamation marks, apostrophes etc.), abbreviations, using all CAPITALS, and mixing registers when addressing the audience (using equivalents of Russian ты and вы in the same ad), which should all be reflected in some form in translation.
Drawing on her experience as a lecturer and a freelance translator, Ms. Ramírez noted another characteristic of SEA that influences the translation process: clients might ask for several equivalents for one keyword, and they will ultimately decide which one will be used.
The last notable point covered during the session is the importance of knowing how search engines other than Google work. This is significant because other markets might not use Google as their primary search engine: Yandex is the main search engine in Russia and Baidu plays that role in China. And although the essentials of the search engine functionality are largely very similar, there are some elements that differ and might impact the localization process.
Ms. Ramírez also covered practical aspects of managing ads, matches and click-through rates, as well as various tools for managing keywords and best practices for writing ads. With so much valuable information to deliver, there unfortunately was no time left to look at social media techniques and their impact on translation process, and I look forward to a future presentation where these would be covered.
Anna Livermore is an English>Russian and German>Russian translator and former marketing specialist. With a linguistics degree from the Oxford Brookes University and a Professional Diploma in marketing, she came to specialize in translating marketing materials, corporate communications, website content and various components of SEM. She is a member of the Slavic Languages Division’s Social Media team. Contact: email@example.com
By Maria Guzenko
The Slavic Languages Division exam practice group is entering its second year. The background and activities of the group were covered in detail in our SlavFile article and a subsequent ATA Chronicle column. Now is a good time to report on how the group is doing.
To this end, the administrators of the group (currently Eugenia Tietz-Sokolskaya and Maria Guzenko) conducted a brief survey among group participants in late summer of 2017. We received responses from 21 group members. Although our sample was too small to be talking about any trends, we thought it may be interesting to share some numbers. The respondents had the option to skip questions, so some of our numbers will not add up to 21.
Of all respondents, 15 (71.4%) reported working in the English to Russian pair, 10 (47.6%) in Russian to English, 2 (9.5%) in English to Ukrainian, and 1 (4.8%) in Ukrainian to English, Polish to English, and French to English, each. Respondents had the option of choosing more than one combination.
Most participants (90%) were located in the United States, with one person located in Poland and Ukraine each. English to Russian was the most popular language combination for practice (14 respondents), followed by Russian to English (11), English to Ukrainian (2), Polish to English (1), and English to Polish (1). Unfortunately, none of the respondents reported joining the practice group in the Ukrainian to English, Croatian to English, and English to Croatian directions.
Experience with ATA Exams
Nine respondents (42.9%) had taken a certification exam before joining the practice group. Of those respondents, 4 did so in the English to Russian combination, 3 in Russian to English, 1 in Polish to English, and 1 in English to Ukrainian. Six of the participants who had taken the exam reported failing, while 2 reported passing.
Most of the respondents (66.7%) were planning to take the exam in the next year, with only 19% not planning to, and 14.3% undecided. The combinations in which candidates planned to take the exam were as follows: 12 English to Russian, 6 Russian to English, 1 Ukrainian to English, and 1 English to Ukrainian.
Thirteen (61.9%) of all participants reported taking the official ATA practice test, 8 in the English to Russian direction, 4 in Russian to English, and 1 in Polish to English.
By the time the survey was distributed, 33.3% (7) of the participants had taken the certification exam. The most popular exam directions were English to Russian (3), Russian to English (2), Ukrainian to English (1), and Polish to English (1). 57.1% (4) reported failing, and 28.6 % (2) reported passing, with the remaining respondent waiting for their result. Since then, we have heard from at least three more participants that they had passed.
Of all participants, 23.8% reported participating in the group weekly, 28.6% monthly, 19% occasionally, and 28.6% had ceased to participate in the group’s activities. Of those no longer actively participating, 50% said they planned to return to the group in the future, 33.3% answered “maybe,” and 16.7% (1 person) was not planning to resume participating.
Practice Group Rankings
On a scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best), the average rankings for the following categories were:
- User-friendliness of the Slack website: 4.00
- Source texts for practice translations: 4.63
- Feedback from peers: 3.94
- Feedback from certified translators/graders: 4.12
- Admin responsiveness: 5.00
- Scheduling of practice rounds: 4.80
- Improving my translation skills: 4.53
- Enhancing my familiarity with exam standards and procedure: 4.26
Most participants (44%) found the feedback received from their peers “very useful,” 33% “somewhat useful,” 11.1% “not very useful,” and 11.1% “have not received feedback.”
We also received some useful verbal feedback from the respondents, which was covered in the Chronicle column. In a nutshell, most participants appreciated the group, although some wished the online platform were easier to navigate, participation were steadier, and peer feedback were more consistent.
We plan to continue and expand practice group activities in the coming year. To join us as a participant or volunteer reviewer, please get in touch with Eugenia (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Maria (email@example.com).
Maria Guzenko is an English>Russian translator working in the healthcare and corporate domains. She holds an MA in Translation from Kent State University and has worked as a translation project manager and a Russian instructor. She is a co-administrator of the certification exam online practice group for ATA’s Slavic Languages Division.
Review by Tyler Langendorfer
Last month at the ATA’s 58th Annual Conference in DC, John Di Rico presented the session “Selling Your Translation and Interpreting Services,” a talk focused on the techniques required to successfully acquire and retain direct clients. Di Rico, a French-to-English translator as well as Sales and Marketing Manager for WordFast, advocated a “customer-centric” approach that encouraged sellers to rethink their own views on the buyer-seller relationship.
Di Rico began his talk with a sample email from a prospective buyer and asked audience members to form groups in order to discuss how they might respond. After each group shared their ideas, Di Rico would outline his recommendations, then ask the groups to again brainstorm solutions to another series of questions. During the initial rounds of discussion, Di Rico drew attention to the most important details a seller ought to obtain initially: the name, title and company of the prospective client; how they found out about the seller; the buyer’s present goal; and the challenges they have with their current process. Once these have been identified, the seller can move on to the next step and compose a champion letter for the potential client.
A champion letter is perhaps the most important communication effort in the buyer-seller relationship, as it underscores why the buyer should choose the seller’s services. It also demonstrates a strong degree of professionalism and courtesy. According to Di Rico, it has five parts: a statement of goals (or shared goals), a summary of the current situation and the capabilities required to address it, at least one potential benefit from the seller’s services, and the next steps should the buyer maintain their interest.
Other advice of note included Di Rico’s statement that sales is a conversation, one that requires patience and a strong willingness to find solutions for the buyer. Also, to build a strong, personable relationship with a buyer early on, Di Rico advised that the seller try to schedule a phone call in their first email response. Lastly, the seller should not invest too much time in obtaining a client that is uncooperative in providing the info needed to conduct their business.
For this writer, Di Rico’s approach seemed reasonable and well worth considering. Although not all his recommendations may have been new to session attendees, it was beneficial to closely examine the techniques sellers utilize when they interact with prospective buyers. Perhaps the most salient takeaway was Di Rico’s emphasis on making sure that the seller understands the buyer’s needs and that they work with them to reach a solution. Even with the focus on direct clients, translators and interpreters can nonetheless incorporate Di Rico’s recommendations into their relationship with agencies, as they could also benefit from a heightened sensitivity to a project manager’s needs. Furthermore, customer-centric selling enables the seller to rethink the value of their services and may provide for a renewed sense of purpose in their professional goals. In other words, what does it mean to translate or interpret, for the sellers themselves, the buyers, and perhaps also the greater social good.
Tyler Langendorfer (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a translator of German and Spanish specializing in marketing, social sciences, and humanities translation. He is a participant in the ATA Mentoring Program and has been studying Russian independently since 2014.