Wednesday, November 9, 2011

ATA Conference Boston - Review of Sessions II

This is the second part of my session summaries from the recent ATA conference. You can read Part I on sessions dealing with technical translations/terminology here.


"The Entrepreneurial Linguist: Lessons from Business School" by Judy Jenner

Ms. Jenner emphasized that even a one-person translation business run out of one's home is a business that must be run professionally. This includes maintaining a well-designed website, a website-specific e-mail address, a separate business telephone number and marketing materials that advertise the value one's translation services add to a client's business instead of a resume that looks like a job application. Since networking and a personal connection are important in obtaining business, a professional photo of the translator is important on the website and other marketing materials. As sellers we set the price of our services; that price should include a minimum charge, as well as annual adjustments for inflation and surcharges for working on weekends and holidays, Ms. Jenner said.

"Translating Digital Media: Marketing 2.0" by Jon Ritzdorf

Mr. Ritzdorf spoke about translators who can market themselves to direct clients in ways that go beyond traditional translation and interpreting services. He focused on three areas: video subtitling, mobile applications and search engine marketing. Translating subtitles for marketing videos may require first timing and transcribing the original text and adjusting the translated text to fit the timing of the original video. The interface for mobile applications not only needs to be translated, but the application itself also must be tested in the target market. Translators here can act as in-country experts who ensure that the application functions as intended in the context of the local infrastructure and can communicate any problems in the language of the application's producer. Keywords used in search engine marketing not only must be translated, but also adapted for the target market, since customers in different markets may not search for the same terms, even in translation. As a user of local search engines, the translator again can act as the in-country reviewer/tester who can also communicate in the client's language.

These are just some of the sessions I attended. I may implement tips from a presentation on using speech-to-text software (specifically, Dragon Naturally Speaking) later (and blog about it).

One of the nice things about language-related conferences is that not all presentations are in English. This gave me a chance to attend lectures presented in German, as well as Spanish, which exposed me to current German business language and honed my Spanish comprehension skills in a dialect I was unfamiliar with (Argentinian, it turns out).

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