Standing Out, or the Art of Becoming an Outstanding Translator

By Andrew Morris, Morristraduction
This article was originally posted on the Alexandria Project’s blog

Gummy Bear Stepping out of LineThere’s a fair amount of victim culture in our little world of translation, between the evil ghost of Machine Tourism hovering in the wings, the rapacious agencies, (oh and don’t get me started on the Big Guys), the constant lament about the crowded market place, and the ever-present refrain about how fees are being driven down.

My goodness, it’s carnage out there. So much so that it’s possible to throw your hands up and say “With things that bad, what can a translator possibly do to survive?” If you’re that way inclined, that is.

But I’m not that way inclined. And my answer to the question is simple. “Everything”.

When I started out I’d never heard of multi-language vendors, I wasn’t familiar with the term machine translation, and I certainly knew nothing about the lurking monsters and the clouds hanging over the industry, if some of the prophets of doom are to believed. I simply began by working on what I had to do, creating my own space, in a tiny village in rural France, and doing it as well as I could, and the rest gradually fell into place. And it’s not over yet…. I’m just getting into my stride.

The fact is that your life as a translator is in your hands, not anyone else’s and certainly not “the industry’s”. Realising this is about making the shift from victim to agent, from someone at the mercy of “market forces” to someone who decides that from now on, they are in control, and they will call the shots. It’s about understanding that your own professional world, with all its ups and downs, is nothing but your own creation.

Always assuming, of course, that you’re actually good at what you do, and that you haven’t missed your real vocation, somewhere along your journey, which was to become a trapeze artist, a concert cellist or a master baker of cupcakes.

So rather than trying to change the whole world, if you work on your own little patch of it and become the best translator you can be, showing yourself in the best possible light, and pushing yourself to grow, you will stand out. And that’s a promise. Not only that, you will thrive and watch your professional life begin to develop in ways you never even imagined…

How am I so sure of this? Because it’s exactly what happened to me in the five years since I first became a translator. And I’ve seen it mirrored in countless other colleagues since.

Now don’t get me wrong. Getting ahead and standing out from the crowd doesn’t mean trampling on other people. There’s room for everyone, all standing out from each other. It simply means finding your unique niche and letting your own individuality shine through.

So forget about who else is out there and what they’re up to: just work on yourself as a professional practitioner and the rest will follow. When your own vision is stronger than the other hectoring, doubting or complaining voices around, and when you do what inspires you, in a way that inspires you (or, as someone once said, ‘You tap-dance to work’), then you will soon see that people can’t wait to get what you have.

Of course along the way there will be challenges, obstacles and experiences that may initially appear as mistakes or even failures, but are in fact the most valuable feedback you can have. It’s part of the game. Who wants an easy life anyway?

My forthcoming webinar here on the Alexandria Project will identify 50 of the many practical and easily applicable ways in which you can stand out just by changing your own professional practice as a translator. But it starts with a shift in mindset, which is the basis for all that follows. We will begin by examining your values and deciding what you want, before going on to explore the best ways to brand and showcase your unique contribution, to attracting (and keeping) clients, the organisation of your working life and finally professional development and continued learning, but all connected to your fundamental understanding of yourself, your unique contribution to the world of translation and your vision.

Believe me, building a successful business takes enterprise and hard work, but it’s not rocket science. The secrets of success are in your hands. And in your mind. And the fact that you’ve read this far already shows you have the enthusiasm, commitment, drive and energy to start exploring ways of doing so, perhaps not for the first time. This commitment is something I share, and I’m looking forward to working with you towards making your mark. Join me on April 2nd and watch those opportunities unfold.

Andrew’s webinar: “50 ways to stand out as a translator” – April 2nd, 2014, 120 minutes (English).
For more information and to register: click here

AAndrew Morrisbout Andrew 
Andrew Morris has always been captivated by languages and the mysterious secret worlds they open up. This led him initially to a degree in modern languages at Oxford followed by a long career in language teaching and teacher training. But when in 2009 a series of chance(?) life events dictated it was time for a major change, a lightbulb flashed in his head… ‘Why not translation?’
It was a leap of faith… apart from a fascinating correspondence course for translators, his CV as a translator on the first day of his new life was a totally blank sheet. But with lots of hard work, some luck, a dollop of inspiration, a drop or two of perspiration and a hitherto undiscovered entrepreneurial spirit, things slowly began to fall into place. Now, fewer than five years later, he heads Morristraduction, a thriving boutique agency, working both with other agencies and major direct clients with a primary focus on culture and travel, and outsourcing to a regular team of 20 hand-picked colleagues. Business has grown by 475% in that time and the future looks bright…
But we never leave the past entirely behind, and Andrew’s constant search for new experience along with his background as a teacher and trainer have led him to reconnect with his training skills, offering webinars with the Alexandria Project as well as tailored one-to-one Skype coaching to translators at various levels of their careers…

How to choose the right terminological resource

Sans titre 1Terminology includes terms (words, abbreviations and phrases) that have a specific meaning in a specialized language. The process of looking up, storing and managing terms is called terminology management. Effective terminology management can save you lots of time. It is believed that 40% of translation time is spent in terminology research (see article). Systematic terminology management guarantees the consistency of translations making sure that each time the same translation is provided for a term.

While managing your terminology can definitely help speed up the translation process and deliver consistent translations of great quality, there will always be terms you need to look up. The world is changing and every day tons of new terms and expressions are born. These are called neologisms. Sometimes existing words and phrases receive new meanings.

There are many websites offering term lists or term bases including definitions and/or translations. Below are a couple of web sites listing a large number of links to terminological resources. What none of them do, is telling you how to assess the quality of these resources.

There are at least four criteria a website should fulfill in order to qualify as a credible terminological resource. First of all, it should be authoritative which means the content of it should be authentic to the domain. Its makers are experts in the subject field and they know what they are talking about. The website in which the resource is embedded should have some authority, a serious and professional look. Not just a site with a bunch of advertisements, or the home-page of some vague individual but preferably a governmental site or the site of a well-known multinational.

Secondly, it should be comprehensive meaning that a term base or a site with some 50 terms and little extras is less trustworthy than a resource containing 5.000 terms and extra information in the form of definitions, term variants, synonyms, domain labels, grammatical and pragmatical information, example sentences etc. The term comprehensive is subjective in itself but it helps when you need to compare two or more resources.

A resource should also be user-friendly meaning that if it’s slow, regularly unavailable, difficult to search for information or has a too complex interface, it is not so useful and reliable as a user-friendly resource where you, busy translator, can find all information at your fingertips in a fraction of a second. Preferably, this resource should also have an API so that you can include it in your favourite CAT tool.

Finally, the site of the resource should also be regularly updated. Most sites and databases contain information on the date they were last updated. Usually, this can be found on the bottom of the page. It’s worth checking this when consulting the site in order to assess the validity of the information found.

While there is a vast amount of information on the Web, filtering this information becomes crucial. So make sure you are searching for the right terminology in the right place!

The sites listed here offer a good starting point in your search for terms:

Attila Görög

Attila will be giving webinars with Alexandria in 2014:

Terminology management for translators, 20 Feb, 7:30 PM
Introduction to CAT tools and translation memories, 11 March, 7:30 PM
- Working with CAT tools and translation memories, 13 March, 7:30 PM

The new Alexandria is here!

© Kurhan - Fotolia.comAfter weeks of planning and 3 days of intensive redesigning and moving, the new Alexandria is finally here!

Let us give you a quick overview of what’s changed and a tour of the new website:

- After almost a year running on Instant Presenter, we moved the webinar platform to Citrix’ GoToWebinar – which most of you know
- The new website integrates an actual and interactive Calendar
- The Homepage displays a selection of featured courses, followed by a simple chronological list of all upcoming courses
- More visibility for the Video Shelf in the top menu
- A new area for Conferences (not quite complete yet, we’re working on it!)
- An All Webinars page displaying a clear, chronological list of alle upcoming webinars, with dates and option to register directly
- An integrated Alexandria blog (all past webinars from the old website are archived there as regular posts)
- The integration of the registration system directly on each course page, along with more payment options (including VAT for those of you based in Germany)

We also added some new e-mail addresses to keep things organized:
- for support/technical issues:
- to subscribe to the Alexandria newsletter:
- for general enquiries or applications:

The new website is still in beta-phase, so there may be a few glitches here and there. Your ideas and suggestions are more than welcome, feel free to let us know! (simply use the comment field below)

In the meantime, we are actively working on the 2014 schedule and programme – you’ll love it!

Thank you all for your patience during the move and the redesign and your fidelity to the Alexandria Library!
Anne and the Alexandria Team

TriKonf 2013: Thank you very much! Announcing TriKonf 2015

Trikonf 2013 was held on October 18th to 20th, 2013, in Freiburg im Breisgau, capital of the Black Forest in Southern Germany, in the impressive and gorgeous setting of the Historic Merchants Hall, right in the heart of the old city centre.

Thank you everyone for contributing to make this first TriKonf a success! It was a fabulous high-flying, rich yet relaxed weekend of trilingual networking, training and learning. We had a blast organizing this event and hope it was your case attending it too!

Thank you to the 2013 speakers for their dedication and hard work, thank you to the 2013 sponsors (Kilgray Translation Technologies, SDL Language Technologies, Wordfast) and the supporting associations (ASTTI, BDÜ, SFT, ITI, FIT Europe, DVÜD and UNIVERSITAS Austria) for their support – and thank you to all delegates!

Pictures of the 2013 conference are now available! Visit the 2013 Media & Photos on the TriKonf website page to check them out!

See you at the next TriKonf in 2015 – same city, same venue!
TriKonf 2015 (#trikonf15) – 9- 11 October 2015

Associations Roundtable - left to right: ABRATES, DVÜD, ASTTI, BDÜ, SFT, ITI

TriKonf 2013: Associations Roundtable – left to right: ABRATES, DVÜD, ASTTI, BDÜ, SFT, ITI

Keynote speech by Jost Zetzsche

TriKonf 2013: Keynote speech by Jost Zetzsche

Keynote: Prof. Philipp Koehn

TriKonf 2013: Keynote speech by Prof. Philipp Koehn (finalist, EPO’s European Inventor Award 2013, one of the fathers of the MOSES engine)

TriKonf 2013: Alessandra Martelli giving sweets away to illustrate her workshop on transcreation

TriKonf 2013: Alessandra Martelli giving away sweets during her workshop on transcreation

Some speakers from TriKonf 2013: Rebecca Petras (Translators without Borders), Yves Champollion (Creator of Wordfast), Paul Filkin (SDL Language Technologies), Stefan Gentz (Owner of TRACOM)

Some speakers from TriKonf 2013: Rebecca Petras (Translators without Borders), Yves Champollion (Creator of Wordfast), Paul Filkin (SDL Language Technologies), Stefan Gentz (Owner of TRACOM) – thank you Stefan Gentz for contributing to the photos!

Roundtable on Machine Translation - left to right: Jost Zetzsche, Siegfried Armbruster, Emmanuel Planas, Prof. Philipp Koehn

Trikonf 2013 – Roundtable on Machine Translation (left to right: Jost Zetzsche, Siegfried Armbruster, Emmanuel Planas, Prof. Philipp Koehn)

Jerzy Czopik's workshop on quality insurance in translation

Jerzy Czopik’s workshop on quality insurance in translation

TriKonf: Regular pricing expires today – one week left to register

Freiburg Kaufhaus Erker

von Andreas Praefcke (Eigenes Werk) [GFDL oder CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Dear colleagues,

The regular pricing for the TriKonf ends tonight at midnight (Central European Time) – from tomorrow on, the conference fee will be 30 € more expensive – until next Friday at noon (CET) when registration closes.

So, if you’re planning to attend the conference and have not registered yet, today is a good day to do so!

Registration for dinner is also open until Friday next week – no dinenr booking can be accepted beyond this point.

Register now and join us in Freiburg for the #trikonf13!

The TriKonf team

5 reasons why you should attend the TriKonf 2013 – by A. Martelli

Thank you very much, Alessandra Martelli, for this very nice article! ;)

“The first edition of the TriKonf, the tri-national translation conference, is just a few weeks away. The conference, which will take place on October 18th-20th in Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), is organised by GxP Language Services and supported by several leading European translation associations including ITI, BDÜ, DVÜD and ASTTI amongst others.

Translation conferences are a great way to learn more about the industry trends and tools of the trade, to meet and mingle with fellow translators and translation buyers and to gain insights on some of the hottest topics in the industry. If you haven’t registered for the TriKonf 2013 yet, here’s
5 reasons why you really shouldn’t miss this event.

1. A rich and varied programme

The conference programme is all about professionalisation and interoperability in the translation industry. It features over 20 sessions, which will be presented in English, French or German, with topics ranging from post editing and the professional uses of machine translation software up to quality assurance, terminology management, business ethics and translation productivity.

2. Three hands-on, efficiency-oriented workshops

Friday, October 18th, will feature three workshops, which can be purchased individually on the TriKonf website (available in English, German and French):

3. Spotlight on industry trends

The TriKonf programme also features a roundtable on the current trends and future of the translation profession in Europe. Participants include Ralf Lemster (Vice-President of the BDÜ), Iwan Davies (Chairman of ITI), Joao Esteves-Ferreira (President of ASTTI and ASTJ), Anne-Marie Robert (SFT representative) and Tanya Quintieri (founder and President of the DVÜD).”

Read more on Alessandra’s blog here

TriKonf: one month to go!



Time flies… and the TriKonf is in exactly one month! Preparations are going well, we’re now working on putting the final touches to the programme and the fringe programme. On Friday afternoon, those who are not attending Jost Zetzsche’s workshop can join us for a coffee/drink followed by a city tour (if the weather is on our side). Throughout the weekend, Alejandro Moreno-Ramos (the author of the “Mox” series), and Jost Zetzsche, will each have a book table to sell and sign their respective books. More information is available on the Fringe Programme page.

There’s still time to register – The “regular” pricing ends in 2 weeks (Oct. 4th), and after that date, there will still be a week left to register, but at the “last-minute” pricing (with an extra fee applying). Registration closes Oct. 11th – no ticket can and will be sold beyond that point (including workshops and networking dinner).

Make sure you register before October 4th to avoid paying the last-minute fee! ;)

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you in Freiburg next month!

iPLATO Innovation Improves Patient Access to GP Services

London, 11 September 2013 - iPLATO Healthcare, a UK leader in cloud based mHealth and Analytics, has launched a new feature which allows patients to automatically cancel GP appointments via their mobile phone without intervention by reception staff at the practice. This new iPLATO feature – available for Enterprise and Pro users – will further reduce the practice workload related to appointment management and improve patient access to GP services.

Early users of automated cancellations are excited about the possibilities of this new feature. “Whilst eliminating effort for practice staff to deal with incoming cancellation requests from patients, this new feature has significantly sped up the process of making short term appointments available for other patients” says Lesley Kenny, Practice Manager and trial practice at The Hammersmith Surgery. “The reception team find it extremely efficient as freed up appointments can be given to someone else phoning in. I strongly urge all iPLATO users to trial ‘automated cancellations’ and not miss out!”

“Automated appointment cancellations is part of a broader feature set that aims to update the practice’s GP System automatically based on incoming messages from patients” says Tobias Alpsten, CEO of iPLATO Healthcare. “The new iPLATO feature recognises ‘Keywords’ so, when a patient sends a Keyword such as ‘CANCEL’ as a reply to an appointment reminder, the appointment is automatically removed from the GP System and the practice reception are notified via e-mail. This new feature improves patient services and reduces the administrational burden for practices to manage appointments.”

“Improved access to GP services reduces pressure on A&E” adds Alpsten. “In addition to improved access to GP services the Keyword feature will lead to long term outcomes such as reduced workload for reaching QoF targets and reduced pressure on switchboards.

Overall it’s a win-win-win for our commissioners, practices and patients!”

About iPLATO
iPLATO Healthcare is British innovation company. iPLATO’s evidence based mobile health solutions have proven to improve patient access to healthcare, to enable powerful health promotion targeted at people at risk and to support people with long term conditions.

Serving millions of patients and thousands of healthcare professionals every day iPLATO has emerged as the leader in mobile health. Across this network the company is running campaigns to promote smoking cessation, weight loss, childhood immunisation and pandemic awareness as well as mobile disease management services for people with diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy and HIV.

iPLATO Healthcare’s mission is to, in partnership with clinicians, help healthcare commissioners transform patient care through cloud based mHealth and Analytics.

Press release source:

TriKonf 2013 Speaker Spotlight: Ana Iaria

AnaphotoAna Luiza Iaria (MSc, FCIL, MITI, CL (Translator), ATA member) is a former lawyer who practiced law for many years in Brazil before starting out as a translator. In addition to a law degree, she also holds a first degree in Languages and an MSc in Translation and Translation Technology, and teaches several subjects, including Publishing Skills, at the MSc program in Translation at Imperial College London as a Visiting Lecturer. Apart from presenting papers on legal translation at international conferences, she also leads workshops on tools and productivity for translators. Ana Iaria has been a Mac user for over 20 years.


Ana will present:

Working with Macs: yes, you can (English)

Macs have been around for almost 30 years now and until recently, were practically the sole territory of graphic designers and artists. They were the last choice for translators who rely on Windows-based software. Since the release of the Intel Mac computers, more and more Macs are becoming the hardware of choice for translators. Using CATs for Macs – yes, they do exist – or installing Windows or even Linux, translators have the best of both worlds at their fingertips. We will be discussing how to benefit from both operating systems and available software to maximize translators’ time and efforts.

Ana will also give the MemoQ interoperability session.

TriKonf 2013, the Tri-National Translation Conference, Freiburg/Breisgau, Germany – 18-20 october 2013

More information:
View Conference programme:

TriKonf 2013 Speaker Spotlight: Joanna Gough

joannaGough_photoJoanna Gough is of Polish origin and has lived in the UK for the last 12 years. She holds an MA in English Philology obtained from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland and an MA in Translation from the University of Surrey, UK.
After graduating from Surrey University she has been conducting research and writing on various translator-related subjects for the translation industry think-tank, TAUS.
Currently, she is a PhD student at the University of Surrey, researching translation technologies and the human-computer interaction in translation.
Joanna’s research interests encompass a variety of language and technology-related subjects, such as tools and resources for translators, process-oriented translation research, the evolution of the Web and its impact on translation, and many more.

Joanna will present:

The patterns of interaction between professional translators and online resources (English)

“Translation is a multi-faceted activity that involves, amongst other processes, the simultaneous use of internal and external resources, i.e. the linguistic and world knowledge translators already possess and the resources they access externally to find new information.
Process-oriented translation research has been focusing on the internal translation processes (taking place in translators’ minds while they translate), but little attention has been paid to how they access and utilise the external resources available to them.
This research gap is further exacerbated by the fact that the way translators produce texts has recently dramatically changed due to the increased availability of translation technology and online resources. This leads to a situation where, whilst the amount of tools and resources available to translators is growing exponentially, little is known about the interaction between translators and these tools and resources.
My research aims to fill this gap and seeks to identify distinctive patterns of behaviour (styles) with regard to the use of translation tools and resources.

This presentation will cover the findings from my research, mainly from the questionnaire based on 540 responses, from the pilot study and, should they become available at the time of the presentation, any preliminary findings from the main study.”

TriKonf 2013, the Tri-National Translation Conference, Freiburg/Breisgau, Germany – 18-20 october 2013

More information:
View Conference programme: