eCPD Webinars and the Alexandria Project announce strategic partnership

Worthing (UK)/Emmendingen (Germany) – July, 22nd, 2013. eCPD Webinars and the Alexandria Project, specialised in CPD services for linguists, professional interpreters and translators, announce their new partnership.

Based in the UK and run by language professionals for language professionals, eCPD Webinars enables busy and committed professionals in language-related industries to learn from the top experts in their field and to improve their careers, all from the comfort of their home or office, by offering a programme of relevant events directly to individual linguists and by organising and promoting events on behalf of organisations and companies. eCPD Webinars is dedicated to language professionals and to anyone working in the language industry, including translators, interpreters, terminologists, project managers and those working in areas such as localisation, subtitling, and technical writing.

Based in Germany as a sub-company of GxP Language Services, the Alexandria virtual library was created by translators, is open to both translation buyers and providers and offers an array of resources for translators, such as CPD (continuous professional development), together with services such as live webinars and online courses. It will soon be extended to offer various types of resources such as glossaries, videos, termbases and e-books. The Alexandria platform also has a complete area dedicated to resources and training for language services buyers.

“The translation profession is currently undergoing dramatic changes”, says Siegfried Armbruster, owner of GxP Language Services and founder of the Alexandria Project. “For this reason, we think that translators should (re)take control of their own industry. This indeed is one of the reasons why we started the Alexandria Project, as translators ourselves: training and professional development is an essential area. Such a project can only work through international collaboration and this is a time to work together and not to be divided. We’re thrilled by this partnership with eCPD Webinars, an established leader in continuous professional development for professional linguists – Unity leads to strength!”

 “I am delighted to be working with the Alexandria Project”, adds Lucy Brooks, Managing Director of eCPD Webinars. “I started eCPD Webinars three years ago to provide quality training for translators who, for one reason or another, find it difficult to attend face-to-face events. Continuing Education – professional development – is so important for practitioners of our profession, and it should be available to all. By providing easy-access to on-line events, we and our partners are helping translators to achieve maximum professionalism in their work – and at a very reasonable cost in terms of time and money. I look forward to developing our partnership with the Alexandria Project.”

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Cracow Translation Days 2013

800px-Krakow_rynek_01The Cracow Translation Days will be held from 6–8 September 2013.

The Cracow Translation Days are an international conference for professional translators that offers more than just plain vanilla. With a focus on professional education, networking and intercultural exchange, this is not just another conference in an impersonal convention centre, where the goal seems to be to attend as many talks as possible in as little time as possible. The Cracow Translation Days give priority to quality, not to quantity.

The organisers have chosen a special location for a special conference, the Benedictine abbey of Tyniec, 13 km southwest of Cracow, and put together an extensive social programme in and around Cracow.

Registration for this non-profit conference is now open. Abstracts for talks, workshops or roundtables are being accepted until 31 May 2013.

For more information, please visit the conference website.

(GxP Language Services is not affiliated with the organizers nor is organizing or helping to organize this event. We will just be attending it.)

Individual LinkedIn profile reviews for translators

385960_265050020213274_264923873559222_829098_1029931420_nIt has been on my mind for a while, finally it is there: using the Alexandria platform to offer individual LinkedIn profile sessions for translators.

A very powerful and efficient way of promoting your services to the world, your LinkedIn profile should be a true shop-window of who you are, the services you provide, your expertise and your skills. With the new LinkedIn profile rolling out, many things have changed!

If you’re interested in a tailored, interactive and private review and help with your translator LinkedIn profile, this is a good opportunity – it will take place on April 16th.

There are 5 slots of 30 minutes each available throughout the day in the virtual classroom. Registration is limited to one person per slot, so there are only 5 seats available. If the concept works and if there is further demand, such an afternoon may be organized on a regular basis again.

Make sure you have a microphone – it will be very interactive!

Complete information and registration here

I’m looking forward to help you boost your LinkedIn profile! ;)

TriKonf 2013 – “Professionalization & Interoperability in the Translation Industry”

GxP Language Services announced the first Tri-National Translation Conference (“TriKonf 2013″) to be held on October 19th and 20th, 2013 in Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany), under the motto “Professionalization & Interoperability in the Translation Industry”.

“In recent times the media have constantly featured reports about so-called universal translators or what wonderful things machine translation can now do for us”, explains Siegfried Armbruster, owner of GxP Language Services. “This hype is spread by groups who want to convince potential sponsors to attract even more investment in their projects. What is overlooked again and again is the fact that qualified human translators and interpreters are still the only guarantee that linguistic content is adapted correctly and understandably into another language. With this conference, we aim to provide translators and interpreters with a platform that not just makes them familiar with the latest developments, but which also facilitates joint discussion in order to prevent too many customers being impressed by these surrealistic fantasies. When used correctly, technology can accelerate the translation process and improve its quality. Exaggerated and irresponsible use of translation technology however leads to unusable results. As long as the alleged cost reductions in the translation process have to be paid for by quality reductions in the final result, every customer should ask themselves whether they can really afford cheap(er) translations.”

For more information, visit the conference website (available in English, German and French): http://trikonf.com
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TriKonf2013, the Tri-national Translation Conference

The GxP Language Sevices team is very proud to announce the first Tri-national Translation conference!

It will be held on October 19th and 20th, 2013 in the beautiful and historical German city of Freiburg im Breisgau, capital of the Black Forest. Right at the heart of the “Dreiländereck” where Germany, France and Switzerland meet.  The conference will be held in German and in French for German, Swiss and French translators, but also in English to make sure all international participants feel welcome! For this reason, the event will be completely trilingual and will feature one room for each language.

The conference itself will be held on Saturday, October 19th and Sunday, October 20th, 2013. A workshop day will be held the day before, on Friday 18th.

©FWTM/Scherer

We chose one of Freiburg’s most famous historical monuments as the venue for this exceptional event…  the Historical Merchants Hall (Historisches Kaufhaus), right in front of the cathedral, at the heart of the historic city centre. Built around 1520-1521, the historical Merchants Hall, with its magnificent red facade, is a true architectural and historical gem and therefore one of the most extraordinary conference venues in the region.

Full programme and registration are not available yet as we are still working on the planning, but the conference already has its Facebook Page where all the news will be posted.

For more information, visit the conference website (available in English, German and French): http://trikonf.com

We look forward to welcoming you in Freiburg in October!

People who rock the industry – Erik Hansson

It’s time for the  January 2013 interview! with Erik Hansson. Happy reading!


 Hi Erik! Tell us about you (your personal/professional background)

Thanks a lot for giving me the opportunity to take part in your interview series! I’m a Swedish native (born in the city of Lund in the southern part of Sweden) and have been living in Germany since 1991. The reason for moving to another country? Well, that’s an easy one: my German girlfriend. I guess I’m just one of the many who at a certain point in their life decide to take the leap and leave their home country.

As I have always been very interested in foreign countries, languages and cultures, I knew as far back as my early teens that I would probably live abroad later on in life. I had English and German at school, and finished my education with a three-year course at a technical college with a focus on electrotechnology. After having worked as an assembler and quality checker within the medical-technical industry (with a focus on audiometry and dialysis) for some years, it was time to take another path, so I signed up for a university program in political science. Definitely a fascinating subject.

What were the turning points in your career that got you where you are now?

One of my turning points was when I moved to Germany and more or less by chance got started as an English teacher for adults. Back in the beginning of the 1990s, there was a huge demand for English language trainers in different courses aimed at unemployed adults in the eastern part of Germany. Around 1994, I started to do my first translations from German into Swedish parallel with the English training courses. In 1999 I decided to leave the training sector and focus entirely on translations. Over the years, my clients who once had sent me Swedish translation work came back and asked if I could also provide translations into other languages. This was the start of my agency business. In the new millennium, I got more active on different professional portals which meant that I got in contact with many new colleagues. With today’s social media it has become even easier to build up networks with peers.

You studied political science. How does one go from this subject matter to software and technical translations?

Well, honestly, that’s a good question! In addition to my fascination for languages, I have always been interested in questions regarding politics, democracy, policy-making and governance. Certain sub-disciplines of political science intersect with ethnic minority rights. This also includes everybody’s right to communicate in their own mother tongue. For practical reasons, my soft spot for ethnic minority issues is quite peripheral during my daily work with technical documents to be translated from German into Swedish. Nevertheless, I’m still very fascinated by subjects such as minority languages and bilingualism.

Tell us about The WinTitus Software Project.

Around eight years ago I realized that I spent far too much time just on daily administration tasks at the office, such as updating the address data for clients, creating quotes, issuing invoices and keeping track of payments. Instead of handling all these data manually, i.e. having one directory for addresses, another one for quotes and a third one for invoices etc, I thought about a software solution for this. Together with a programmer we developed a tailor-made project management software.

Since we started using WinTitus in 2005 we have saved probably thousands of working hours – one of the basic features is a database where we store all of the relevant data for all of the partners we are interacting with (translators, agencies and end-clients). When creating a quote in a certain language pair, the database can suggest exactly those translators who offer this language pair and work in this particular field. Generating a quote takes less than a minute this way.

If the client accepts the quote, we can quickly convert the quote into a job and don’t need to enter all the data again. Once the job has been done and the translation has been delivered, we convert the job into an invoice – and you’re right, it only takes a second.

Apart from the quick processing, we can also easily keep track of payments. It’s always a nice feeling to know if a client has paid the last invoice due five weeks ago when they suddenly give you a call and ask for another quote. Getting a clear picture of the client’s payment behavior is only a mouse click away.

Together with the programmer we are constantly improving WinTitus and implementing new features, such as individually defined units for charging (per source word, line, page, hour etc). There is only a German interface of the program, but we do have plans for other languages.

You are a DVÜD founder member and member of the Advisory Board. What are your tasks and what does the DVÜD do?

When we founded the DVÜD in November 2011, our motivation was that we wanted to place a focus, different from that of existing professional organizations, on our work. We might have the same aims as similar organisations, but we want to take a different road and utilize the modern networking advantages that Web 2.0 technologies offer, and this is a vast field!

We are at the very beginning of our work, but are already the talk of the town within the translation sector in Germany. In our very first year we achieved a lot, such as launching the website http://www.dvud.de and the DVÜD forum, offering free or discounted services from our partners (insurance companies, lawyers, tax consultants) and networking among colleagues. We also organize webinars on different subjects such as calculating translation services, generating quotes, negotiating with clients, integrating the standard DIN EN 15038 in daily translation work and many more topics. These webinars target young colleagues who have just finished their studies, career changers who originally worked in other business sectors, as well as experienced translators.

Our main objectives are to strengthen the professional status of translators and interpreters within the German economy and to explain our contribution to the export business. Another important objective is to lobby for decent rates for translation and interpreting services.

In our opinion, it’s very important to explain to freelance translators what they need to do to be successful in the market, and how they can act as convincing business people towards their clients, either agencies or end clients. Translators who don’t perceive themselves as business people can’t expect to be regarded as equals by their clients when it comes to negotiations about the rates. This is a key issue when negotiating with clients.

What is your take on MT and post-editing?

lapla_0503

Sending off a tweet from Swedish Lapland – always on duty.

Even if we still laugh at the outcome of some machine translations, we have to keep in mind that this technology is constantly developing, and getting more sophisticated. MT is here to stay, whether we agree with it or not. However, it is also important to know that this technology will never be as reliable as human translations as it cannot be used for any text or subject, and cannot detect the language style which is suitable for a special target group.

In order to get an acceptable outcome, i.e. to only translate the gist of a text, the source text must be written in a so-called controlled language, i.e. standard phrases and vocabulary. It is not realistic to assume that a high number of documents in the future will be written in controlled language and thus be suitable for MT.

The main question however, once clients have realized that the outcome from MT is not good enough, is whether we as translators will have the courage to turn down post-editing jobs, or accept to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for clients who use MT. In many cases, just as much (if not more) effort is required to edit a bad translation as that required to translate the text all over again, and the outcome is very often mediocre compared to a new translation from scratch. Those who decide to get into the post-editing business have to know how to charge for their services.

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Act as a professional translator and get specialized within clearly defined fields; don’t jump on every possible job. Join a professional organization which has a mentorship program for young translators. Keep your eyes wide open for different webinars which will bring you further in your profession. Attend translators’ gatherings and establish a network with other colleagues. Take part in discussions on social media.

In your opinion, what does the future of our profession look like?

Well, I am quite optimistic about the future. We alone are responsible for the path our profession will take. There will always be a demand for translators, but we need to raise the standards, i.e. do what is necessary when it comes to networking, marketing, attending webinars and learning how to sell our services at decent rates. In order to reach these rates, it is crucial that our clients understand what translation work really means, and what the consequences of using MT or less qualified translators could be. There is a lot of work to be done

 Erik, thanks a lot for your time!

7 myths in using Facebook for business (and in general)

amis-facebookRandom thoughts… 7 myths or mistakes you may be doing, without knowing it, on Facebook.

Myth 1: no, it is not possible to know who has seen your Facebook profile, so pleeeaaaaaase stop installing apps that claim the contrary and that post status updates to your profile calling your friends to install it. Really, please, stop.

Myth 2: no, sharing your tweets on your Facebook Profile/Page is not such a great idea. It is counterproductive and extremely annoying for anyone following you on Facebook. And for those following you on both: even worse. Facebook has a very different netiquette from Twitter. You don’t tweet on Facebook. You tweet on Twitter Same goes for “RTing” people on Facebook, by the way: huh?

Myth 3:  no, the copyright and privacy disclaimer that you have to post as a status to prevent FB from using your data is not for real. It’s a hoax, and it’s been ciruclating for months. Please, please, stop sharing it. (“In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communique, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.”)

Myth 4: no, your professional contacts don’t care about your workout stats, so pleeeaaaase stop sharing the runtastic report of your latest run (or any other sport tracking app, for that matter) with said business contacts (your personal contacts are a complete other matter –  you do what you want, personal stuff is personal stuff. But there is personal stuff your business contacts really don’t need to see/read. No? )

Myth 5: no, the status update asking your Friends to hover over your name and change their settings so that friends of friends of friends don’t see what you like or post is a fake too. This is a hoax that has been circulating since May 2011. (“To all my FB friends, may I request you to please do something for me: I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. However, with the recent changes in FB, the public can now see activities in any wall. This happens when our friend hits “like” or “comment”, automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we cannot change this setting by ourselves because Facebook has configured it this way. So I need your help. Only you can do this for me. PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (do not click), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on “COMMENTS & LIKE” by clicking on it. By doing this, my activity amongst my friends and my family will no longer become public. Many thanks! Paste this on your wall so your contacts would follow suit too, that is, if you care about your privacy.”) – and similar ones, there are some variants of it.

Myth 6: no, Facebook will not become a paying service anytime soon, so please stop sharing hoaxes pretending otherwise…

And if you don’t believe me, see Facebook’s FAQ – Common Myths about Facebook.

Myth 7: no, your phone number is not accessible to anyone on Facebook. Unless you entered it yourself and made it public. So, the status update claiming “ALL THE PHONE NUMBERS IN YOUR PHONE… INCLUDING YOURS are now on FACEBOOK! go to the top right of the screen, click on ACCOUNT, click on EDIT FRIENDS, left side of screen and click CONTACTS. you will see all phone numbers from your phone are published that you have stored in your mobile phone. TO REMOVE, go to RIGHT column, click on “this page.” please repost this on your status, so your friends can remove their numbers and thus prevent abuse if they do not want them published.” is just a big hoax… and an old one, from 2010 or so.

There are many more! Which ones come to your mind?