First TriKonf 2013 speakers now announced

We’re very happy to announce the first confirmed TriKonf 2013 speakers to date:

Jerzy Czopik, translator, trainer and auditor
Yana Onikiychuk, Medical Doctor, medical translator and interpreter
Nelia Fahloun, owner of Babeliane Traductions
Stefan Gentz, senior consultant and trainer at tracom.de
Yves Champollion, founder and creator of Wordfast
Ana Iaria, lawyer, translator, FCIL, Chartered Linguist, Lecturer at Imperial College in London & London Metropolitan University
Alessandra Martelli, translator, copywriter & professional trainer, owner of MTM Translations
Anne-Marie Robert, owner of Tilt Communications
- Emmanuel Planas, enseignant d’Informatique pour la Traduction à Université Catholique de l’Ouest (Angers), chercheur associé au Laboratoire d’Informatique de Nantes Atlantique
Marek Pawelec, translator and trainer
Rebecca PetrasTranslators without Borders Program Director

Keynote speakers:
- Saturday – Ralf Lemster

- Sunday – Prof. Philipp Koehn (see Wikipedia page)

More names and information will be added to the Speakers Page as speakers confirm and send us their presentation details.

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.)

Interview with… André Lindemann

A.LindemannI had the pleasure of interviewing BDÜ’s President, André Lindemann. With 7000 members, the BDÜ (German Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators – Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Űbersetzer e.V.) is Germany’s largest professional association in the industry. It represents 75% of all professional translators and interpreters in Germany and has been representing their interests since 1955. We covered many topics in this interview, and it has been a true pleasure – thank you again, André!

The German version of this interview is available here.


Hi André. Thank you for agreeing to this interview. What can you tell us about your background and your career? Who are you and how did you come to this profession?

I grew up near the German-Polish border in the state of Brandenburg, which is once more my place of residence and where meanwhile, I’m in the second half of life, happily married and have an adult son.

I originally wanted to study for a degree in criminology after secondary school then, in the early Eighties, I was persuaded by my future employer – the Ministry of the Interior of the erstwhile GDR – to study for a degree in translation and interpreting, which I was awarded in 1986 at Leipzig University for the languages Polish and Russian. I subsequently interpreted and translated for all areas of the Ministry of the Interior (police, justice, fire, etc.) until the end of 1990. After German reunification and a three-year period of constant change in employment and vocational orientation, I finally landed back with the police in 1994 as a staff interpreter and translator.

You are an interpreter and translator for the Brandenburg State Police, but also self-employed. What does a typical day look like for you?

If there are no interpreting assignments pending outside normal office working hours – or at the office – I cross the border to Poland and go to my office at the Joint Centre of German-Polish Police and Customs Cooperation in Świecko, where I provide translation support to my colleagues in international police legal assistance, or in the coordination of German-Polish police cooperation. Several times a week there are conversations, work consultations, conferences and training sessions which require interpretation for representatives of the Polish and German security authorities (police, border guards, customs, prosecutors, etc.). What I particularly love about my professional work is the constant change between translating and interpreting.

My part-time self-employment is currently limited to appointments at the courts for interpreting and translation for a few regular and new customers.

The majority of my spare time is dedicated to my work for the BDÜ (Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators). Just like the profession, the association is also in a phase of change and here, I can actively contribute with my involvement. Together with the positive results of the task, cooperation in association committees has an almost family atmosphere, which provides me with an extremely high level of satisfaction.

Your working languages are Russian and Polish; why not English as well? How does one manage in this profession in 2013 without English?

These days, I’m actually working as an interpreter with just one working language: Polish. Although I continue to translate from the Russian language, I’m no longer working as an interpreter, because for decades, I have no longer had enough activity to provide the practical experience required.

In professional practice, I get along quite well without English, dealing as I do almost exclusively with German and Polish police officers. The situation is different in my volunteer work for the BDÜ, where my English is not always good enough for international meetings and conferences in particular and unfortunately very few participants speak Polish. I am therefore currently trying to refresh my knowledge of the English language a little but in important conversations, I always rely upon the support of a competent interpreter.

You are president of the BDÜ. What can you tell us about the goals, structure and tasks of the BDÜ?

With over 7,000 members, the Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ) is the largest association for our profession in Germany. It represents about 80 percent of all organised translators and interpreters in Germany, is the contact point for government, industry, trade, and it is responsible for all matters related to both the education and training of and for language service providers. Experienced members of the association become involved, for example, as reviewers of translations, as auditors of state examination boards or as consultants in the development of new vocational qualifications.

The BDÜ has been representing the interests of professional interpreters and translators for over 50 years and the BDÜ umbrella organisation, based in Berlin, represents 13 affiliated member associations. The member associations work at provincial state level or are grouped by profession, such as the “Verband der Konferenzdolmetscher e.V. (VKD) im BDÜ” (Association of Conference interpreters) ”. Internationally, the BDÜ is networked with European organisations like EULITA or FIT Europe, as well as the global umbrella association, the International Federation of Translators (FIT) and the CIUTI.

How did you come to this position as President of the BDÜ?

I had been taking part in the association’s work for a long time, so the simple answer to this question is that the General Assembly of the Association elected me to the function. As a BDÜ member since 1993, I “took office” two years thereafter with their Berlin-Brandenburg state association, where I performed various functions up to January 2009, most recently as Chairman there. A few months later, I was elected to the National Executive Board of the association, where I took on particular responsibility for the areas of interpreting and translation in the legal field, as well as the activities of staff interpreters and translators. I was then elected President of the BDÜ at Speyer during April 2011.

BDÜ_ Logo (Internet)Can you tell us something about the petition to increase the fees and remuneration of interpreters and translators working for the judiciary and your commitment to it?

The BDÜ and the other German professional associations have been fighting for decades to generate reasonable compensation for interpreters and translators – both those who work for the judiciary – as well as those who work in other areas. In terms of preparation of the amendment to the JVEG (German Judicial Remuneration and Allowances Act) – a law which inter alia covers the remuneration of interpreters and translators who are appointed by the judiciary and law enforcement authorities –we have, in recent years, been very active. We have been conceiving and agreeing our substantive position, carried out countless discussions with ministries and members of parliament and have repeatedly presented our reasoning to reinforce support of our individual agenda items.

It is only in the judiciary sector in Germany that remuneration for our freelance colleagues is regulated at law, so the representation of the interests of our members here is particularly important and this can trigger a signal for the entire profession.

After our demands were not adequately accounted for in the draft legislation published, we searched for further ways to influence policy-makers and in doing also submitted an e-petition to the German Parliament for the first time. With a lack of detailed experience here and the difficulty in Germany of mobilising  a relatively small sector, I am not quite dissatisfied with the result: we were, after all, supported by 4,915 signatures.
In addition, and as far as I know for the first time in history, many individual interpreters and in particular translators who were affected referred the matter by means of personal letters to members of parliament and ministries, thus further increasing the pressure on the government.

During recent years, we can certainly note heightened perception of representatives of the profession in political circles. Meanwhile, politicians proactively ask about the expertise of our association wherever it is a case of our professional activity. It was for the first time that a representative of the profession was invited to a public hearing in the Federal Parliament in the person of the BDÜ President.

Further discussions by the Federal Parliament on May 16 about the legislative package will show the extent to which the interests of our members have been successfully represented. Having been made party to the latest information, I’m confident that the results of this work in connection with the law targeted for the early summer will at least bring a noticeable improvement in compensation for many colleagues, even if it understandably lags somewhat behind some goals that are quite ambitious and does not satisfy all.

How do you respond as an association to increasing globalisation and the resulting pressure on prices?

By definition, economic globalisation also offers our industry many advantages, since all those who want to export or import something must communicate with their international partners. In addition to that, there are contracts, operating manuals, and much more that needs to be transferred from one language to another. For this, qualified resources are required and all forecasts predict that in the area of language services provision, a continued annual growth of 10% is expected. That is one side of the coin. But of course globalisation also means increased competition, so that rates are in fact under pressure. This has, however, only had limited influence upon the German market, according to our own research. The BDÜ rates surveys in recent years rather indicate stable rates or indeed slightly higher rates.

As we see it, informing the public – especially potential clients – about the significance of quality in language services, the possibilities for finding a qualified linguist, the benefits of in-house language services and the dangers of machine translation are among the most important tasks for us as a professional association. We also attach great importance to the continuous professional development of our association members, especially in the entrepreneurial area. Overall, the BDÜ annually runs more than 250 different training events. As an association, we have established that colleagues who are most successful are those who can name a clear specialisation for themselves, can position this in the market and who have an entrepreneurial mindset. We are therefore working to constantly improve the business skills of our members and to assist them on their way towards specialisation.

As a German association, or in cooperation with other associations, what do you do to assist translators in positioning themselves better within the international marketplace?

The BDÜ provides its members with diverse possibilities for general or sector-specific marketing via the on-line search on the association website or using various lists of specialised professional interpreters and translators that are available. On the other hand, the association is expanding its continuous professional development offerings, particularly in the field of basic entrepreneurial skills base of its members. As an example last year, they were offered two series of free webinars covering various topics such as estimating, bidding, price negotiations and similar.

How do you see the German translation market?

Even although Germany is no longer the export champion of the world, exports still play a key role in the German economy. This inevitably leads to a high requirement for translation, whereby the time factor is increasingly becoming a decisive element, because translations of manuals, operating instructions or websites in several languages must be done timely and concurrently.

Despite these requirements, and by contrast to the translation markets of many other countries, the German translation market is still highly-fragmented, with many single-person or small enterprises and not quite so many large operators. This also becomes evident from statistics, according to which a micro-census showed that of approximately 38,000 interpreters and translators in Germany, more than half of all translators are self-employed and working alone. Reverting specifically to being able to react appropriately to the requirements that the marketplace sets, it will become ever more necessary to build networks and it is particularly here that the networking facilities offered by our association constitute a competitive advantage.

What is your opinion of the future for translators and interpreters?

Of course, I have no crystal ball for the future, but the question of where the journey is heading has already been touched upon. We assume that the market for language services will continue to grow dynamically with the progress of continuing globalisation, which means that the aforementioned tendency for pressure in the areas of deadlines and remuneration will together provide increasing competition.

For present and future translators and interpreters, it will be dependent upon their ability to perform correctly with well-founded language and translation skills as qualified translators and / or interpreters. In addition to that, we can add specialisation, which also encompasses the principle of “lifelong learning”. Thirdly, ‘willingness’ should be mentioned. The willingness to work together either on a project-related basis or permanently in multilingual or cross-functional networks, while adapting our entrepreneurial profiles to the market in such a way that they offer higher added value to the client and can ensure an adequate personal return. There is one thing that I am 100% sure about: Despite the fact that virtually everyone is somehow able to communicate in English, and despite ever-improving machine translation tools, people will ALWAYS need those who can reliable and competently communicate between two languages and consequently between two cultures.

Thank you very much for your time André!

(Translated from German by Textklick)

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
Join the official Facebook Page
Join the Facebook Event

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!

SDL to Supply Multiple European Union Institutions with CAT Solutions

Maidenhead, U.K. - 29 January 2013

SDL (LSE: SDL), today announced that Trados GmbH, legal subsidiary and entity of SDL, has signed a framework agreement with the European Commission. SDL Trados Studio 2011®, SDL’s flagship translation memory system, has been chosen as the computer-aided translation (CAT) tool of choice by the European Commission on behalf of a group of 8 European Institutions. The EC has awarded SDL the contract to revitalize its existing translation memory infrastructure.

The European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Court of Auditors, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions of the European Union, as well as the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union will equip approximately 4300 internal translators with the SDL Trados Studio system.
SDL Trados Studio provides a suite of tools necessary to create, edit and review high quality translations in the quickest possible time and is the de facto market leading translation software to increase translator productivity. SDL Trados Studio was chosen as the winning solution on the basis of over 100 requirements, given its open architecture, extensive API, and software maturity. The award of this contract was reviewed by a large group of evaluators and follows a 2 year evaluation process beginning in October 2010.
“We are pleased that the European Commission has chosen SDL to support the European Union translation supply chain with training, certification and special licensing,” says Keith Laska, CEO of the SDL Language Technologies Division. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to extend and enhance a long term and successful partnership between our organization and the European Union. We look forward to supporting these 8 European organizations on a long-term basis.”
To learn more about the solution selected by the European Commission,http://www.translationzone.com/EU-announcement.
About SDL

SDL enables global businesses to enrich their customers’ experience through the entire customer journey.   SDL’s technology and services help brands to predict what their customers want and engage with them across multiple languages, cultures, channels and devices.
SDL has over 1,500 enterprise customers, 400 partners and a global infrastructure of 70 offices in 38 countries. 42 out of the top 50 brands work with SDL.  For more information, visit www.sdl.com.

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!