City of San Antonio Interpreting Services

junio 28th, 2021 | Posted by admin in Blog | Interpretación | Interpreting - (Comentarios desactivados)

SeproTec is, since 2017, the interpreting service provider of the City of San Antonio, Texas. It is critical to get to know a little bit more about the city in order to understand the importance and need of language services.

San Antonio is part of the Bexar County and is located in the South Texas region. It is also one of the top 10 largest cities in the USA. A wealth of history and culture are integral parts of this city where the Alamo is located, which is famously known by the battle for Texan independence from Mexico in 1836. Additionally, this is city is proud of housing 4 military bases: Randolph AFB, Lackland AFB, Fort Sam Houston, and Camp Bullis. The Alamo City is a hub of patriotism, culture and diversity.

City of San Antonio Interpreting Services

City of San Antonio Interpreting Services

This city’s demographics are Hispanic (64.2%), White (24.7%), Blacks and African Americans (6.4%), but also count with American Indians and Alaska natives as well as Asians. It is estimated that out of 1.5 million inhabitants, 42% does not speak English as first language in the households. In addition, San Antonio is a tourist destination inside and outside the United States. Consequently, the government bodies of the city need all the content to be made accessible to this part of the population. Furthermore, the federally funded programs need to be made accessible as well based on the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

SeproTec Multilingual Solutions has been helping the City of San Antonio to close the gap between the government and the people of Limited English Proficiency for some time now and once again has been recently awarded with the interpreting services contract. Currently, SeproTec is servicing the City’s different departments: Government and Public Affairs, Development Services Department, Housing Commission, …

This type of interpreting is what we call community interpreting, or in other words; the interpreting services provided to communities with a substantial number of people with Limited English Proficiency. Currently, SeproTec is bridging the gap of communication during the City Council and other important meetings for the aforementioned departments resulting in an improved reach and engagement from these communities.

As these programs evolve, SeproTec Multilingual Solutions will continue servicing and developing roots with the local governments and communities. As firm believers of language accessibility, we promote a more inclusive society in which the language barrier does not limit the people understanding and interaction with their local, state and federal governments. We thank the City of San Antonio for placing its trust and confidence in SeproTec Multilingual Solutions.

According to the UN, over 280 million people 3.6% of the global population lives outside their country of origin, both legally and irregularly, and there are 26 million refugees.

The role of linguistic-cultural mediators, also known as intercultural mediators , is essential when it comes to welcoming migrants who come to a country after fleeing critical situations. When we travel abroad, we not only encounter a language barrier, but a cultural barrier as well. And these difficulties are accentuated when people are traveling out of a need for asylum and refuge, that is, people who are persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion, often in conflict contexts.

The role of cultural mediators in the asylum and refugee processes for migrants

 

The role of cultural mediators

Interpreters and cultural mediators are professionals with different abilities. Not all interpreters can perform cultural mediation, and not all cultural mediators have professional interpreting skills.  A cultural mediator is a person who facilitates mutual understanding between, for example, a person or a group of people who are migrants or applicants for refuge and asylum and the professional from the receiving country who is offering them assistance (a doctor, for example, a border official, the police, or a psychologist or social worker), interpreting and taking into account cultural elements. The cultural mediator facilitates the reception and integration phases of migrants and can advise both parties on appropriate cultural behaviors.

To better understand the figure of the cultural mediator, it is important to put yourself in the shoes of immigrants. Most of them arrive fleeing an extreme situation following a path that, on many occasions, involves equally harsh and traumatic conditions. This means that people arrive in poor physical and mental condition, making it necessary for the help of essential services to be sought.

Doctors, psychologists and social services alike need the trust of the migrant for their work to be carried out successfully. Cultural mediation helps these people, who have been victims of torture and abuse, to feel welcomed and understood at such a remove from their place of origin.

At SeproTec we provide cultural mediation services in different countries and in very different situations as we work with different NGOs, at points of arrival in ports, refugee camps, centers for unaccompanied minors, hospitals and health centers, and we also provide assistance in medical and paramedical services, health promotion, psychological services and legal advice. Although this is not always the case due to the circumstances surrounding each arrival point and the volume of migratory flows, normally, the cultural mediator is of the same nationality as the asylum seeker, someone who speaks to them in their language, who is familiar with their culture, and explains their rights and options to them at each stage of the process. They are also in charge of anticipating what is going to happen and, ultimately, of ensuring that the exchange of information is relevant and fruitful.

Beyond interpreting

Although the service we provide to refugees uses language as a vehicle, the work of mediators goes beyond mere interpreting. The aim is to facilitate integration through a better understanding between two cultures. For example, in a medical visit, doctors are advised on how to proceed with their examinations to avoid situations that would embarrass or disturb the patient.

Furthermore, if the mediator considers it important, they will not limit themselves just to the information offered by the migrant or professional and will instead offer an explanatory context regarding details and reasons. In other words, the work of a cultural mediator is oriented more towards integration than the simple transmission of information. The added value of this type of service lies more in the ability to overcome cultural barriers than in ensuring 100% correctness in the language.

Follow-up of each case

After each service process, it is important that a follow-up be performed on the asylum and refugee claimant by the professionals and the mediation facilitators. Once again, the job of the mediator is to contextualize the aid and the evolution, taking into account the specific situation and the customs of the place of origin.

In addition, while serving immigrants who are requesting asylum or refuge our help can also go one step further. If necessary, we help them fill out forms and we explain the meaning of the information we are giving them.

Our work as cultural mediators is one of the most rewarding applications within the translation and interpreting field, as it allows us to be of assistance in humanitarian emergencies. At all times we aim to act as a bridge for refugees, between the life they are starting, and the life they have left behind.

 

 

 

Chatting with a Conference Interpreter on RSI services

mayo 20th, 2020 | Posted by admin in Chatting with... | Interpreting | RSI | SeproTec - (Comentarios desactivados)

Due to the rise of remote interpreting services and more specifically the Remote Simultaneous Interpretation, we would like you to meet Loreto Rodríguez Untoria, one of our most trusted conference interpreters to chat about the service and to share with you a professional’s point of view.

Hi, Loreto! We’re so glad you agreed to talk to us and to share your point of view! Let’s get straight to the point. Several weeks ago, we woke up in a completely different reality. To make a long story short: the world went online. This affects interpreting companies as well. We’ve read the stories of businesses going online but how about conference interpreters: how do you feel this challenge affects you?

Of course, our interpreting lives, and personal lives, have been turned upside down. I consider myself lucky because in the field of market research we have been using these systems for at least five years. Still, we will have to go through training on how to use these new platforms. Also, when we use them for the first time, we face many challenges and our work becomes even more stressful. This new way of working is also affecting our families who need to remain quiet and stay away from the WIFI, not an easy task with teens at home.

From your experience, do you think clients take Remote Simultaneous Interpreting as an opportunity or a threat?

I actually consider it an opportunity. Face to face meetings will come back, but many companies are realizing that remote systems are good for smaller meetings which went without translation because clients wanted to avoid travelling expenses and all costs associated with simultaneous interpreting.

I think that in the future both systems will coexist, clients are already realizing that RSI is feasible for many types of meetings and events and we will benefit from the concurrence of different solutions, as proven in so many sectors.

We at SeproTec believe that moving the conferences and events to the online world can help clients go through the crisis. We also strongly believe that, with the help of professional interpreting companies they can be well prepared to host multilingual online events and we are concentrating our efforts in explaining  and counselling them on the various options available in the market to best suit their needs.  As a professional interpreter with experience on RSI, what would be your advice to the clients?

I totally agree with you, RSI can be very helpful for businesses that want to thrive in these difficult times. My advice to the clients is to trust an experienced provider. They will be able to support them with the platform that best suits their needs, contact the best interpreters for specific services and organise all the technical aspects. Also, as happens in face to face meetings, the events can be more successful if the client can provide us, the interpreters, with the necessary documentation so that we can prepare for the event. It is also advisable to run a test before the event and to be able to talk to the main speakers to further clarify terms and to explain to them how interpretation works.

Also, for those who want to try RSI but are reluctant, my advice is to start with a small meeting or a webinar, so they can see the dynamic and become familiar with interpretation services. I am sure that afterwards they will feel more comfortable to take on bigger events.

The technology available on the market is improving on a daily basis and we are getting new solutions every day.  Prior to COVID-19 shutdowns, only 17% professional interpreters embraced and were familiar with RSI technologies. From our experience, the interpreters we work with are, on the contrary, always excited to be able to use the newest technologies which may facilitate this process. So, are you willing to use it?

I’m more than ready!!! And based on what I’ve seen in LinkedIn and on what I’ve heard, most of my colleagues are also happy to embrace these new platforms. Most of us are learning about them and, I guess, platform developers are also learning to improve them to make them more interpreter friendly.

What are the main advantages of a conference interpreting job being ‘transferred’ to online? Do you feel, as lots of our interpreters do, that this may be less stressful for an interpreter than working from a booth? We are not only talking about working from home – there are other places where an interpreter can perform her/his job, like a hub, office or a studio…

Well, you can sit in a nice, cosy, undisturbed spot at home where you feel comfortable working, and you can do so while wearing more comfortable clothes than the one you wear to an on-site event ;)

The great advantage is that, on line, interpreters can accept projects from all over the world, thus increasing their geographical reach. It is also good because many of the projects that they though impossible have now become feasible and it allows them to get access to the best interpreters  regardless of their geographical location, something which was unthinkable offline.

What are the main differences between onsite and remote simultaneous interpreting? Apart from not being ‘locked’ in one booth with your co-interpreter, of course :)

They are totally different!! Being at the same booth with a colleague is key to run a smooth and natural interpretation.  At the moment, with RSI to avoid inconsistencies in terminology and style, we have to keep the contact with your virtual booth mate through other desktop digital technologies, which we need to get used to.  Also, as mentioned, we miss being able to talk with the speaker before doing our job, not to mention receiving documentation beforehand. Still, I’m optimistic and I’m sure that some of the problems that we are currently facing will be solved soon.

Now that you had the chance to review SeproTec’s online training platform on RSI with some of the advice we are giving to our interpreters listed below,

do you agree? What, based on your experience, would you add to the list?

I agree with your advice, I would highlight the necessity of getting familiar with a desktop version of a secured communication tool and keep it open in your computer to better communicate with your booth mate.

It is also a good idea to invest in a good headset with noise cancellation microphone, audio surge protector, dual monitors and an uninterruptible power supply system to deliver the service with full security.

Thank you Loreto for your time and for the important insight!

Thank you!!! Keep safe everybody.

Our world has recently become a world of online presence. In the pandemic times we mainly work remotely. As an industry that relies upon travel and thrives on face-to-face interactions, we are truly aware that the recent coronavirus outbreak is a pressing concern for many professionals: those who work in event management, those who used to travel the world to take part in the board meetings and meet different stakeholders, those who take part in panel discussions, to name just a few.

Indeed, in light of the virus’ rapid spread, many events and meetings across the globe have been cancelled or postponed to help minimise the risk of contamination.

How do you create connections when you aren’t face-to-face…?

What if those events and meetings could be hosted, managed and delivered remotely and in any language?

Well wonder no more: companies with multilingual meetings are trying to find a way to push them online and they are actually successful: it is entirely possible and the technology exists – we all use video communication tools such as Skype or Hangouts every day. But many have limitations on time, the number of users or interface control and they lack an important element for multilingual events: an interpreter.

Remote Simultaneous Interpreting (RSI) is known to be revolutionizing the world of interpreting. It is to be considered the best solution for simultaneous interpretation at conferences and web meetings in which several foreign languages are spoken.

The benefits of a remote interpreting service are clear:

- It’s designed for situations where speakers, delegates and interpreters cannot travel

- There’s no need for infrastructure, costly monthly subscriptions or expensive software license – just click on the link or download an app and you’re ready to go

- It can support any number of speakers, interpreters and languages

- It allows sharing of presentations and chat among users

- It’s flexible and scalable – events can be arranged at short notice, sometimes within a few hours!

Remote Simultaneous Interpreting_SeproTec

SeproTec’s Remote Interpreting Platform covers all bases, as it is in essence a remote event conferencing software which includes consecutive or simultaneous interpretation, enabling conversations supporting any number of users and languages.