SeproTec Translator of the Month: February 2020!

marzo 17th, 2020 | Posted by admin in Interviews | Translator of the Month | Translators - (Comentarios desactivados)

We are more than happy to announce the winner of February 2020 edition of our Translator of the Month action

Translators are the driving force behind every translation company’s success. This initiative is our way to way to say thank you! and recognize the efforts of the industry professionals.

We would like to introduce you to Matthew Schlecht, one of our most trusted patent translators, translating from: Japanese, German, French and Spanish into English, with an extensive knowledge and experience in the research field.

Hi Matthew, thank you for finding some time to answer our questions :) Let’s start!

What do you start your work day with?

Upon waking, I scan my email inbox to see if any critical overnight emergencies have developed. Then, I usually start out with a two-mile vigorous early morning walk unless the weather is terrible. After the walk, I settle down with a big mug of coffee and process the merely important incoming overnight email before starting the day’s work.

Do you have a fixed schedule for work, or do you usually finish your day when your work allows you to?

I work through the morning until midday and then stop for lunch. If the schedule is tight, I get right back to work, but on a normal day I take some time to do errands and chores, and work in the garden in season, to clear my head. Then I get back to work. If I can finish up the day’s schedule by early evening I’ll stop then. If not, I continue until I finish up whatever work must go out by the next morning.

It is often said that translation is an underrated job. Do you think that people understand and value this profession or are there any misconceptions?

Although some end clients have an appreciation for the value that a translator can add, I think that many have little idea of what is involved in the translation process, or over how great a range quality can vary, and they consider translation to be a commodity. These latter clients seem to believe that high quality is still available even when budgets are driven down. Most agency project managers have a much better appreciation of how the translation process should work properly, but they too frequently have an uphill battle conveying this appreciation to the end clients.

What do you think are the greatest challenges of the translation industry nowadays?

I can summarize the challenges in terms of two drivers: faster turnaround and downwards pressures on rates. The two together are incompatible with the expectation of a professional-grade, quality translation product. Machine translation is addressing these challenges to an extent, while at the same time defining a new role for the translator as the “final out” person, the one who ensures that all aspects of the product (the translation) are of suitable and deliverable quality.

What do you enjoy most about working with SeproTec?

First, foremost, and always the project managers! They understand the translation process, and appreciate how to collaborate productively with their translators and editors. They take most of the heat from the end clients, while still treating their translators and editors with respect. The projects are also quite interesting, and the PMs realize the importance of a good fit between the translator/editor and subject matter.

What advice would you give to beginner translators?

One tip would be to focus on one or a few areas of expertise, and not to adopt the generalist or factotum translator model, which I believe has a poor future. Another is to become comfortable with machine translation, because it is not going away. There are few subject matter areas and language pairs where MT isn’t making major inroads, and those few will diminish as time goes on. One more, and perhaps the most important, is to develop good relationships with your PMs; to deal with them honestly, professionally, and with respect. This sort of investment will always pay dividends, whether in your current dealings or at some future date when you get a referral or are brought along when a PM changes positions. Become the “go to” person in your areas of expertise and language pairs, maintain high quality, and you will rarely want for work.

Thank you so much, Matthew! It’s a great honour to have you among the team of our translators. And… enjoy your SeproHoodie!

SeproTec Translator of the Month: January 2020!

febrero 25th, 2020 | Posted by admin in Blog | Interviews | SeproTec | Translator of the Month | Translators - (Comentarios desactivados)

We are more than happy to announce the winner of January 2020 edition of our Translator of the Month action

Translators are the driving force behind every translation company’s success. This initiative is our way to way to say thank you! and recognize the efforts of the industry professionals.

We would like to introduce you to Antonio Teixeira, one of our most trusted English and Spanish into Portuguese translators!

Hi Antonio! Let’s start! Being a freelancer, how do you balance work and personal life?

I have quite a defined routine: I go to the gym from 7am to 8am and after that I make a coffee and work from home from 9am to 6pm. But I am always available on the phone for any emergency translations! After 6pm I go out with friends, go for a walk or go to the cinema. I always come home early! A normal work-life balance, basically!

What do you think are the greatest challenges of the translation industry nowadays?

The relationship between new language Technologies (LTs) and machine translation on the one hand and maintaining the quality of the final product on the other. The implications for pricing are another story!

When did you realize you wanted to pursue a translation career?

I have been working as a translator for over 20 years; I’m old school! I have loved words since I learned to read.

What is your favourite book and what are you currently reading?

My favourite book is “Rayuela” by Julio Cortázar, and now I’m reading “La siliconización del mundo. La irresistible expansión del liberalismo digital” by Éric Sadin.

What advice would you give to beginner translators?

I would advise them to read, to distinguish between knowledge and information and, obviously, to be up to date with the new tools.

What do you enjoy most about working with SeproTec?

Professionalism and seriousness, but mostly friendliness and good vibes.

Thank you, Antonio! We really enjoy working with you!

SeproTec_Diploma Translator of the Month_January 2020

 

 

 

 

SeproTec Translator of the Month: December 2019!

febrero 5th, 2020 | Posted by admin in Blog | Interviews | Translator of the Month | Translators - (Comentarios desactivados)

We are more than happy to announce the winner of December 2019 edition of our Translator of the Month action!

Translators’ work is of vital importance in every translation company. This initiative is our way to way to say thank you! and recognize the efforts of the industry professionals.

We would like to introduce you to Anna Sałek, one of our most German and English into Polish translators!

Hi, Anna!

When did you realize you wanted to pursue a translation career?

During my internship in the Polish Ministry of Justice I was asked to prepare a written translation into Polish for then pre-accession advisor. Surprisingly, the results were quite satisfactory and I realized that I’m genuinely enjoying this!

What do you start your work day with?

My typical day starts with checking e-mails, news of dailies and social media updates (the latter is an advantage of being a freelancer :)

If there is no hurry I try to run my errands before the rush begins. Everything depends on my commitments.

Do you have a fixed schedule for work, or do you usually finish your day when your work allows you?

I don’t have a fixed schedule (which at times has a negative influence on my personal life) but respecting deadlines is my top priority.

Do you have a life motto?

No pain no gain, no risk no fun :)

What do you enjoy most about working with SeproTec?

Interesting projects, well organized workflows and extremely helpful project managers.

What advice would you give to beginner translators?

Trust yourself, be patient and do not rely on Machine Translation because it makes your mind lazy.

Thank you for your time, Anna, and congratulations! It’s a great pleasure to work with you. And enjoy your Sepro hoodie :)

SeproTec Translator of the Month: October 2019

diciembre 10th, 2019 | Posted by admin in Blog | Interviews | Translator of the Month | Translators - (Comentarios desactivados)

We are more than happy to announce the October winner of the 2019 edition of our Translator of the Month action!

Translators’ work is of vital importance in every translation company. This initiative is our way to way to say thank you! and recognize the efforts of the industry professionals.

We would like to introduce you to Gaëlle Bordet, one of our most trusted Catalan/ Spanish into French translators!

SeproTec Translator of the Month_October 2019

Gaëlle, when did you realize you wanted to pursue a translation career?

After a year as an Erasmus student in the Pompeu Fabra University, in Barcelona, I realized first that I didn’t want to leave Spain and then that Spanish, Catalan and English were my real passion. I needed to keep using on an everyday basis my languages and find a job that combined my passion and would be opened to the world. It was then an obvious choice for me to follow the translation and interpretation path.

What do you start your work day with?

Usually, I start my day with a huge cup of coffee, it’s like a peaceful moment before things get more interesting and busy. Then I start my computer and I can easily lose track of time translating. Hours fly very quickly when I am in front of my screen!

Do you have a fixed schedule for work, or do you usually finish your day when your work allows you?

Actually, I don’t really have a fixed schedule. In fact, I have two little girls and I found a balance between my job as a Mum and my job as a translator. I manage to adapt my schedule to be with them when they need me. However, if there is a lot of work to do (and usually there is!), for me, work must be done and I spent as much time as needed until it’s completely and satisfactory done. For me, respecting the deadlines is very important and if I must spend the night working, it doesn’t bother me.

Do you have a life motto?

I try every day to be thankful for every good thing that happens to me and my family. I think it’s very important to enjoy and appreciate every moment. My family is the most important thing in my life and they really are my driving force.

What do you enjoy most about working with SeproTec?

I love my work with SeproTec. At the beginning, I didn’t want to do juridical translations: I actually thought it was quite boring! However, I wanted to gain experience in every translation filed and I started with SeproTec through a university friend who was working at the Barcelona agency. But little by little I started to appreciate more and more my job. Every project is a new world and a new story. It’s been my everyday life for 14 years now and I hope it will keep on this way.

What advice would you give to beginner translators?

I think it would be that they will have to work hard and try a lot of translation field until they find their own one. There is a lot of hard competition in translation, nevertheless they must not give away their work and if they work with constancy and are reliable, I think their clients will recognise and respect it.

 

Merci, Gaëlle! It’s a real pleasure to have you in the Team! And ejnoy your Sepro hoodie – it will for sure keep you warm as the temperature in December drops!

SeproTec Translator of the Month: September 2019

noviembre 27th, 2019 | Posted by admin in Blog | Interviews | Translator of the Month | Translators - (Comentarios desactivados)

We have a pleasure to announce the September winner of the 2019 edition of our Translator of the Month action!

Translators are the driving force behind every translation company’s success. This initiative is our way to way to say thank you! and recognize the efforts of the industry professionals.

We would like to introduce you to Yolanda Carati, one of our most trusted English/ Spanish into Dutch translators!

SeproTec Translator of the Month for September 2019

Hi, Yolanda! Let us ask you a couple of questions :)

What do you start your work day with?

Due to the time difference (I live in Mexico) I usually wake up early to check my mail. I accept possible assignments and get up to make breakfast and go for a walk with my dogs. If there’s nothing urgent I usually start around nine.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue translation career?

I studied Spanish in the nineties, followed by a two-year translation course at a private institution. After I had finished this, I wrote like 30 applications to translation agencies with zero response. In those days the internet was in its first stages and pages like Proz didn’t exist. So I started to do other jobs, always with in the back of my mind that I would return to translation once I was ‘old’. After over 25 years in office jobs and a move to Mexico, I decided it was time to try. I started with small translations while I was still working, and soon had enough work to quit my job and make a living as a translator. And I’m loving it!

If you wouldn´t have become a translator, then what would you do?

I did a lot of jobs, mainly in the administrative field. I worked as a project coordinator in a solidarity fund, I was executive assistant to the director of the Mexican branch of a US company and worked 10 years as deputy head for internal affairs in the Netherlands Embassy in Mexico. But if I really have to choose, I would love to be a dog trainer.

What do you enjoy about working with SeproTec?

The PM’s are great. They’re always patient, give good instructions and are well organised. And believe me, that’s not always the case with other agencies. I work mainly for one client, get interesting projects with reasonable deadline and last but not least, payment is always on time.

What do you think are the greatest challenges of the translation industry nowadays?

One of the biggest challenges is off course all the developments in machine translation. Though machine translations are getting better and better, I don’t think this will lead to the complete disappearance of the translator. But I do think that the work might become more tedious and boring. You can’t put much creativity in editing a machine translation unless you pay it with your own time, and that doesn’t pay the bills. Another challenge is the increasing number of huge translation companies, which sometimes seem to prefer profits over quality at the expense of their translators.

What is your favourite book?

That’s a difficult one… I read a lot, mainly detectives or Dutch literature. But I would say that one of my favourites is ‘Travesuras de la niña mala’ by Mario Vargas Llosa.

Thank you so much, Yolanda, for taking the time to answer our questions.  We are so happy to cooperate with you! And enjoy your SeproTec hoodie! :)

SeproTec Translator of the Month: August 2019

noviembre 5th, 2019 | Posted by admin in Blog | Interviews | Translator of the Month | Translators - (Comentarios desactivados)

Let us announce August winner of the 2019 edition of our Translator of the Month action!

This initiative is our way to way to say thank you! and recognize the efforts of the industry professionals: translators, the driving force behind every translation company’s success.

We would like to introduce you to Daniel Olkowicz, one of our most trusted English/ German – Polish translators.

SeproTec Translator of the Month_August 2019

Hi, Daniel. What would be your best advice for a student who has just begun to work as a freelance linguist?

Fulfil all the expectations of your clients who are assigning jobs to you. Work smart and be patient even if the results may not be satisfactory at the very beginning. Keep consistently high level of your services and the results will come.

Which are the fields of expertise that you most enjoy translating?

IT, machinery, sports

Working more than 8 hours and even on the weekends in front of a computer may bring serious damages to our health. Have you adopted some specific healthy habits to put in practice during your working hours or after work?

I usually make a brief break every 60 minutes. I just walk around my working space or do some stretching especially for arms and upper body. After work I play football or volleyball every 2nd day.

What do you enjoy most about working with SeproTec?

Very nice project managers I usually am dealing with and very clear and organized way of working.

Do you have a life motto?

Quality matters more than quantity

Thank you so much, Daniel, for taking the time to answer our questions.  It’s been a pleasure! And enjoy your SeproTec hoodie!

We are pleased to introduce you to a new series of interviews with SeproTec experts. The first interview in the series is with our Head of Vendor Management, Estrella Ruiz—so let’s go!

Estrella Ruiz, Head of Vendor Management at SeproTec, handles the VM Team, recruiting, and the onboarding of translation providers (vendors). We would like to understand Estrella’s role better, so let’s get started!

- Can you tell us how it all began?

Well, ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by languages, especially English, so it was clear to me that my future professional career would be one related to languages.

First, I studied for a college degree in Tourism and Business Activities. After a few internships and temporary positions in companies within the tourism sector (travel agencies and hotels), I realized this was not really my thing. I started studying for another degree in Translation and Interpreting at the University of Granada in Spain.

What I really wanted was to reach a high level of language proficiency in English. I knew that the best way was moving to an English-speaking country, so I decided to spend my Erasmus year in Swansea (Wales, UK). I loved it there, so much that I stayed there for the next five years.

I joined a Welsh translation company. That is where my professional career in translation started, and where I realized how much I liked the translation industry. My time there was not only crucial for my career development, but also for my personal growth.

Five years later in 2014, I decided it was time to move back to Spain. “It is not the most convenient time!”—everyone was warning me because of the crisis going on in Spain at that time.

I’m so glad I didn’t listen because days after my return I was lucky enough to be invited to an interview at SeproTec and was offered a Vendor Manager position. Almost six years have passed since then… (OMG!)  In my personal life, that was the year I met my current life partner and the father of my little child.

Coming back to Spain was definitely a good decision—or destiny. :)

- Did you always know you wanted to work in the industry?

It would make a good impression if I said it was always my dream to work here, but the honest answer is “no”. The truth is that I didn’t have much of an idea about what working in the translation industry involved until I got my first job in translation in the UK.

It was only then I decided on my career path, and all I know today is what I have been learning—and keep on learning—over the last nine years since I have been working in the sector.

Having said that, I think some translation/language universities lack in providing proper counseling and guidance for students regarding the translation business and the wide range of translation-related professions that they can focus their careers on (Project Coordinator, Vendor Manager, etc.), apart from just being a freelance translator. But I digress—sorry :)

- Can you tell us what your role involves, and how it fits into the wider language service industry?

The industry is extremely varied when it comes to those who we call our ‘resources’. Our resources are made up of linguists, DTP experts, posteditors, developers, localization engineers, subtitlers, transcreators, content writers, copywriters, and voice-over talents. These providers can be freelancers, teams, or companies of varying sizes.

I believe there is a serious lack of awareness regarding the Vendor Manager’s role.

Some people—incorrectly—think that our work is to review résumés and register resources in the database (such an easy job, and boring, by the way). However, vendor management is so much more than a language resource recruiter.

Behind every single resource (out of the six thousand resources available today in SeproTec’s  database), there is a Vendor Manager who: recruited him/her, checked his/her skills and expertise, verified qualifications and certifications, ran a specialized translation test and vetting process according to a particular subject, negotiated rates and collaboration conditions, wrote tens of emails and made phone calls, thought about what projects would suit him/her best, decided on what to do if certain projects are not a good fit, constantly updated, closely monitored and kept track of his/her job evaluations and the quality of the jobs completed, renegotiated rates, ensured they felt comfortable with their workload, addressed any issues that arose and took corrective actions when needed, actively managed our database, kept records up to date, and continuously ensured that our suppliers felt happy working with us, coordinated with other departments (Production, Sales, Administration, Marketing) on benchmarking activities or helping to decide the right pricing structure for a new service, all to maximize efficiency within the company and ensure quality.

In addition, I really enjoy training new colleagues for the job, and helping them understand the importance of the outcome of our jobs within the company. I’m very proud of each and every professional who has worked in or today belongs to this department.

- What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Looking at the big picture. A Vendor Manager’s main role is to ensure that all our project managers have peace of mind because they know that, no matter the demands of the clients (urgent projects, unusual language combination, specific topics, high volumes, etc.), they have access to the most qualified and suitable vendor for that job. When it’s an obscure subject, an unusual language combination, or super tight deadlines, searching for the right supplier may feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It is a huge and yet very fulfilling challenge!

Another very challenging VM duty is to grow the active vendors database. The company needs to have a pool of vendors actively cooperating. Project Managers, on the other hand, like all humans, would assign projects to the vendors they know they can trust and who will deliver on time, so they can move on to the next project as quickly as possible. So, here we find a paradoxical situation of two business goals that are opposed to each other. If the company always uses the same vendors, the pool of vendors actively cooperating with the company doesn’t grow. When workload increases and we need to engage more vendors, those vendors not included in the preferred pool might be no longer interested in cooperation, which is a pity.

Big cooperation and coordination efforts between Production and Vendor Management is vital to overcoming such challenges and to consolidating the company’s database.

- We can see your department has an important role, similar to that of purchasing departments. Are your KPIs based merely on cost reduction?

Not at all. Although cost reduction is important, VM KPIs are focused on monitoring quality and expanding and maintaining the supplier database. There are multiple reasons:

If our KPIs were solely based on profitability, we would be giving preference to hiring cheaper vendors and meeting profitability goals over quality assurance. That’s the main one.

However, we should be aware that cheaper rates are not always linked to lower quality, and vice versa, vendors with most expensive rates are not necessary the most qualified ones.

Also, it’s important to mention the existing unfair competition in the industry. Professional freelance translators are sometimes forced to compete against inexperienced students and unskilled vendors who offer ridiculously low rates and manage to enter the market, aided by incompetent translation agencies with no commitment to quality that look for the cheapest option on the market regardless of the quality of the work, and offer the same low rates to end customers.

This situation is quite damaging to us all—professional freelancers, companies and clients alike—and sometimes makes it difficult to identify the actual market rates for a professional, high-quality translation service. But that´s what the VMs are here for!

In summary, although rates are obviously taken into consideration, our main KPIs are related to quality management. While working on improving quality, we reduce costs at the same time by following the right approach when it comes to using the right tools and CAT tool technology, and by reducing risks of potential issues and the associated costs and penalties.

- Is it always a matter of trust, or do you evaluate the translators on a regular basis?

Trust must always be earned. We have rigorous quality control procedures that are well defined and thoroughly implemented.

All our linguists go through a pre-selection and vetting process before they can start collaborating with us. Once pre-selected, potential collaborators go through a probationary period. It is time for them to prove that they are competent and reliable, to win the trust of the Project Managers, and vice versa, by delivering high-quality work and—what is even more important and difficult—consistently maintaining such quality over time. If they pass the trial period with satisfactory results, they receive “Active status” in our database. Their performance and quality are still evaluated and tracked on a regular basis in coordination with our Production and Quality departments.

Our vendors also need to be trained to become familiar with the specific demands and style requirements of our clients. Feedback is therefore quite important, both positive and negative criticism must be conveyed so they can learn. This is a way of learning how a true professional translator reacts as well.

But “translation is not a science but an exact art” (Steiner, 1975) [love it :) ]

As a result, there are frequent disagreements over translation strategies due to differences in style or subjective preferences, where our PMs have the difficult role of serving as mediators so that the most effective solution can be sought.

Also, sometimes, our quality standards are not met. As all humans do, bad choices are made and quality issues may arise.

Each case is thoroughly analyzed and assessed by the PM and—when it is required—it is escalated to the VM team, who applies the most appropriate corrective action depending on the severity of the issue, and ensures that it will never happen again.

Quality is always a must. We and our providers should always remember that the final goal is to keep our customers happy by delivering excellent quality on time.

- You mentioned the famous human factor; how do you find the best service providers?

As I see it, it’s very simple: a translation company cannot exist without linguistic providers. They are  the epicenter of the whole process, and they are our allies in the company’s successful predominance in the translation industry.

However, beyond résumés, credentials and competitive rates, we look for candidates who are honest and authentic.

In addition to technical knowledge, qualifications and translation skills that are constantly evaluated, as explained in the last question, we also very much value the professionalism, responsiveness, communication skills and reliability of our collaborators. We like to work with professionals who are easy to communicate and work with, who pay attention to details, who strictly meet our delivery deadlines and follow our instructions correctly, who are cooperative, motivated to work with us and passionate about what they do.

An important part of a Vendor Manager´s role is to keep such motivation going and make sure our vendors feel happy and comfortable working with us by maintaining strong and positive relationships.

In addition, we deal with vendors from all over the world, and we need to learn that different cultures require different styles of relationship management (localized relationships ;) )

In this sense, Vendor Managers act as an extension of the Human Resources department, as HR experts charged with making connections and building positive relationships with the part of the business that matters most: the people.

- Searching for new resources: when do you come into the picture?

We are continuously expanding the network of translation professionals.

When we receive an order for, let’s say, an unusual language combination, and the resources in our database are limited, then PM might ask us to launch an external search and find suitable linguists— meeting the specific requirements for that particular project. These are what we call “active” searches, which cover our ongoing daily needs.

The VM also works on “potential” searches, which are just as important as the active ones and are based on the company’s future needs and work forecasts.

The company’s needs, customers and customer demands are continuously changing, and a Vendor Manager needs to be familiar with the dynamic character of the translation industry.

We work alongside the Production and Sales teams to identify the company’s future needs for new vendors, i.e. new language combinations, new subject areas, text typologies, new linguistic services, and then ask ourselves: 1) do we have enough linguistic resources in our database to cover these specific needs? 2) at what cost?

Our searches should be proactive and constant, so that we are always ready to respond to any request that comes out of the blue with the most competitive resources.

- We all agree that language resources are the driving force behind every translation company’s success. It’s what we always say when we announce a winner of the “Translator of the Month” event at SeproTec. By the way, it was your department’s idea to implement that plan! That was a great idea!

For me, taking the corresponding corrective actions when quality is not as expected is as important as those taken when quality is outstanding.

Again, here is where the importance of supplier relationship management comes up.

I have developed a deep respect and admiration for translators, and I think we should show our suppliers that we value their work and professionalism and thank them for their dedication to us over the years.

That is the goal behind the “Translator of the Month” event, which at the same time, is a responsibility shared with other departments—such as Administration—by ensuring prompt payments, or PM teams through the friendly and professional communication that they maintain with our resources.

The good news is that we seem to be succeeding in this task, in view of the positive feedback that our collaborators have published in certain popular translation portals, which I find very rewarding.

- What do you like most about working at SeproTec?

No doubt it’s the friendly working environment and the excellent group of very professional people working here.

- And… imagine a day without work, the internet, phone calls… What would you do for this one day?

I can imagine it outside of Madrid, right? So, I would be on some unknown beach on the southern coast. I’d start my day by going for a run early in the morning, joining my family for breakfast, and spending all morning long playing with my child, swimming, and building sandcastles for him to  destroy later. For lunch, I’d have shrimp paella, and a couple of ice-cold beers with my boyfriend, followed by the obligatory “siesta”, of course. In the evening I’d go to the movie theater to see the new “The Lion King” movie—I can’t wait to watch it!. Then we’d watch the sun set somewhere nice by the beach with a huge lemon ice-cream. All with no work, no internet, and no phone. Perfect!
You can tell I need a vacation!

We would certainly sign up for your perfect day! Thank you so much for your time, Estrella. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you better and thank you for doing such a consistently great job!