Changing the Conversation on Pricing

by Michael Schubert

What’s in a word? Precious little. We all know that we don’t translate words, or even sentences and paragraphs: We translate content, in all its context. (Worte and not Wörter, for those of you who know German.) And yet, most of us bill our services by the word. Why? And what message does this send?

The why is simple: It’s the easiest way to assess the volume of the task and provide a price in advance. And the message? To our clients, it says we are selling a commodity — the very message that, elsewhere, we keep trying to contradict. To ourselves, the message is that the faster we can translate, the more money we will earn. It incentivizes speed, not quality.

Moving away from word rates toward hourly or project-based fees better reflects how we actually work — and how we want our work to be perceived.

→ continue reading

Interview with Susan Vo – Part 2

By Jonathan Goldberg

Note from the editors: We are taking the unusual step of presenting this interview of interpreter Susan Vo by Jonathan Goldberg in two parts, the first covering her early life and introduction to the interpreting profession, and the second covering her work as an interpreter at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Publishing the interview in two parts also resolves the issue of length: as it stands, the text is quite a bit longer than our limits for Translorial.com articles, which we set for online readability.

While the two halves of this long interview reveal Vo’s depth as an interpreter, each can stand alone in its own right. The insights she shares in Part 2 were directly influenced by her early life. Growing up in a culture other than her own, which she knew only secondhand through her parents and other refugees, she came to understand her Vietnamese birth culture more fully by comparison with that of her adopted country (Canada). This might well have given her the perspective that made her capable of an ethical approach to persons who had done great harm: no culture is without its moral outliers.

We see the parallels between Vo’s professional life and the panel discussion about ethics in interpreting conducted by 6 experienced interpreters at the NCTA September 8 General Meeting. The panel was held in response to the impassioned discussion about the role of interpreters in crucial political meetings, sparked by the circumstances surrounding the Putin–Trump summit earlier this year. The Khmer Rouge Tribunal took place after the fact; the Helsinki summit between two world powers has portent for the future. Part 1 of this interview reveals how Vo reached an understanding of differences between cultures; Part 2 brings the past into the present and the future, emphasizing the importance of skill and ethical stance in interpreting.

You can find part 1 here. A French translation of this interview is available on Jonathan Goldberg’s blog, Le mot juste en anglais, here. → continue reading

Interview with Susan Vo – Part 1

By Jonathan Goldberg

Note from the editors: We are taking the unusual step of presenting this interview of interpreter Susan Vo by Jonathan Goldberg in two parts, the first covering her early life and introduction to the interpreting profession, and the second covering her work as an interpreter at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Publishing the interview in two parts also resolves the issue of length: as it stands, the text is quite a bit longer than our limits for Translorial.com articles, which we set for online readability.

While the two halves of this long interview reveal Vo’s depth as an interpreter, each can stand alone in its own right. The insights she shares in Part 2 were directly influenced by her early life. Growing up in a culture other than her own, which she knew only secondhand through her parents and other refugees, she came to understand her Vietnamese birth culture more fully by comparison with that of her adopted country (Canada). This might well have given her the perspective that made her capable of an ethical approach to persons who had done great harm: no culture is without its moral outliers. → continue reading

Translation Scams Reloaded and More – Translorial Fall 2018 Edition

Translorial Fall 2018 Edition

NCTA members can now enjoy the latest edition of Translorial in print and downloadable PDF versions, covering a variety of topics.


If you are not an NCTA member, you can join here.

 
 

Selected articles from Translorial Fall 2018, Vol. 40, No. 2: → continue reading

Protecting Interpreters and Their Clients: An Introduction to the Interpreters Guild of America

By Johanna Valle Sobalvarro

Protecting Interpreters and Their Clients

The Interpreters Guild of America (IGA) is a unit of the NewsGuild-CWA, a union representing journalists, interpreters and translators, social justice workers, and nonprofit and public-sector professionals. Its main purpose is to protect the rights of interpreters, who bear tremendous responsibilities and are vulnerable to a number of professional challenges. → continue reading

The Great War, Translating Macron, Looking Back, Thinking Ahead, and More – Translorial 40th Anniversary Edition Spring 2018

40th Anniversary Translorial

NCTA members can now enjoy the latest edition of Translorial in print and downloadable PDF versions, covering a variety of topics. This edition celebrates the 40th anniversary of Translorial, which was established in 1978. You can find the very first edition from May 1978 in the NCTA archive (members only). Publicly accessible articles from 1978 can be found here.

If you are not an NCTA member, you can join here.

 

Table of contents of the 40th Anniversary Translorial Spring 2018 edition, Vol. 40, No. 1: → continue reading