Category Archives: Events

Inspirational & Mindful in Seattle: The 3rd Chinese Innovation Forum

Recently The 3rd Chinese Innovation Forum was successfully held at University of Washington at Seattle (UW), and co-hosted by Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS). From Monterey to Seattle, the forum always stays to true to our mission which is to sow the seed of awesomeness to the innovative educators in Chinese language teaching and learning, and thereby promoting sustainable development in our field.

As distinguished scholars in second and foreign language education, Dr. Cornelius C. Kubler and Dr. Aida Walqui delivered thought-provoking keynote presentations respectively on how to construct productive interaction in second language class, and tradition and innovation in Chinese language learning and teaching. Following the presentations, all the attendees seized the moment to raise questions on, for instance, the strategies of how to give activity directions in Chinese for novice learners.

In our innovation forum, what matters is not only what the educators take away but also what they bring in. All the participants, the Chinese educators from all over the country, from K-12 to college-level, were divided into different groups in advance according to their pedagogical and research interests. In the afternoon trade-fair session, each group was not only able to showcase and demonstrate their own innovative Chinese teaching and learning design (e.g., project-based activities, Chinese ancient poem pedagogy, scaffolding strategies, tech-assisted Chinese teaching etc.), but circulate around other showcase tables to learn and to potentially provide feedback. Most significantly, no words were strong enough to express our gratitude to the keynote speakers’ participation and their constructive advice for each “innovation-swap” table.


Dr. Kubler pinpointed the essentially of continuous innovation. The Chinese innovation forum always tries providing a platform for Chinese educators to learn and share, to build on the peers’ efforts and make pedagogical innovations. Look forward to seeing increasingly leading innovative Chinese educators in the upcoming 4th Chinese Innovation Forum held at Chinese American International School at San Francisco in 2018.

“There are remarks that sow, remarks that reap.” -Ludwig Wittgenstein

Highlights from Monterey Forum 2017

by Gayane Saghatelyan

Academics, industry professionals and students recently gathered in Monterey for the biennial Monterey Forum titled The Future of Localization Training: Keeping Pace with an Evolving Industry. The attendees are all focused and passionate about acquiring new skills and growing the localization profession. The forum included a wide range of topics: from incorporating new technology in the classroom to encouraging students to leave their comfort zones to explore new roles. If there was one word to summarize the forum it would have to be growth. Here are some highlights from the forum.

Rethinking the Localization Profession

Andrew Lawless (Performance Consultant and Coach) kicked off the forum with an impactful presentation inspiring the audience to rethink the way we approach localization training. To make localization stronger and more relevant companies and individuals need to “establish localization as a core competence, rather than a stand-alone program,” proposed Andrew Lawless. Just as every International Business program includes an International Accounting course, every Computer Science and Product Management program should include Localization training.

Andrew Lawless talks about the role of the localization profession in today’s market

This perspective was echoed in Pavel Soukenik’s presentation on Teaching Technical Localization Topics to Non-Technical Students. Pavel rightfully pointed out that “as much as programmers make a localizer’s work difficult by not providing a localizable product, localizers create a new layer of complexity for programmers by defining internationalization guidelines.” By bringing localization into the curriculum early on, we can help developers and localizers meet each other halfway on the learning curve.

Source: Pavel Soukenik. How can localization training help technical and non-technical professionals meet halfway on the learning curve?

Professional Growth

The forum provided a great opportunity for the meeting of three worlds: academia, professionals and students. This was prominently showcased in The Value of Student Participation in Professional Conferences and Events, where participants got a rare perspective from working professionals, professors and students. Alan Melby (FIT/ Brigham Young University) talked about best practices in organizing student groups to attend conferences and professional events, with a special focus on how to prove the value of these investments to academic administration. Nick Lambson (Medialocate, MIIS MATLM 2016) talked about the employer perspective and how professional conferences are a win-win for both the employer and the employee, in that they help companies stay in-tune with current industry trends. Finally, the panel would not be complete without the war stories of graduating students Min Tan (MATLM 2017) and Lindsay Smith (MATLM 2017), who talked about overcoming their fears of networking to become pros in connecting with professionals.

Min Tan shared her experience with us, “In the first semester at MIIS, I went to the LocWorld conference in San Jose. I was so scared when I was there – there were so many things that I didn’t know, there were so many company names that I had never heard of before. The experience pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me realize that networking at big events takes some getting used to. With time I built up the confidence to attend more events and learned to connect senior-level executives.”

Panel on The Value of Student Participation in Professional Events and Conferences

The moderator of the panel, Winnie Heh (Center For Advising & Career Services, MIIS) asked the participants to share advice with organizers of conferences such as Locworld for enhancing the student experience. The panelists mentioned the following:

  • Introducing a buddy program at LocWorld where students can be paired with experienced professionals to help them navigate in an unfamiliar environment
  • Adding more volunteer opportunities for students and giving them more responsibilities to get involved

Advice from Alumni

Participants had the exclusive opportunity to hear advice from MIIS alumni who joined the panel Strengthening and Leveraging the Alumni Network. Olga Melnikova (MATLM 2015) and Eva Gross (MATLM 2010) encouraged students to stay motivated and create strong bonds with their colleagues. I want to point out an interesting idea mentioned by Olga Melnikova who in the context of staying close to the MIIS community mentioned that “MIIS TLM grads all speak the same ‘language’,” which makes it easier for new grads to hit the ground running in the industry.

Eva Gross, Olga Melnikova and Winnie Heh talk about leveraging the alumni network

Exploring New Frontiers

Participants of the Forum had the opportunity to explore new frontiers with a panel on Neural Machine Translation (NMT). The panel included a hands-on presentation from KantanMT. Kantan partners with a number of higher education institutions, including MIIS and University of Texas Arlington through their academic partnership program. In addition to KantanMT being taught by professors in a classroom, students also have access to a comprehensive self-paced learning resource, KantanAcademy. All in all, as Machine Translation gains more weight in our industry, academia is quick to adapt to current trends.

Talent Needs

It was interesting to hear a CEO’s perspective on today’s talent requirements. Claudia Mirza (CEO, Akorbi) says, “I don’t hire 100% translators anymore,” they have to have other skills. The forum revealed an interesting picture for the skills that the industry is most often looking for:

  • Ability to gather and analyze data
  • Knowledge in machine learning
  • Ability to manage relationships with stakeholder
  • Working in remote settings and managing remote teams

To learn these skills we often need to go outside of our comfort zone, as was clearly demonstrated by Tetyana Struk (Linguistic Center and Iryna Drobit (Lviv State University of Life Safety) in their joint presentation titled From Zero to Infinity: Leave-Your-Comfort-Zone Approach. Tetyana and Iryna talked about their experience integrating project-based work in the classroom and encouraging students to go outside of their comfort zone by working in roles they aren’t accustomed to. The results were fascinating: some students loved the new roles, others realized that it was not for them. In either case, exploring new roles was a beneficial experience for both the instructors and the students.

Tetyana Struk and Iryna Drobit share their experience bringing real-world projects into the classroom

Final Thoughts

As mentioned by Pete Smith in his closing remarks, I really do believe that “the common thread in all of these discussions is growth and learning.” From technical knowledge to soft skills, the Monterey forum brought together a truly passionate and knowledgeable group of professionals. If you missed this year’s Monterey forum, look out for the next one in two years. I want to leave you with one final thought expressed by Adam Wooten in response to my question “Where do you see your students in 5 years?” — “I hope that you will all find your passion and that it takes you in different directions, so far that it will be hard to gather you all in one place.”

Register Now for Monterey Forum 2017

Join language industry professionals, academics and students on April 1-2, 2017 in Monterey, California as they explore new trends in localization and language training. Hosted by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, this year’s theme is The Future of Localization Training: Keeping Pace with an Evolving Industry. Register now for Monterey Forum 2017early-bird registration ends February 28.

The localization industry moves at a rapid pace, closely following the software development industry, and requiring us to quickly adapt to new technologies and markets. How do we train individuals who are new to the industry? How do we challenge experienced professionals to expand their skillset to meet new industry needs? Monterey Forum 2017 will address how localization professionals and language educators can prepare students for a career in the language industry while keeping up with the latest trends.

Preliminary topics:

  • Collaboration Between Business and Academia: A Win-Win
  • Soft Skills Needed to Succeed in a Localization Career
  • Early Outreach to Language Educators Benefits the Language Industry
  • How Internships Prepare Students for Their Careers
  • Culture and Gender Challenges in the Localization Industry
  • Providing Localization Career Advising as an Industry Outsider
  • How Students Benefit from Participation in Professional Events and Conferences
  • Cross-Functional Training in Translation and Localization
  • From Statistical to Neural: The Growing Importance of Machine Translation in the Localization Curriculum
  • How FIT Position Papers Fit into the Localization Classroom
  • From Zero to Infinity: Leave-your-comfort-zone Approach
  • Integrating Post-Editing Exercises into Traditional Translation Courses

Accepted and invited speakers from:

LinkedIn, eBay, Lionbridge, Rockant, University of Texas Arlington, BYU, Autodesk, Salesforce, Medialocate, Women in Localization, Mozilla, LDS Church, Linguistic Centre, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and more pending.

About Monterey Forum:

Launched in 2007, Monterey Forum provides a venue to discuss new trends in translator, interpreter and localizer (TIL) education. This biennial conference brings professionals, educators, and students to Monterey, CA. Interested in becoming a sponsor? See this page for more information on how your organization can get involved and reach out to participants.

For more information and to register for Monterey Forum 2017, click here or use this short link:

Full Day Seminar for Simultaneous Interpreters in DC, 12/5/2015

Professor Flerov will be running a full day seminar in Washington DC on December 5, Saturday, for simultaneous interpreters. Topics will include both voice training for    interpreters and developing simultaneous interpretation skills and strategies. There are limited spots so hurry up! Check out the website below for more information and registration.

Interpretation Boot Camp

Adjunct faculty member Cyril Flerov will be conducting a one-day seminar on Saturday          October 24 from 9am to 5pm (lunch included) in Vancouver, BC. Topics will include voice training and deconstruction of simultaneous interpretation skills as well as strategies in             simultaneous interpretation.

For information on tickets and registration please check out the following website!

STIBC All-day seminar



Lecture on the intersection of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Human Computer Interface (HCI)

Spence GreenSpence Green is a recent Ph.D graduate in Computer Science at Stanford University. He works with Chris Manning and Jeff Heer and is a member of the Stanford NLP Group and the UW Interactive Data Lab. Spence is currently researching the intersection of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Human Computer Interface (HCI). He has also worked on syntactic parsing, machine translation, and coreference resolution. He co-organized the first Workshop on Interactive Language Learning, Visualization, and Interfaces held at ACL 2014. He is participating in building an interdisciplinary community interested in the intersection of NLP, HCI, and data visualization. Spence’s presentation will focus on the technical side of his dissertation, which is part of a machine translation research effort led by Christopher Manning, a professor of linguistics and of computer science. This presentation will be of interest to all translation students and faculty, but will be technical in nature.

Spence will present on Tuesday, December 9th from 12pm to 1:30pm in the Irvine Auditorium.

Meet the Korean Interpreters!

Come to the Fall Forum to see the Korean interpreters in action!


(Left to right) Sungouk Jang, Nari Jeong, Heami Jeung


Showing respect and politeness towards another person is an important aspect of Korean language and culture. Korean interpreters use the appropriate level of honorifics (suffixes or words used to express respect/politeness) to address someone. So when an English speaker says thank you to “Bob,” in Korean, it becomes thank you to “Mr. plus Bob’s last name,” or “Bob plus an honorific” when the last name is unknown.
 Technically, Korean does not have third-person pronouns. There are words in Korean for “he, she, it, they” due to influence from English, but they sound pretty awkward. Korean interpreters substitute English third-person pronouns with the actual name of the person or object or “that person” or “that object.”

Fall Forum!

Are you working towards an international career? Do you dream of representing your country in an international conference? Will you have someone interpreting for you? vid

Fall Forum, MIIS’s annual interpreting event, is the best occasion to get a feel for what interpretation means as you watch interpreters in action. This year, aspiring interpreters studying in MIIS’s Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish programs will demonstrate consecutive interpretation in the forum, which will focus on the one of the most urgent issues of our time: Water.


The event will be held at MIIS on November 14th, from 2 to 5pm, with a reception from 5 to 6:30pm. You might discover that someone you already know from MIIS is a future interpreter, and be surprised to see them performing the art of interpretation. As the organizers for the event, the Fall Forum Committee would like to introduce our interpreters in our next post so that our readers can get to know their work and personality, in addition to providing some updates on the event. Please stay tuned!

MIIS Professor meets with President of Costa Rica

MIIS Prof. Sabino Morera met with his former professor and friend, Luis Guillermo Solís, who is now the President of Costa Rica.  

The newly elected President of Costa Rica was in San Jose, California, June 9th to speak about how his country has evolved into a high technology leader in Latin America. The title of his talk was “A Competitive Hub for High-Tech Manufacturing and Services in Latin America.” He touched upon the priorities that his administration will undertake to continue to provide and enable the right business climate in Costa Rica while fostering foreign direct investment.


TEDx Monterey: More Than Words

Professor Barry Olsen and Professor Laura Burian demonstrate the power of human cognition as they explain the subtle but important differences between professional translators and interpreters with assistance from Miguel Garcia (French), Weihao Zhang (Chinese) and Beatriz Rodriguez (Spanish). Click here to watch the video clip.