localization

外语人才的就业观 (Career Paths for Language Professionals)

This is my article that was published in January 2019 by China Bridge and Language Services China 40, two China-based think tanks focusing on the future of foreign language education and language services.

 

我在拿到会议口译硕士学位以后进入语言服务界,工作了25年以后于三年前回到位于加州蒙特雷的母校Middlebury Institute of International Studies担任职业生涯规划老师。我所著手的第一件工作就是和每位学生面谈,了解他们职业生涯的目标。我很快的就发现到80%以上的学生都说他们要到联合国做口译,而且这是不分语种、中外皆同。这让我既纳闷又担心。能够为联合国服务当然是值得推崇的目标,但是不应是唯一的选择。联合国不是每年都招人,即使招人,所需的人数也少,另外并不是每个学生都适合做口译,最重要的是外面的世界这么大,语言服务业的机会这么多,怎么这些学生口径一致的全要到联合国?更让我哭笑不得的是:就连自己语种并非联合国官方语言的学生也认为自己最好的出路就是进联合国。

我开始跟学生介绍本地化及语言服务业整个生态系统中各种有趣且有前瞻性的领域,大多数学生的反应是:「从来没听过!」或「从来没想到!」

这让我回想到2008年,我当时任职的口译公司并购了一家从事笔译和本地化的公司,刚接手这家公司的时候我很讶异地发现在二十多名项目管理经理中没有一个是学外语的。我所讶异的不是没有外语经验的人到翻译公司做事,而是这项工作是非常适合有外语背景的人来从事的,为什么学外语的人没来争取这种工作机会呢?我和许多同行交流以后发现这种现象在语言服务界是常态而非异状。

我意识到外语学生对于自己职业生涯的定义似乎过度狭隘,凡是和理工或商业沾上边的工作不是认为自己力有未逮就是不屑一顾,过犹不及非常可惜。我于是开始去探究美国大学对语言教学及学生职业出路的过去、现在及未来。现代语言协会(Modern Language Association) 在2007年的一份报告中指出,美国大学外语教学多是透过语言教育建立学生进入核心课程的基础,核心课程则是偏重于文学和研究。语言能力是进入人文殿堂的工具。我接下来所反省的是:

人文教育对社会的贡献是无庸置疑的。正如朱振武教授所说的:「有技术不等于有知识,有知识不等于有文化,有文化不等于有思想。」我认为教育和技术训练在本质上是不同的。对于思想的提升是教育殿堂以内和以外都应该致力去推广的。现代语言协会指出,美国的外语学生之中只有6.1%继续深造取得博士学位,跟随着教授的典范继续开发新的知识领域和作育英才。我要问:其他93.9%的学生前途在那里?我们在辩论外语是否应保留其人文性或是市场化和工具化时,我们针对的是学生还是教授?如果是针对学生的话那么我们针对的是那6.1%的学生还是那93.9%的学生?我们是不是能够在教育(正如朱振武教授所说的)「有思想的人、有理论建树的人、解决人类重大基础问题的人」的同时也帮助热爱外语但选择其他职业生涯的年轻人为社会做出最大的贡献?我认为是可以的。 此外,我们希望大学毕业生能够成为独立的个体,独立性应是全方位的,应该包括思想、行为、及经济独立。如果我们接受这种思维方式的话,那么教育界对毕业生经济独立的能力责无旁贷。以美国为例,从1989年到2016年,平均的工资增长了10%,但是大学四年教育的费用却增长了98%,大学生很多是靠贷款完成学业的,平均负债额是USD$25,000。如果再念硕士学位,毕业时身上背负的是超过十万美元的债务,他们的就业和出路是十分迫切的问题。 根据Common Sense Advisory的报告,2017年全球语言服务外包的市场达四百五十亿美元(USD$45 Billion), 而且预测会继续增长,其中一半的市场会在美国。外语人才就业的机会是很丰富且多元的,但是有两个难点:

1.    外语学生除了教书以外并不了解在整个外语服务的生态系统中有什么就业和发展的机会。

  1.    就算他们想从事笔译或口译的工作,基本上他们大学四年所练就的外语能力还不到位,解决的办法就是到国外去工作或深造。
 我为了在这一方面做出一点具体的贡献,规纳整理了语言服务界工作的类别。

此外,我也附加了网页,有五十几个职位供学生参考。这些他们「想都没有想过」的工作岗位需要他们。

网页博客链接: www.winnieheh.middcreate.net

人文教育和专业能力的培养是相辅相成的

我在大学主修英语,很单纯的想要找到一个使用英语的专业。误打误撞地进入管理者的行列之后才意识到:

1.文科教育给了我一些意想不到的通用技能(transferrable skills),无论进入任何行业都受用。口译训练给了我在理解和沟通时快而准的能力。文学分析的训练让我能精准的判断眼前复杂的技术和人事问题。翻译研究所的教授们一再叮咛无论踫到什么议题,我们都要有信心及能力去学习、去处理,因此我在进入语言服务界后面对种种商业、技术及法务问题的挑战从未心存畏惧,反正就是以准备做一场会议口译战战兢兢的心境去面对就没错了。我们无法成为各行各业的专家,但理解讨论的中心议题和方向是绝对没问题的。我所学到的是一个终身学习的态度。

2. 语言教育给了我一个做为教师及口译人员的基本功(技术),而成为一个成功的管理者则是需要人文素养(思想)为后盾。我认为一个组织成功与否取决于三要素:团队(更重要的是领导)的素质(People), 完善的工         作流程(Process), 适用(未必是最新)的科技(Technology)。流程及科技是靠人开发出来的,所以归根究底「人」还是最重要的一环。美国西北大学的两位教授Gary Saul Morson (人文学者)及 Morten            Schapiro(经 济学者)在他们合著的《Cents and Sensibilities》中指出经济学者往往将人抽象化,忽略环境及文化因素,解决之道是多读文学作品,虽然很多学科都鼓励学生要培养同理心(empathy), 但只有文学真正从故事中让读者透过故事身歴其境的发挥同理心。李开复在2017年接受「科技新报」访问时指出: 未来当所有行业都走向人机结合时,文科领域也是一条别具发展性的路,例如艺术、哲学、历史、摄影、绘画、创作等,这些能力一时不容易遭AI 取代。当然这并不表示所有人都该去念文科,只是强调AI 时代下读文科也有出路和希望;另外像是服务业、志工等需要与人交流、关怀类型的工作,也都是AI 时代下的机会。

我听过在中国有这么一个说法:「学好数、理、化,走遍天下都不怕」。美国也是有重理工轻人文的现象。其结果似乎是给了文科人妄自菲薄的借口。举个例子,我们如果能够精通第二甚至第三外语,请问为什么我们认定程式语言高深莫测?不就是文法和逻辑而已吗?这是代表着我们「无力」去学还是「无心」去学?此言是基于切身体验,我学过数种程式语言,目的不是和技术人员抢饭碗,而是透过对他们专业及思维方式的了解去有效的管理他们,因为知己知彼,百战百胜。理工法商专业人士可以将外语当工具,外语人为什么不能将理工法商知识当工具?

语言服务公司的领导人及员工有许多是没有语言背景的。这不是对他们的批评,而是对语言人的期许。外行人能学习经营语言服务和语言科技,内行人何以置身事外?全球化是无可逆转的趋势,语言服务是全球化不可或缺的要素,语言教育从短期看是提供了技术人员,从长远看则负有提供既有本行专业技术知识,跨学科管理专长、又有领导才能的领袖。任重道远,共勉之。

 

作者:贺永中,蒙特雷国际学院 (Winnie Heh, Career Advisor, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey)

How to Use Professional Translators in These 4 Fields

 

 

This blog posting is contributed by Rachel Wheeler of Morningside Translations.  Understanding the perspective from the LSPs will give translators an edge.  Read on ….

Professional translators are needed now more than ever. From HR and marketing positions to global clinical trials and e-discovery, workers with professional translation skills are in high demand. Need proof? Here are four completely different fields that require an LSP.

Marketing and E-Commerce

Today, conducting business on a global scale requires skill in reaching an international audience. It means interacting with different cultures and languages while also creating brochures, websites, ads, contracts, annual reports, etc.

In 2016, reports showed that 57 percent of participants across six continents purchased a product from an overseas-based website. By the end of that year, the U.S. ecommerce market garnered more than $322 billion in revenue. Those numbers are the product of an international audience – English speakers represent only 26 percent of the world’s internet users. As a result, translation and localization has become a must-know skill for successful international retailers and marketers.

International Litigation

International litigation is a complex field on its own. When diverse languages and cultures are added to the mix, it can become overwhelming.

Having someone with the ability to translate on the spot could be helpful in multiple situations, including but not limited to: Hearing cases in different nations; speaking with staff members who are not fluent in the prominent language of the case; identifying the differences in laws that are written in another language.

Global Clinical Trials and Research Publications

Translation has an important role in the medical industry, especially when it comes to conducting global clinical trials and publishing scientific papers.

Clinical trials require a lot of paperwork – there’s documents that the patients fill out, documents that the administering staff fills out, and documents that the doctors fill out, etc. If the research sponsor is conducting global clinical trials, then each one of these documents would need to be translated for each location, twice.

First, the documents need to be translated from the original language into the local language of the test participants. Then, once everything has been recorded, the documents must be re-translated into the original language of the research sponsor. It would be wise to have expert linguists on staff to answer questions during this lengthy process.

With 75 percent of scientific papers are written in English, a translator is needed in order for others in the scientific community to gain access to these papers

Patent Filing

Filing a patent is a tedious process. It is even more so when you’re applying in a different language under a different set of regulations.

Filing and maintaining a patent application in an international market can range from $11,400 in Israel to $25,700 in Japan. As the filing prices increase, so do the translation costs. According to the European Commission, “the costs for a single translation of a patent may be more than €1500.”

Hiring an LSP will not only help cut down costs, but will ensure accuracy throughout the patent application process. Having to file for an international patent again is a waste of both monetary and intangible resources (e.g. time).

Tips on Becoming an LSP

The secret is out: Translators are in high demand. So, how do you get ahead? Here are a few pro tips.

Revise, Revise, Revise: You wouldn’t call a plumber to fix a broken pipe only to leave your house without checking everything’s in working order. When it comes to translation, you should make sure all your files are accurate and error-free before returning to the client.

Make sure you’re comfortable: If you’re uncomfortable with the subject matter and language style, then it’s time swallow your pride. Whether you think so or not, your comfort level will affect the quality of your work.

Don’t be afraid to use your references: As a translator, your job is to be accurate. That’s what that stack of reference material, style guides, and glossaries are for. Use them.

 

Fit For Fitbit – How Alex Alyakrinskiy (MATLM ’17) Landed His Job

Alex Alyakrinskiy graduated from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) with an MA degree in Translation and Localization Management (English-Russian) in spring of 2017. Prior to coming to MIIS, he worked as Localization Project Manager at a small LSP in Palo Alto. Alex is currently a Localization Program Manager at Fitbit in San Francisco.

*How did you find your job?

 I started looking for a job four months prior to graduation. After several interviews, I landed a part-time job at a startup which allowed me the flexibility to work remotely and finish graduate school. That experience gave me an understanding of localization stakeholders which in turn helped with my full-time job search. I always wanted to combine my passion for sports, healthcare and foreign languages. As soon as I saw a job opening at Fitbit on LinkedIn I applied right away. I was hired after four rounds of interviews.

*What experiences at MIIS helped?

It goes without saying that understanding the industry plays a key role in successful employment. The localization industry is very dynamic and multi-faceted—there is something in it for everyone. Working with my MIIS career advisors Winnie Heh and Lee Desser helped to shape my resume and highlight my professional goals. Attending localization meetups and networking events such as IMUG and SF Globalization helped me to understand the versatility of our industry and align my interests and skills with opportunities in the field.

The TLM program provided a solid foundation in the latest localization tools and technical skills so valued today. I didn’t realize how closely marketing is connected to localization until I took Adam Wooten’s Marketing for Localization course. The skills I gained in that class furthered my understanding of international markets, establishing liaisons with marketing stakeholders and addressing global product launches. The Localization Practicum was a detailed hands-on class that showed the value of team work and provided the latest industry best practices which I use on daily basis at Fitbit.

 *What advice would you share with MIIS students?

“There is always room for improvement. Keep networking, update your resume religiously and constantly work on yourself.” I heard that advice from a MIIS career advisor. It turned out to be the best advice I received. Looking for a job is a full-time job. Study hard, absorb new skills and try to get as much practical experience as possible. We all have different personalities and temperaments, which brings diversity and enriches every workplace. Stay true to yourself, network and establish genuine connections that will lead you to your perfect career.

Winnie Heh

Career Advisor

MIIS

 

ASK ME HOW I GOT HIRED – Colleen Feng (MATLM ’18, MIIS)

 

Colleen Feng is expecting to graduate from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) with an MA degree in Translation and Localization Management in summer of 2018. Prior to coming to MIIS, she earned an MA degree in Teaching English as a Second Language and taught English.  In summer of 2017, she worked as a Localization Intern at Sony Interactive Entertainment PlayStation in California.

*How did you find your job/internship?

I first saw this internship post on LinkedIn, and later it was posted on Zocalo, an online job board at MIIS.

*What experiences at MIIS?

Through taking courses in TLM, I have gained knowledge of localization project management, CAT tools, Python, desktop publishing and translation. Putting all the course names on my resume helped make it more relevant to the localization intern positions I wanted to apply for. I was also able to be more confident during the interviews with concepts of the localization industry in mind. Besides the coursework, I think having individual career meetings with my Career Advisor was the biggest help in securing my internship position. Those one-on-one discussions helped me figure out what internship position I was interested in. My Career Advisor conducted mock interviews with me, connected me with MIIS alumni, revised my resume and helped me polish my professional presence.

*What advice would you share with MIIS students?

The most important lesson I’ve learned during my first year at MIIS is to always be open to different opportunities and never stop stepping out of my comfort zone. I personally think MIIS is a great place to meet people from all over the world, and it’s been rewarding for me to not simply focus on the coursework, but also to meet new friends and try things I’ve never tried before. In the professional aspect, attending localization conferences and events have helped me learn more about the localization industry and build my network in the localization industry.

 

Winnie Heh

Career Advisor

MIIS

My CAT Story

When I was a translation student at MIIS in the late 80’s, the concept of “localization” as a service provided by language professionals never came up in our training – I am from the “pre-L10N” era.  I did not come into contact with Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) until 2008 when my employer acquired a language services provider (LSP), Lingo Language Services, now named LanguageLine Translation Solutions (LLTS) in Portland, OR.  LLTS’ core competency was and still is software localization.  Having spent close to 20 years of my career in the LSP space focusing on remote interpretation, I found myself having to learn the new language of localization – file preparation, translation memory, translation management system, term base, and CAT.  I also found myself managing as many engineers as I did project managers.  For the next 6 years, I would work with the LLTS team on selection of tools and measurement of operating efficiency thanks to these tools, but I never had the time or mind share to actually learn and use them.  This is why as soon as I could start taking classes as a MIIS employee, I chose to take Adam Wooten’s CAT class.

Though Adam Wooten’s class is named “Introduction to CAT”, its scope reaches beyond introduction to various CAT tools. It is an excellent introduction to language technology including CAT tools, machine translation & post-editing, controlled languages & authoring, interpretation technology, as well as numerous tips and insights regarding the business of translation.

Leveraging Hands-on Learning of CAT Tools

The aspect of the class that I was most interested in was the hands-on use of CAT tools. As Adam Wooten stated in the syllabus, this is about knowing “how to complete basic linguistics-focused functions in SDL Trados Studio 2015 including but not limited to translation memory creation, reuse of previous translations, terminology management, quality assurance, and translation editing according to best practices.”   My objective was to learn the functionalities of a typical CAT tool, and thereby enable myself to learn other CAT tools with efficiency in the future.  To my delight, our class had a “Learning How to Learn a CAT Tool” component.  The learning objective was understanding “different components of SDL Trados Suite 2015 well enough to learn a completely new CAT tool on one’s own.”   Equipped with my knowledge of Trados, I was able to learn memoQ effectively on my own as an assignment.

Machine Translation

The class on machine translation (MT) and post-editing was another fascinating experience.   We reviewed and compared rule-based MT and statistical MT.  Tanya Badeka and Juan Rowda, both of eBay, spoke to us on how eBay utilizes MT and post-editing to manage accuracy given the tremendous daily volume of work.  The recent announcement of Google neutral machine translation (NMT) added to the depth of our discussions and debates in class.  Our discussion on voice-to-voice machine interpretation heightened my awareness of the role voice recognition tools may play to expedite file preparation and translation output.  In my final project, I saved file preparation time by 75% by using the speech to text input method rather than word processing in Chinese.  I plan to experiment with using sight translation for production in the future.

Will MT Replace Human Translation?

MT is here to stay and scientists will continue to make improvements to it. Will MT replace translators?  The answer is:  It has already replaced some.  According to Tanya Badeka and Juan Rowda, eBay’s in-house Linguists train MT systems rather than translate.  Will MT replace translators completely?  Not likely.  MT scientists agree that there are still significant obstacles to be overcome and it is not for lack of available computing power.  The upside is MT will create new positions.  In a presentation at the American Translators Association in November, 2017, Jay Marciano listed the following positions that will be created thanks to AI:

– Translation Technology Expert

– Language Technology Analyst

– Language Process Analyst

– Machine Learning Supervisor

– Machine Learning Evaluator

– Language/Communication Analyst

– Semantic Analyst

– Translation Quality Assessor

– Data Collector

– Data Scientist

– Data Curator

– Terminologist

– Corpus Linguist

– Computational Linguist

– Premium Translators

– Premium Interpreter

Lessons Learned From Final Assignment

Our final project was to simulate a real-life translation/localization project. Here is my project overview:

overview

Here is an example of the Chinese source text file provided by the client in PDF format which is not in a translatable file format in Trados and the MS Word file as the output from a voice to text exercise. What I estimated to be a 2-hour data entry exercise was completed in 30 minutes by using voice to text input method.

text-to-speech

Here are my lessons learned.

lessons-learned-slide

Was it Worth the Investment of Time?

I have been asked: “You are not likely to be looking for a job as a translator or a localization project manager.  Why are you investing the time to learn CAT?”  First of all, I wanted to have hands-on CAT experience for translation projects in my own multilingual family, a goal that I expected to achieve and have achieved. As a Career Advisor, I am always thinking about how I can best position my students to employers.  This class gave me more up-to-date and specific concepts and language to do so.

What I did not expect was how out of my comfort zone I was. On reflection, I realized that the excellent IT support I received at work and, indeed, at home has put me out of touch with basic trouble-shooting knowledge and skills.  What used to be a blessing became a challenge when I had to handle tools hands-on.  While my classmates were zipping through their class exercise, I was trying to find the file types.  This class was a growth opportunity.

I cannot say enough about how wonderful our Professor Adam Wooten is. He is clearly a practitioner in the field day in and day out who is excellent at making his insights accessible to the students.  His commitment to the students is commendable.  He met with every one of his more than 100 students at the start of the semester and he had every team formally present their sales proposal to him for their final project.  As a Career Advisor, I especially appreciate the career management tips that he so generously worked into his presentations.  I am grateful for having the opportunity to take this class almost 30 years after I graduated from MIIS.

 

Winnie Heh

Career & Academic Advisor

wheh@miis.edu

 

Gaya Saghatelyan Shares Her Summer Experience Interning at Autodesk

Gaya Saghatelyan MA Translation & Localization Management English/ French
Gaya Saghatelyan
MA Translation & Localization Management
English/ French

Growing up in a multicultural environment, Gaya Saghatelyan has always been passionate about languages and culture. In college, Gaya studied Business Administration at a French business school. As an undergraduate student, she worked for the Embassy of Switzerland in Armenia as an in-house translator and interpreter (English/French/Russian/Armenian) — that’s how she discovered her passion for the language profession. Upon graduation, Gaya decided to leave the language industry and start a career in business administration. But not for long. After a year of working for a software company based in Los Angeles, she began to feel that something was missing in her career and decided to “go back to her roots,” as she puts it. Gaya is currently pursuing an MA in Translation and Localization Management, where she combines her passion for languages, technology and business.

This summer, Gaya did a 3-month Localization Program Management internship at Autodesk, a 3D design software company based in San Rafael. Gaya talked about her experience at Autodesk during my Career Management class. I did a follow up interview with her to learn more about the internship.

Q1: What were your top 3 criteria as you selected your internship(s)?

  1. Location: I looked for an internship in the US and abroad. I was especially interested in doing an internship in France to practice my B language and learn from a different business culture. On the other hand, I wanted to expose myself to software localization, and the Bay Area was perfect for that.
  2. LSP or Client: I wanted to gain experience in project/ program management working for an LSP, because it offers a versatile learning environment. I also wanted to explore software localization and experience what it would be like to work for a big company.
  3. The environment: In the process of interviewing for different internships, I paid attention to the overall dynamic and atmosphere between myself and the hiring manager. It was important to me that the company (and the hiring manager) have specific objectives for the internship and an internship plan. I wanted to make sure that the hiring manager could be my mentor.

Q2: What did you learn about your field during your internship?

I learned that localization can sometimes be perceived as a cost center, therefore one of the most important roles of a program manager in localization is to control cost, evangelize localization best-practices and create a long-lasting relationship with stakeholders.

In addition, I learned that software localization is evolving rapidly in response to changes in software development practices. The cadence of software localization is strongly dependent on the software release cycle, which requires localization teams to adopt a continuous localization strategy.

Finally, as a localization program manager, your role is very diverse: from cost management to vendor communication, from knowledge management to stakeholder analysis — there’s never a dull day!

Q3: What did you learn about yourself during your internship?

Autodesk Localization Team
Autodesk Localization Team

During my internship I discovered, once again, that human interaction and collaboration are very important to me. I also learned that I thrive in a dynamic environment where I can learn new things and work with different teams. Lastly, I realized that although I didn’t particularly enjoy accounting and finance in college, I love numbers! Anytime I was faced with a new task or wanted to understand how a project was structured, I turned to the data.

Q4: From the employers’ perspective what does a good intern look like?

A good intern takes initiative to benefit from the experience and contribute to the team. As an intern, you may think you don’t have a lot to contribute, but you do! A good intern observes and asks questions with the purpose of understanding the business and contributing fresh insights. A good intern also interacts with everyone on the team and takes initiative to become a part of the company culture.

Q5: Any words of wisdom you would like to share?

These are things that I think made my internship successful and I hope they will help students during their future internships:

  1. Find a mentor: Work closely with your manager and express interest in projects.
  2. Be open to new opportunities: You may be set on a specific career path you want to pursue, but you never know where the road may take you! Be open to exploring new opportunities.
  3. Use what you learn at MIIS: I didn’t know all the tools and processes when I started my internship, but what I learned during my first year at MIIS taught me to think like a localization manager.
  4. Do a final presentation: At the end of your internship, ask your Manager for a review of your work and suggest doing a final presentation for the team you worked with. This will leave a lasting impression on your team and showcase, once again, your growth throughout the summer.
  5. Stay in touch: Make connections with everyone at the company and stay in touch! Don’t underestimate the power of human interaction.

Do you have a question for Gaya? You can connect with her via LinkedIn or reach her at saghatelyan.gayane(at)gmail.com

 

Winnie Heh
Career & Academic Advisor
wheh@miis.edu

WHERE ARE YOU IN YOUR JOB SEARCH?

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To 2nd Yr T, TI, CI Students:

This checklist is designed to assess your job search skills and strategies. Your answers to the following questions may help you identify areas of focus.  Answer each question “Yes” or “No.”  Then tally your answers to discover which areas need to be strengthened.  You can also go beyond the “yes/no” answer and jot down your answers.  It is a great way to start collecting your unique “career data”!  Please review your results with me as a way to jump start your career management activities in your 2nd year in the T&I program.  I look forward to working with you.

Click on the link to access the check list.

http://www.miis.edu/system/files/media/2nd%20Yr%20CM%20Check%20List%20Final.pdf

Winnie Heh

Career & Academic Advisor

wheh@miis.edu