Interpreting Bond, James Bond

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It's not often that interpreters play a role in big blockbuster movies, but maybe our moment has arrived courtesy of Bond, James Bond. We went to see the latest Bond movie, Spectre, last weekend, and while it might not be the best Bond movie ever, we really enjoyed the fact that interpreting was crucial in the movie. Well, maybe not crucial, but allow us to elaborate. We also thought it was marvelous that the movie was partially set in both of our dear countries, Mexico and Austria. Specifically, the very intense (and entirely unnecessary) opening scene takes place in Mexico City, where we grew up. So the movie won us over in the first 10 minutes (we are easy to please).

In typical Bond fashion, in this movie there's a very, very bad guy (and very petty, too, and he holds grudges--but no spoilers here) who wants to basically dominate the world (sound familiar?) and yes, of course he wants to kill the very suave James Bond (a fascinating, if not classically beautiful Daniel Craig). This evil dude runs a big international group of fellow evil-doers, and as one might expect, they hail from different countries. They have their big bad meeting in a snazzy Roman palace and everyone just speaks their language while the truly invisible interpreters (at least we never see them in the movie) work their magic in this large, cavernous hall. We can't imagine the acoustics would be very good, but we digress. We didn't really see any of the speakers turn on a microphone, either, but perhaps they were wearing lapel microphones. Or not. Or something. This is, after all, the movies. And everyone took turns speaking; what a concept for those of us who work as court interpreters! Those who needed interpreting services used what looked like Sennheiser receivers, and for those in the movie theater, the nice people at MGM provided fantastic subtitles.

Now, of course, the things discussed at this meeting of evil people were, well, pretty evil. Good thing it's a movie, so we don't have to worry about a real code of interpreter ethics here, but it does beg the question about how one would behave if you were put in a situation like this one where you had to interpret truly horrific things that have only one goal: to pretty much destroy most of humanity and enrich a few. Would you do it? 

In the meantime, despite some minor flaws, we are delighted to see that simultaneous interpreters (even if they are never seen, as is oftentimes the case in conference interpreting) have made an appearance in a major Bond movie. Here's the trailer if you are interested:

Video Post: Quick Interpreting Tip

Happy Friday, dear friends and colleagues! Today's brief post is another video featuring Judy and a brief interpreting tip that should help you increase your performance regardless of your interpreting field. Note: the first few seconds of audio don't work again (we are still troubleshooting this issue), but you don't miss much, as it's just an introduction. The audio works fine after that. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Video Post: Thoughts on Passing the FCICE

Happy Friday, dear friends and colleagues! We want to continue our tradition of video blog posts, and today we would like to share some brief thoughts that Judy has on the FCICE (Federal Court Interpreting Certification Examination). Enjoy! Note: There is an issue with the audio during the first few seconds of the video, but it works just fine after the fifth second (sorry about that).

The Results: Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination

After three months of waiting for a result of the oral portion of the Federal Court Interpreter Certification Examination (FCICE) that she took in Tucson, Arizona, on July 21. She took the written portion in 2013 and passed it with a high score, but she did not do well enough--but it was very close-- on the oral examination in 2013 (which she took in Denver).  However, the second time is the charm! Judy finally doesn't have to wait for the results anymore (it's been torture). As of this morning, all candidates received e-mails that the result of their oral exam were available online. It's quite scary to log on (this is the second time), but this time it's excellent news. Here's her very brief report:

I passed! I am absolutely delighted to be a federally certified court interpreter for Spanish and look forward to being part of this very exclusive group. Thanks to everyone for the support and good wishes!

American Translators Association: Take the Compensation Survey

The last ATA survey on translators' and interpreters' compensation dates back quite a few years, so we were excited to hear that the second-largest T&I organization in the world has now made a new survey available. It's completely anonymous, as only aggregate data will be collected, and no one at ATA will have access to individual answers, so your data is entirely confidential. We think these numbers really are key to understanding our industry, so the more data we have as a profession, the better. You don't have to be a member of ATA to take the survey. Here's the link. The survey closes on October 16, 2015. 

What Should I Tweet About?

We have a confession to make: well, it's not really much of a confession, but we think Twitter is great. It's revolutionized communication in many ways, and it's a powerful and free tool for self-promotion. We know that there are many Twitter haters out there, but there are fewer now than were a few years ago. Oftentimes we get asked what self-employed linguists should tweet about. While there are no solid rules that work for all, Judy has amassed many followers (8.5 K, specifically) by doing a few things that worked for her. Have a look at some of these:

1) Follow the 80/20 rule. That means you should promote yourself 20% of the time while focusing on other things 80% of the time. Reason being: it's hard to get followers if you only tweet things like, "Hire me!". That's just not interesting, and there's a reason that airlines don't just tweet about their newest and best flights. They tweet about other interesting things as well to grow a following, and so should you.
2) Be helpful. Not everything you do on Twitter has to be related to your business. In fact, most of it won't (see above). If someone asks for a restaurant recommendation in your city, chime in. It's never a bad idea to be a nice and helpful person, online and offline. We oftentimes retweet (=share) things that others ask us to share.
3) Post interesting things. Just posting stuff about yourself is the Twitter equivalent of only talking about yourself on a first date, so don't do that. Share things about organizations and people you like. Most people are aware that retweets aren't necessarily endorsements, but we still recommend reading everything before retweeting it to make sure it isn't offensive.
4) Politically correct? Speaking of offensive: it's almost impossible to never, ever, offend anyone, unless you want to be so politically correct that you are a bit bland and boring. Some linguists prefer to only tweet about business-related topics (which can be controversial enough), while we like to mix personal and private, and yes, sometimes, we use Twitter to briefly complain about bad service from say, our cable provider. We have learned to not censor ourselves too terribly much, but we also don't tweet about overly private things. 
5) Have fun. Twitter is the online equivalent of the watercooler, and it's supposed to be fun. Of course, as with the real water cooler, there are people online you'd rather not interact with, and you don't have to. If someone is harassing you, block them. If you don't want to respond, just don't. There will always be people you can't get along with --online and off---and you have to pick your battles. Surround yourself with good, positive people, just like you would in real life.
6) Learn. We can't even tell you how much we have learned from being on Twitter--we follow prominent journalists, writers, activists, politicians, and of course, fellow linguists. It's been an amazing tool, and it's also great for continuing to read in all our languages. 

Upcoming Fall Workshops

While it does not feel like fall here in Vegas (which we like), we wanted to include Judy's upcoming workshops for translators and interpreters during the next few months. We'd love to meet you, so if you are in Orlando, San Francisco, Miami, or online--come join us!

Here's the overview:

September 19, 2015
Orlando, FL
National Association of Hispanic Journalists: Excellence in Journalism
Location: Orlando World Center Marriott World
Workshop title: Common Grammatical Errors in the Newsroom: Learn How to Identify and Correct Them (panel discussion)
Registration: On the Excellence in Journalism website

October 3, 2015
San Francisco, CA
Northern California Translators Association (NCTA)
Location: Golden Gate University
Workshop title: 10 Habits of Highly Successful Translators and Interpreters
Registration: On the NCTA website

October 20, 2015
Webinar (online)
Location: Online
Workshop title: Getting Paid: Your Due Diligence
Registration: On the eCPD website

November 5, 2015
Miami, FL
56th Annual Conference, American Translators Association
Location: Hyatt Regency Miami
Workshop Title: Interpret This! Speechpool and the European Union Speech Repository
Registration: On the ATA website

Looking for English->Spanish Translation Pet Peeves

Happy Friday, dear readers! Today's your turn to share your English->Spanish pet peeves, and we know you have a lot of them (so do we). Here are the details: Judy is one of the spokespersons of the American Translators Association, and as such, she was invited to speak (via the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Florida) at the Excellence in Journalism conference, which is a joint event between the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Society of Professional Journalists. The event will take place in Orlando September 18 through 20.
Specifically, Judy has been asked to serve on a Spanish-language panel titled "Common Grammatical Errors in the Newsroom: Learn How to Identify and Correct Them." The panel will consist of a few journalists and one translator, and Judy has been compiling her own list of grammar pet peeves when it comes to newspapers and translation. Oftentimes, Spanish-language journalists in the U.S. don't have any formal educational background in Spanish, which can lead to less-than-stellar results in original Spanish-language writing. Other times, articles are poorly translated from English, and don't even get us started on Spanglish.

Since we love to share what our colleagues have to say, we figured we'd open this up to all who would like to share their pet peeves by leaving a comment below. If she has the chance to do so, Judy will mention that she polled her colleagues, and will try to mention some by name. Are you in? Please share! There are no rules or guidelines: go for it!

Coming Soon: The Interpreter Movie

We recently heard from our friends at InterpretAmerica that they have teamed up with USC Media Institute for Social Change and the non-profit No One Left Behind to make a movie about military interpreters, specifically about Afghan interpreters who work for the U.S. forces. The title of the movie is "The Interpreter.

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This is a topic that we are very interested in, and we've written about the life-and-death problem that Afghan interpreters face when the immigrant visas that the U.S. government promises them in exchange for their services aren't approved, as is the case for the vast majority of interpreters. They are seen as traitors by the Taliban and can't pretend they did not work with the U.S. forces. This issue has been getting a bit of coverage in the media, but not nearly as much as it should, which is why we are so delighted that this movie is being made. Think about how cool this is: yes, a movie about interpreters! And it doesn't have Nicole Kidman in it!

Now's your chance to become part of this adventure: spread the word, fund the Kickstarter campaign (we did; $17,000 to go), or both.  For $2,500, you can get associate producer credit in this movie, which would be a fantastic option for a large interpreting company.

This film will be screened at festivals around the country and the purpose is to raise awareness and to put pressure on political leaders to issue these visas. It's such an amazing and huge project, and if we were trying to produce a movie, we wouldn't even know where to start. We are so impressed by what InterpretAmerica has been able to put together. Here's a link to how this project started. 

Let's make this movie a reality! Will you join us in funding it and/or helping spread the word?

How Do I Market My Translation Services to Clients? (Video)

Without a doubt, the question we get the most from fellow linguists (especially beginning linguists) is: how do I get clients? How do I market my services?

We have both had the pleasure of speaking at conferences around the world to address this very topic, and we did publish a book on this topic as well, but now there's more: a 10-week class that Judy is teaching at the University of California-San Diego's Extension program. It's entirely online and there are no prerequisites (even though the class is part of the Certificate in English/Spanish Translation and Interpretation). Anyone can sign up for it, and this year's class (it's usually only offered once a year) starts September 29 and runs through December 7. It's presented entirely in English, so you don't need to speak Spanish to take this class.

While it is true that many T&I universities around the world fail to focus on the entrepreneurial and marketing aspect of our translation, there is now a class available that teaches you those skills, so: no more excuses! The class is offered by one of California's premier public universities, so it's also affordable at $475 (it was important to Judy to work with a well-known bricks-and-mortar institution that focuses on teaching rather than on maximizing profits). But rather than tell you all about this class in writing, we had Judy record a little video to explain the class in a bit more detail. Here's the link to sign up.

But rather than just read about the class, allow Judy to tell you about the class in this brief video:
Join the discussion! Commenting is a great way of becoming part of the translation and interpretation community. Your comments don’t have to be overly academic to get published. We usually publish all comments that aren't spam, self-promotional or offensive to others. Agreeing or not agreeing with the issue at hand and stating why is a good way to start. Social media are all about interaction, so don’t limit yourself to reading and start commenting! We very much look forward to your comments and insight. Let's learn from each other and continue these important conversations.

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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