Five Lessons Learned About Translation at Elia’s Networking Days

Tatutrad, partner local de Elia organiza y participa en las jornadas sobre marketing en el sector linguistico

In October 2018, Elia, the European Language Industry Association, hosted the 22nd edition of its Networking Days in Vienna. Directors, CEOs, PMs and other language industry professionals from Europe and other continents came together to share their views on running translation agencies, to reflect on the future of the industry and to have fun.

Of all the things we learned in the plenary sessions and workshops over the course of one evening and two days, I’d highlight the following:

  1. Belonging to an association of language service companies is one of the best professional decisions that I have made as coordinator of Tatutrad S.L.

I ummed and ahhed when Elia was first recommended to me; as a translator, I already belonged to two professional associations (ASETRAD, the Spanish Association of Translators, Proofreaders and Interpreters; and ATA, the Spanish Freelancers Association), so to begin with, I didn’t think it necessary to join another association for translation or multilingual language service companies. I didn’t see how it would benefit Tatutrad: we’re already up to speed technology-wise and weren’t entirely sure what we could gain by becoming a member.

A French colleague sent me the invite and managed to convince me, and that was that!

I have attended two of Elia’s ND events and get more out of them every time, both personally and professionally.

Thanks to Elia we’ve acquired a more global vision of the industry and have connected with like-minded translation companies in other countries, enabling us to offer our clients translations to exotic foreign languages.

As part of this family, we also offer services to peer companies in language pairs that include a language spoken in the Iberian Peninsula (Galician, Portuguese, Catalan, Basque, Valencian, Spanish), which has been a fantastic opportunity to open new lines of business with clients/agencies worldwide.

  • 29 nationalities, 20 languages under one linguistic umbrella

Where else could we find that? I counted 29 different nationalities, sharing their experiences on:

  • Management of translators

How to organise the team of translators (both in-house and freelance) to optimise and achieve the best results.

  • Project management

Do all projects (audiovisual, technical, legal, marketing or medical translation, transcreation, etc.) have to be managed in the same way, or does each specialisation have certain characteristics that must be taken into account when organising the project workflow?

  • Translation memories

Several alternatives for managing previous client project repositories to use them for future translation requests.

  • Translation company management

Great advice within the area of Human Resources and Upper Management, always considering the variety of cultures and personalities in a translation company, where each member has lived in a minimum of 2 or 3 different countries.

  •  Machine translation post-editing

The latest in neural machine translation (NMT) at the service of our clients.

  •  Security and compliance with the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for all work undertaken in a translation company

All these companies share an aim: to offer clients the best language services possible using the latest translation technology, as well as by teaming up with peer companies from other countries and cultures.

  • Meeting face-to-face is replacing the usual digital contact in the search for new markets in the world of translation

When I began working as a translator, in 1995 or thereabouts, email was the best calling card. Sending your CV via email called for skills that not everyone had, and it made you stand out from all the possible candidates. Back then, few people had access to that technology and there were a lot of opportunities.

These days, we receive an average of 25–40 spam emails each day, many with fake CVs, although I’m not entirely sure what their purpose is. That’s why in-person meetings seem to be becoming more valuable once again. We meet with clients to improve procedures; with potential clients to understand their needs around document management, localisation and translation; and with colleagues to bring ourselves up to date, share ideas and ensure that we’re offering the latest in translation technology, and aren’t being left behind in the fast-paced world of translation technology.

  • Translation is so much more than translating words

Making future clients see that our services involve so much more than just translating words is tricky.

We have the tools and skills to make managing multilingual documents easier for our clients, establishing and maintaining Content Management Systems (CMS) with documents and information in several languages.

Many of the companies we’re approached by generate texts on a daily basis (blog articles, Facebook posts, tweets, news bulletins, internal newsletters, etc.). All that material often gets lost in their vast file servers and repositories. Companies like ours make it their job to put all that in order, establishing an accurate system for content creation, translation and subsequent storage of all material so that it can be consulted and reused in the future. With order comes huge time and money savings.

  • The team of professional translators is the most important asset in a translation agency

On the back of attending educational conferences, such as those held by Elia, it’s safe to say that here at Tatutrad, our translators and project managers receive the best training there is in Spain. We know and use the latest translation technology (translation memories, terminology data bases, QA quality assurance) to make it available to our clients and be able to broaden our services: from transcreation and marketing translation to implementing automatic machine translation with human post-editing for lengthy internal documents (such as machinery manuals) that are not widely distributed.

Thanks also to Elia, once again, for making us stop for a second to reflect on what we’re doing and where we’re going, and for helping us to take a step in the right direction to become the translation company that can best meet clients’ documentation needs.