About the Video

The Nuts and Bolts of Becoming a Technical Translator

Specialisation is becoming an increasingly important strategy for translators in the face of global competition, pressure on prices, and machine translation. While these undoubtedly present a threat for the unprepared, specialisation offers insulation from these factors and may even help turn them into opportunities. The presenter will share insights gained through running a translation business and practising as an engineer for a combined 20 years.

This presentation discusses specialisation and its benefits in general terms and includes tips for any translator thinking of specialising, regardless of their chosen field. The presenter will also visit his own specialisation in engineering and invite the audience to test their terminology skills with the fun “Name that Fastener” quiz. The presentation covers topics including reasons to specialise, technical communication, the role of translation technology, and terminology. Solutions to common problems will be explored, finishing with a checklist of suggested activities for selling yourself as an expert.

Specialisation can help freelancers and agencies to fend off downward pressure on prices and generate more interesting work. From a client’s perspective, it can be worth paying more and waiting longer in order to receive a high quality job from a trusted supplier. While machine translation and low-cost markets undoubtedly mean changes to our traditional roles as translators, they also have the effect of massively increasing the volume of words translated. With increased exposure to translated content in all forms comes an awareness among some users of the limitations of lower quality options. So skilled human translation will remain of value to buyers, but they will be buying expertise from specialists.

Translators selling themselves as specialists must be skilled technical communicators in their target language, so the presentation explores the role of the communicator, the types of documentation to expect, and ways to improve skills. With expectations high, the expert practitioner must develop an array of habits, strategies, and techniques to help them both recognise and ensure the right level of quality. Translation technology has an important role to play, and this may even include embracing machine translation as a quality-managed tool.

No specialist is complete without their terminology, so the “Name that Fastener” game explores this essential aspect of our work through the eyes of an engineering translator. Taking the difficulties of translating the German words for screw, bolt, pin, and stud as an example (no German knowledge required), this is a light-hearted, first-hand insight into what it can take to get things right. Some helpful tricks and tips are offered.

The presentation concludes with a look at ways to acquire expertise and how to use this as a promotional tool. Attendees are encouraged to view their route to specialisation as a business investment and to learn how to sell themselves along the way. They can expect to go away with renewed focus on delivering the right quality to the right target audience, doing more work that interests them, and creating a more successful translation business.

After this webinar you will have:

  • Insight into what it takes to become an expert technical translator
  • Ideas for research techniques
  • A plan of action for positioning yourself as an expert
  • Renewed focus on delivering the right quality to the right target

All webinars are recorded: if you miss the live session, you will be able to view the recording later.

Speaker

Stephen Powley is an innovative engineer and an experienced translator. His company, Omflow Ltd., provides engineering consultancy, high-quality translations, and technical writing. He is currently pursuing his passion for research with a PhD in Automotive Cybersecurity.

Stephen studied engineering to master’s level in Leeds (UK) and Dortmund (Germany) and his career since has taken him on a fascinating journey – from programming Formula 1 cars and guiding rafts down extreme rapids to translating for some of the biggest names in German engineering.

Stephen has a broad perspective on how engineering and language shape, and are shaped by, the world at large. In his spare time, he actively promotes both languages and engineering as a volunteer.

Date

18 January 2018

Time

2:00 pm UK time. Click here to see the time where you live.

Duration

Approx. 60-70 minutes plus Q&A.

CPD points

This webinar earns one hour of CPD (ATA approved for one point). Our webinars and courses are accredited by the CIOL and by the Dutch Bureau Wbtv as ‘erkende opleiding’ (approved training). ITI members may also log these webinars as CPD hours. The same is true of most other professional institutes.

Who should watch it?

Newcomers to the translation profession, practising professionals without a specialisation, general audience with interest in engineering translation

What are the benefits to you? 

After this webinar you will have:

  • Insight into what it takes to become an expert technical translator
  • Ideas for research techniques
  • A plan of action for positioning yourself as an expert
  • Renewed focus on delivering the right quality to the right target
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