The role of the interpreter and the job of communicating in more than one language

All of us have seen interpreters in action at a public event. But do you really know the challenges these professionals face every day? We will tell you in this post. 

Interpreters are a fundamental part of any oral communication in which the participants do not speak the same language. Private meetings, government acts, conferences, lectures, classes, medical consultations, court hearings… This globalized world is increasingly often bringing people from different cultures together, they interact in order to reach an objective. Interpretation, whether it is in person or virtual, is the key to success in these communications.

An interpreter is a professional translator

In order to work as an interpreter, you have to be fluent in more than one language, but that is only the beginning. An interpreter is, above all, a linguist who deeply studies the languages with which they work, the elements of which they consist, the ways in which they relate to each other, and the rules that govern them. But, in addition, an interpreter is a translator who masters the specific techniques and methodologies of the profession in order to convey meaning from one language to another. 

Whenever you are translating from one language to another, you have to make adjustments. The journey of a phrase’s meaning between languages is not transparent or automatic, because the languages, like the cultures from which they are part of, have different characteristics and rules that only on very rare occasions allow for perfect equivalency. In interpretation, these discrepancies arise at the same time the speaker starts their discourse, and the interpreter must make adjustments in real time. This is a process that still continues to surprise neuroscientists. This is because a professional interpreter’s work entails a complex cognitive effort that involves simultaneously listening in the source language, analysis, and comprehension of the speaker’s intention, short-term memory, and discursive production in the target language. All in a matter of seconds. 

An interpreter is a specialist 

To linguistic and translation competencies can also be added others that we might call “extralinguistic” because their mastery does not depend specifically on one’s knowledge of languages. Nonetheless, they are equally necessary for the performance of this job. We are referring to the specific knowledge owned by the speaker and that is present in the conversations in which the interpreter participates as well as the technologies that they use to perform their work.

All of these conversations have a topic and a context. In order to do their job better, interpreters specialize in domains and industries. This allows them to focus on mastering particular terminology providing a more sophisticated service. Likewise, they train to perform in different environments and forms of professional practice. Some of their specializations can be in the medical industry and health sciences, education, business meetings, government acts, and the legal field, among others. An interpretation’s quality depends, to a large extent, on the interpreter’s experience with the domain and their prior study of the material subject to interpretation. 

Interpreters also specialize in the different resources and technologies with which they practice their profession. All of them have mastered linguistic resources like term bases and glossaries. Conference and event interpreters also know the details of their work on stage and before the camera, while remote interpreters know how to skillfully use specialized software and different video conferencing platforms. 

An interpreter is an intercultural mediator

When a person speaks, it is not only to transmit a message: it is to share a way of looking at the world. Each speaker brings their culture with them wherever they go; and their values, traditions, customs, and tastes are reflected in their language. While working as a bridge between two languages, interpreters also act as links between two ways of seeing the world. For this reason, we say that an interpreter is an intercultural mediator. In order to do a good job, it is not enough to know the languages involved, it is also essential to be aware and sensitive to the cultures of which the languages are a part. 

As language is one of the most important components of culture, often two communities that do not share a language are also dissimilar in a lot of other aspects of daily life included in the culture. The challenge of the interpreter as an intercultural mediator is twofold: they have to make adjustments in the discourse so that communication is possible while also preserving the richness provided by the differences. Their role consists of laying down a bridge that smooths without minimizing any possible friction between the worldview of the person speaking and that of the one listening, facilitating mutual comprehension.

An interpreter is a strategic partner

Due to their linguistic knowledge, their ability to transfer meaning in specialized fields, and their skills as mediators between cultures, working with a team of interpreters brings strategic value for any organization.

Communicating on the global scene combines the challenge of creating messages and experiences that identify and differentiate the organization, are culturally relevant for each of their audiences and are organically and consistently integrated on all of its channels.

Attaining this requires the assistance of experts in languages that ensure quality, efficiency, and a focus on personalized solutions. Fortunately, the language industry has accessible alternatives for all projects. An experienced linguistic services provider has the flexibility to place at the disposal of each organization the interpretation team most adequate to reach its expectations and that of its audiences and add value at each step of the process. 

Online simultaneous interpretation: step-by-step instructions for successful multilingual events

Virtual events are an excellent opportunity to connect an organization to its online communities. But what happens when the panelists and the guests speak different languages? In this article, we take you step-by-step through how we set up an online interpretation project.

Planning an event is a complex challenge and total success rests in attending to each detail. From the topic and the list of activities to the invitations and promotion, each task adds up so that the big day ends without any mishaps. And, if your brand is global and your community is multilingual, something very important is added to the list of tasks: having interpreters specialized in the event’s domain with experience in the platform on which it is going to be held. 

During the last few years, and especially during the last few months, our clients’ inquiries regarding online interpretation solutions have been increasing more and more. The health crisis accelerated every organization’s technological transformation, and virtual events were positioned as an excellent alternative form of promotion over their in-person equivalents. Both due to cost-savings and to their flexibility and possibility of maximizing their reach to global audiences, the advantages are in plain sight. To get the most out of the experience, an interpreter is essential.

An interpreter’s main job is to orally translate from one language into another, including sign language. The interpretation can be simultaneous or consecutive. In simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter immediately reproduces the message in the target language while the speaker continues to talk. In consecutive interpretation, the speaker must periodically make pauses during their speech so the interpreter can intervene. 

At Go Global, we think of interpretation for events as a strategic resource for corporate communication. We want our professionals to add value to the experience that the organization plans in order for them to connect with its communities. We achieve this by following a series of steps that allow us to integrate our interpreters into our clients’ multilingual events and ensure a maximum quality result. 

#1 Defining the project

The first step is to know the client’s goals, their expectations in detail, and the means through which they will implement them. Our Client Solutions department talks to the client about the issues that are part of the event’s planning, including the topic, the schedule, the number of participants, the languages they speak, and the digital platform on which the event will take place. A lot of our clients are currently on Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, GoToWebinar, and Webex. They find in these tools the solution they need to develop their online events. 

The objective of this first conversation is to understand the organizational dynamics, and, especially, to find the event’s general tone. Knowing what the event is about and the context in which the organization reaches out to its audiences is essential to select the most appropriate interpreters for the occasion. 

#2 Selecting the team

Once we match the client with the type of service that they need, we start the second step, which is the selection of the professionals that are best suited for the event. Our Human Resources department performs an analysis of our interpreter database in order to choose the most appropriate individuals by taking into consideration the language and area of expertise to be addressed. When the event requires remote interpretation, we prioritize professionals with great mastery of video conferencing platforms and that are equipped with first class headphones and microphones in order to ensure good quality sound. We also test their connectivity in order to ensure a problem-free performance. The team consists of the main staff and additional backup staff that is available in case anything happens to a member of the main team.

When Human Resources has confirmation of the entire team’s availability, the Operations department is in charge of organizing a shift schedule that ensures coverage of the entire event and can absorb the additional requests that usually arise as the event progresses. At this point, we meet with the entire team in a kick off call to formally launch the project, and bring together the client’s objectives and requirements. 

When the shifts are being assigned to the interpretation team members, the project managers take into consideration the fact that simultaneous interpretation is a complex and very demanding activity, even for the most experienced professionals. Listening to a person speaking in one language and translating the content in real time while preserving the tone and intention of the speaker and conveying the message into another cultural context takes a large cognitive toll. Thus, it is not recommended that the same interpreter participates in sessions that last more than an hour, but rather several professionals who rotate and take rest periods. Normally, for events that last a full day, interpreters work in pairs. 

#3 Knowing the content in depth

Just like how no orchestra director have their musicians get on stage without having given them their sheet music beforehand, interpreters must familiarize themselves with the topics that will be addressed during the event in order to do their job better. The third step is to coordinate with the client so that they will send details regarding the content of the talks and other activities in which the interpreters will have to participate so that they can become familiar with them. 

The first purpose of this is for the interpreters to know the topics, vocabulary, order of presentation of the speakers, and the visual aid materials that are going to be used. Interpreters must be able to resolve any concerns they may have beforehand in order to do a higher quality job. After all, the role of an interpreter is to be the voice of each panelist in another language, and in order to successfully take on this task, it is advisable to have the greatest amount of information possible. Ideally, the interpreter and the main speaker must have the same knowledge of the content of the event so that the interpreter can translate and communicate the message while preserving the original intention and, at the same time, transforming the message and adapting it to the culture of the target audience. 

The second purpose of enabling the interpreters to anticipate the material to be transformed is to ensure coherence and a standard of quality in the entire service. This prior study of the material is fundamental to unify criteria and generate a glossary, a terminological guide that provides guidance for the use of specific vocabulary by the entire team. 

#4 Testing the technology

The fourth step involves testing with the client. This serves both as a demonstration of the service that we are going to provide and a testing of the platform on which we are going to provide it. The project manager in charge of the project’s coordination, the interpreters, and the client meet on the platform on which the event will be held and perform tests so that the client can confirm the quality of the interpretation and mastery of the technology. 

At the end of this meeting, the interpretation team has already met each other and is familiar with the material with which they are going to work, the shift schedule has already been assembled, the client has already gotten a demonstration of the service, and the platform on which the interpretations will be performed has already been configured and tested. We are ready for the big day. 

#5 Constant monitoring

The fifth step occurs in parallel with the holding of the event. The focus is placed on coordinating the team’s work, providing them with support for any problem that may arise and continually monitoring their performance in accordance with what is expected. This step is highly recommended for any project and unavoidable in companies like our own that perform all processes under ISO 9001 quality certification standards. 

Our Operations department is in constant communication with the team of interpreters, and, usually, is registered as an event participant to make sure firsthand that the experience of the attendees is optimal. The Operations team’s permanent contact also ensures that, in the event that an additional demand is made by the client (for example, a request for interpretation at a private meeting or an unforeseen telephone conversation), it can be attended to immediately and without any problems.

#6 Evaluating, documenting, and improving

After the event has concluded, there is a sixth step, which is the evaluation of everything that was done. For this, we perform an internal analysis of the performance of each interpretation team member, we speak with the client to get their feedback, and we perform a satisfaction survey in accordance with ISO standards in order to identify opportunities for improvement. The results of these evaluations are incorporated into our management system and the interpreters’ files and are available to be considered in the next selection.

Final thoughts

A lot of organizations are exploiting the potential of online events to connect with their audiences at a global level. Having interpreters that are experienced in the event’s topic and know how to use the platform on which the event will be held ensures that the brand’s voice will resonate with each audience and language in a culturally appropriate fashion. 

There are certain steps that are necessary in order for the interpreters to be integrated into the event’s planning process without any problems: 

  • First, knowledge of the client’s objective in depth in order to provide the service that they need. 
  • Second, the selection of a suitable team with respect to both the language and the specialty. 
  • Third, the interpreters must be provided with the content with which they are going to work ahead of time so that they can familiarize themselves with it and standardize the criteria regarding vocabulary. 
  • Fourth, testing the team’s interaction with the technology in order to ensure that everything works accordingly. 
  • Fifth, the monitoring of the team’s performance during the event. The interpreters must be provided with constant support in order to anticipate and successfully resolve any problems. 
  • Sixth and last, the evaluation of performance, this involves asking feedback from the client, and documenting all the things learned in order to continue improving. Just like in all of our services, the key to success rests on teamwork and continuous quality improvement. 

Are you looking for subtitling services for your company? Learn more about this audiovisual translation technique

Subtitling is a versatile solution to amplify the reach of your video content and make it available for a large number of audiences and different consumption patterns. Here we’ll cover the basics of this technique and its wide implementation options.

What is subtitling?

Subtitling is the practice of adding written text to a video to convey the dialog content, other linguistic elements that appear on the screen (such as a poster or a message written on a piece of paper), and the soundtrack (song lyrics, ambient sounds, voices of characters out of frame, etc.). Due to the demanding combination of technical and creative skills required, subtitling is a highly specialized task that must be carried out by professionals and with specific technologies and processes.

The result of this practice are subtitles, the text that usually appears at the bottom of the screen and seeks to replicate in writing what is being heard and seen, either in the original language or another. For subtitles to become the video’s “invisible partners,” the subtitler takes care of every detail; ensuring that the reading is fluid and the association of the text with the image and the audio occurs almost automatically.

How many types of subtitles are there?

There are several ways to classify subtitles, depending on whether the applied criterion is linguistic, technological, or refers to production conditions.

From a linguistic point of view, there is intralinguistic, interlinguistic, or bilingual subtitling:

  • In intralinguistic subtitling, the subtitle language and the video language match. These are commonly used to make content accessible to audiences with hearing difficulties (subtitling for deaf and hard-of-hearing people or SDH), for social media, where the preview runs without sound, and for videos that will be broadcasted in environments without sound amplification. These types of subtitles are commonly referred to as “captions.”
  • In interlinguistic subtitling, there is a translation process involved. The video is in one language, and the subtitles are in another. These are common in content intended for the entertainment of mass audiences in multiple countries.
  • We also have bilingual subtitling, in which the subtitle is again translated, but appears in two languages ​​simultaneously, one of which matches the original language of the audio. This type of subtitling is useful for regions where more than one language is spoken and is also often seen, for example, at international film festivals.

From a technical standpoint, captions can be classified as open or closed:

  • Open (or non-optional) captions are named after the idea that they are “open to everyone”; they are embedded within the image, are always visible, and cannot be disabled. This modality is standard in video productions for highly specific and homogeneous audiences (such as a corporate video), and is preferred in situations where subtitling is critical and must remain unchanged and always visible.
  • Closed (or optional) captions are activated by the viewer, who can choose when to use them or not and who can also select the language within the available options. This is usually the case for streaming service subtitles, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, or Hulu. 

From a production process standpoint, there are offline and real-time subtitles.

  • The former are prepared in advance. This technique can be applied as long as the video recording and its transmission are carried out separately in time, such as in movies, series, advertising, video games, institutional videos for companies, and educational or training content.
  • The latter are created live along with video broadcasting and can be produced by humans or by automatic generation software. They are common in international live broadcasts (such as at press conferences by authorities from international organizations, company executives or celebrities, or world-renowned awards ceremonies).

Advantages of subtitling

When hiring subtitling services, versatility and cost become significant advantages. Here is a list of the opportunities this technique has to offer:

  • It is more affordable than other forms of audiovisual translation because there are no voice recording costs.
  • It extends content reach, making it available to audiences experiencing hearing difficulties.
  • It grows digital content engagement. Many users prefer audiovisual content to that of a written format. So a website with subtitled videos that are accessible to multiple audiences becomes a strategic communication and sales asset.
  • On the web, it also improves the user experience by providing customization options. Especially on streaming platforms, many users value having the opportunity to enable or disable subtitles and captions (even if the content is in their native language).
  • It makes content for social networks more competitive. On social media, video previews are automatically played without audio. By adding captions, the audience can better understand the content topic and decide faster if they are interested.
  • It is a solution to broadcast video content in locations that don’t support  proper audio transmission (for example, a noisy place like a bus terminal, or a very quiet one, like a waiting room in a medical center).
  • It can be added as a complement in videos whose soundtrack has technical issues of origin (old records, noise or general poor quality) to make it more understandable.
  • It reaches audiences of non-native speakers that are trying to learn a language and is especially useful in communities with a large influx of immigrants.

Subtitling limits

Like all specialized solutions, subtitling also has limitations and application restrictions. Let’s take a look at the cases in which we do not recommend using it, or we advise consulting with your language provider for a more detailed analysis before making the decision:

  • Videos for audiences who cannot read (children, illiterate, or low literacy population).
  • Videos for visually impaired audiences, for whom the font size may be small or reading for a long time may be strenuous.
  • Videos for audiences who have cognitive difficulties that affect their ability to process written language.
  • Videos for audiences that, for reasons of a historical-cultural nature, may prefer dubbing.
  • Instructional videos that demonstrate how to do a process, because subtitles may distract the audience from the main objective, which is to learn by viewing.
  • Specialized technical content. Due to restrictions that are both temporal (matching text with visual sequence) and spatial (occupying a certain proportion of the screen), subtitling is a synthesis exercise. In cases of technical information, where every detail is essential, voice-over is preferable.
  • Content that will be watched on small screen devices (the text becomes unreadable or occupies a large portion of the screen, covering the image).
  • Content in which the emotional bond with the viewer is essential. For example, in advertising, dubbing is chosen since a message transmitted by a voice in the local language creates a more familiar sense and improves the connection with the brand.

The value of subtitles for your global content

Video content is gaining ground and is making its way to being the preferred choice for web audiences. Whether used in branding, advertising, or social media strategies, audiovisual content has proven successful in engaging and retaining audiences.

Subtitling videos is a simple and relatively inexpensive solution to delight today’s audiences with personalized options and amplify a brand’s arrival to new markets. They are also useful for improving the performance of internal communication content, such as institutional videos and educational and instructional content. Additionally, as organizations worldwide become increasingly aware of the needs of more inclusive materials, captioning for deaf and hard of hearing people can be a big step toward accessibility.

What to consider when hiring a subtitling provider?

As it is a highly specialized task, subtitling must be carried out by professionals who have the technical, technological, and creative skills necessary for an impeccable result. Choosing a qualified and experienced language service provider is critical.

To ensure that you are working with the right partner, you must verify:

  • that they have specialists in audiovisual translation, who know the language and culture of the target audience and have experience in the topic and genre of the material to transform.
  • that they work with specialized software, allowing them to adapt to the needs and technical parameters of any industry.
  • that they have an ISO certification to ensure the quality of their processes and the qualification of the professionals involved in them.
  • that they have operations led by a project manager who acts as a liaison and ensures that the final product meets the client’s requirements in terms of technical quality, delivery times, and assigned budget.

Final thoughts

Subtitling is a highly complex technique that involves a large number of creative and technical parameters for its correct realization. The result is a resource of great value and versatility that allows organizations to improve the content’s performance and expand the reach to new audiences.

The goal of subtitles, as said in the industry, is to make them “invisible”; to accompany the video and blend into the visual and sound rhythm imperceptibly for the viewer. This much desired “invisibility” depends on an extensive scaffolding that combines expert talent, specialized technologies, proven processes, and coordinated management –ensuring on-time deliveries, within budget, and of the highest quality.

Need help writing your CV? Here are the best tips from Go Global’s Human Resources team

Although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when creating your CV, it should always be clearly organized, short enough for a recruiter to scan the content quickly, and –most importantly– tailored to the company and role you’re applying for. Check out our recommendations and find a downloadable template below.

#1 Start with your personal details

Put your name, professional title, email, and contact phone number at the top of the page. Your time zone is also relevant to the recruiters. If you’re applying for a translator job, make sure to include your native language, the language pairs that you translate into, your field of expertise, and your CAT tools proficiency. Also, ‘Curriculum Vitae’ is an unnecessary title. Use your name as the title instead.

#2 Include a professional summary

The professional summary goes right under your name and contact information. It is a one-paragraph long statement that gives the recruiter a quick overview of your skills and achievements. Think of it as the elevator pitch of your career and use it to back up why you are the best candidate for the job. 

#3 List your work experience

Use a reverse chronological order to highlight your most recent experience and achievements. Include the projects and clients you worked for, your key responsibilities and accomplishments, and a link to your portfolio or work samples (if available). Think of each item on the list as a chance to show how your previous experience has given you the skills needed to make you a suitable candidate for the role. 

#4 Detail your education

Your educational background and achievements should be listed here, along with dates, qualifications, and the grade you achieved. Use a reverse chronological order here as well.

#5 Include additional skills and services you provide

Use this section to register all the abilities you have developed through your professional and personal life that are relevant for the job you want. Find a proper balance between hard and soft, and always add a short description to the technical ones to indicate your proficiency level. 

#6 Only include hobbies and interests if they are related to the job post

You don’t need to include hobbies and interests in your CV. If you choose to do so, make sure to mention the ones that are relevant to the position you are seeking and can add real value to it. Otherwise, skip this section entirely. 

#7 Last but not least: keep it short and simple

Recruiters receive hundreds of applications a day, so make sure your CV gives them the information they need as clear and concise as possible. Choose a clear typeface to ensure that your CV can be easily read. Make a thoughtful selection of your professional and academic history and leave only the info that is directly related to the job you are applying for. In terms of length, two A4/letter pages will almost always suffice.


Understanding English into Spanish translation: what to know when hiring language services for Spanish-speaking audiences

When English-speaking companies are getting ready to reach Spanish-speaking audiences, they often stumble upon questions about target countries and regions and realize the many subtleties to take into account regarding English into Spanish translation and localization processes. In this article, we are going to cover the bases for a frictionless introduction to your new Spanish-speaking public.

Spanish takes on different flavors in each country (and even region) where it’s spoken. It may come as a surprise, but someone from Spain may have a hard time understanding someone from Mexico, as an example. Particularly in informal conversation. They both speak Spanish, but they don’t speak the same Spanish.

It happens in English, too (and in many other languages that extend over large territories, like Chinese or French). Imagine a North American consumer that enters a fast food restaurant wanting to eat fried pieces of potatoes. When they look at the menu, instead of “fries”, it reads “chips” (the British-variant name for the dish, which in the US means something entirely different). Needless to say, the consumer would be a little confused or even disappointed.

Now, let’s take that to digital. Google (which has 92.42% of the search engine market share worldwide) receives over 70,000 searches per second on any given day. That’s 5.8 billion searches per day and approximately 2 trillion global searches per year. Now, imagine how many of those searches could be an opportunity on a Spanish-speaking market and are getting unattended because companies didn’t translate or localize their content. Or they did it, but without taking into consideration the language variants.

Spanish language globally

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world after Chinese. Over 572.6 million people speak Spanish worldwide, of which 477.6 million people are native speakers, 73.7 million people have some knowledge of Spanish, and another 21.2 million study Spanish as a foreign language.

There are 21 countries in the world where Spanish is the official language: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico (only de facto, not defined as the official in the legislation), Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Mexico is the native-Spanish speaking country that has the highest population. Next on the list are Colombia and Spain.

There are also countries with a population of Spanish-speaking residents like the United States, Belize, Andorra, and Gibraltar. We’re not talking about a small number of individuals, but about entire communities of consumers. In the United States, for example, about 23% of the population speaks Spanish at home. That is around 55 million people. This means that the number of Spanish speakers in the United States exceeds the population of Spain (46.94 million).

Getting the language variants right

The business landscape is getting more complex, and the audiences are getting diverse and more demanding. Users want personalized experiences that speak to them, and being special is not that simple anymore. There are countless options for most products and services that can be consumed from anywhere in the world. It’s well known now that 3 out of 4 customers prefer to buy products in their native language and that 1 in 3 rarely or never buy from English-only websites. That means that if a potential customer looks a company up online and can’t understand their content, they won’t even try to shop: they’ll leave. That transfers the language-related decisions from a tactical to a strategic level and demands any global company wanting to target Spanish-speaking to dig deep into their options. Let’s start by learning the Spanish variants. 

As mentioned earlier, many people in the world speak Spanish, but not the same Spanish. The grammatical structure of the language is shared, but there are key differences such as pronouns and verb conjugations, and words and expressions that exist in one country and not in others, or have different meanings. 

One ‘easy’ way to classify the variants of Spanish is:

International/ global/ neutral Spanish: international Spanish is written as plain and as simple as possible so that it can be understood by Spanish speakers across the world. The units of measure are expressed in the European system. It is a simpler and less costly option, but it is too general, and it lacks the needed personalization to adequately express a brand’s voice and tone to different market segments.

Latin American (LATAM) Spanish: it’s a little more personalized than the International variant and it is meant to be understood in South and Central America. It also uses the European metric system.

US Spanish: it is spoken by Spanish populations in the United States and is highly influenced by the Mexican variant of Spanish. Using English borrowings will be more common than on the international and LATAM variants. The Imperial system of measurements is used here. Dates are formatted differently from all the other variants mm/dd/yy in the US, all other variants use dd/mm/yy.

Spain Spanish: Spanish as spoken in Spain. It’s quite different from the other variants described above.

But that’s not all. As mentioned above, the Spanish language changes not only between countries but also between regions in the same country. Let’s dig deeper into the Spanish variants. They are:

Mexican Spanish: one of the goals of the Mexican Academy of Language is to establish Spanish as an official language, since, constitutionally, it is not. However, Mexico uses Latin American Spanish to communicate with the world, although each of the different regions has its own dialect.

Rioplatense Spanish: the name refers to the language spoken in the Río de la Plata surroundings, Argentina (more specifically, Buenos Aires and the Atlantic Coast) and Uruguay. It is characterized by its particular use of voseo and by including various terms of lunfardo, a slang derived from expressions taken from the Italian language.

Northern and southern Spanish Castilian: the first is spoken in the north and center of Spain. Some consider itthe official dialect of Spanish. The second is more diverse and is made up of dialects that have several common characteristics among them.

Canarian Spanish: spoken on Canary Island, also partly influenced by Portuguese. Closely related to the Caribbean dialect of Spanish.

Equatoguinean Spanish: spoken in Equatorial Guinea, in central Africa. Native Guineans added their own vocabulary and pronunciation patterns.

Caribbean Spanish: spoken in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, in some territories of Colombia, Panama, and Venezuela, and along the eastern coast of Mexico and Central America.

Outside of those classifications, you can consider each Spanish speaking country to have their own variant, dialect, and flavor of the language.

How and where to start

Both the public and the private sector are becoming more involved with equality and diversity conversations as days go by. Whether it is to comply with government regulations or to establish meaningful bonds with a broader audience, any organization today is weighing up the possibilities at hand to communicate in languages other than English. And translating to some Spanish variant is (and often should be) one of their first places to start.

The following is an outline path to begin the English-into-Spanish translation journey. One thing to always keep in mind is that, whatever the choices are, they need to be made right from the start, before any translation efforts take place. Changing the strategy after starting will create inconsistencies in your content that will take extra time and money to fix.

First, do some research. Data analysis is powerful, but many don’t know where to start, so we suggest doing market research and web analytics as well. Start by gathering information about your business’s target audience and your current customers’ feedback, and present it in some tool that allows you to synthesize their characteristics and share them with your teams, as a buyer persona.

Don’t forget to do comparative marketing research, for both direct and indirect competitors, to find the market landscape for products/services similar to yours in countries where you think could be a good next port for you. This exercise will help you assess and determine how viable your product or service would be among your target audiences.

Lastly, go for insights on the web. Get curious and run some numbers on where people are visiting your website. What countries/cities? How often? What languages are they keying the searches in? Another approach is: what countries/ areas are your top keywords being searched from? Is there a solution in that area already, or will you be the solution to those searches?

From that analysis, you may realize that your product will only work in one country of Latin America, or in all Central America, or only in two countries, one in Central and one in South America. Then, you are ready to start talking with language providers searching for advice. Depending on what countries you are going into, language experts can recommend what variant of Spanish and language strategy to choose.

When searching for language service providers for your English into Spanish translations, there are three main aspects to explore: the team, the quality, and confidentiality.

The first key to a seamless turnaround is the qualification and experience of the translators. Native-level speakers have language knowledge but also an in-depth cultural connection with your target audiences, a combination that is critical for any successful language product. Ask your provider about their team’s background (language proficiency, education, work experience, and regulatory compliance training and certification, if relevant) and their recruitment process.

Next, talk to your LSP (Language Service Provider) about their quality assurance process: how is the accuracy of the translations verified and what feedback mechanisms are in place to implement improvements and suggestions in real-time.

Third, discuss with the LSP signing a confidentiality agreement to clarify the extent of the data protection needs for your business and your industry. You can also ask them about their knowledge of industry-specific information security regulations and obtained certifications. Also, check their technological infrastructure and safety measures in place to protect systems and resources from theft or damage.

Takeaway

There are over 500 million Spanish speakers around the world, distributed in over 25 countries. The grammatical structure of the language is shared, but there are differences among countries and even among regions in the same country, such as pronouns, verb conjugations, and specific words and expressions.

You can translate your content into international Spanish for a simpler and less costly solution or localize it for each target country or region, for a stronger and personalized connection with each audience segment. To make that decision, gather market data, and discuss a strategic plan with your language service provider.

To choose the right provider, discuss with your potential vendors the qualification and experience of their translators, their quality assurance process, and their confidentiality and security measures. When in doubt, ask more questions, back yourself up with data, and if you want to minimize risks, start small, test, and reconvene.

We know that choosing the right language partner to launch your products or services in a Spanish-speaking market can be daunting. To help you clarify the path and make the right decision, we’d like to share a checklist with the key topics that you need to discuss with your potential vendors. You can download it from the link below.

Go Global’s multimedia localization strategy: a proven path to delighting your audiences through video

We share our strategic framework for managing your multimedia content and transforming it into high-value global assets.

Video has grown exponentially over the last decade and it is expected to represent 80% of online traffic by 2021. The key components of this trend are the growing live streaming services and the switch away from traditional broadcast networks to TV delivered over IP, which broadens the possibilities for an even much more connected and globalized multimedia landscape.

YouTube, the major online video-sharing platform, has over 2 billion users (almost one-third of the internet) who watch over one billion hours of video daily. The content is localized in over 100 countries and can be accessed in 80 different languages. Considering the fast-growing demand for global-ready video content and the indisputable preference of consumers for content in their mother tongue, the need for a multimedia localization strategy becomes crucial.

Whether you are localizing video for reaching internal or external stakeholders, a careful blend of technical and creative expertise is crucial to give meaning and enjoyment to the global user seamlessly. Accuracy of translation is not enough: subtleties of language, tone and audiovisual rhythm  are critical to transmitting authentic meaning to any audience, be it consumer or corporate. In this article, we will be covering the basics of creating a multimedia localization strategy and giving you an overview of topics to discuss with your language service provider.

What is multimedia localization and why do you need a strategy?

Multimedia localization is the process of adapting audiovisual materials to meet a target audience’s need regarding language preferences and cultural context. Due to the medium complexity, in which image, spoken word, sound effects, written text, graphic and other visuals elements interact at the same time, an audiovisual translation is a highly specialized task. If it’s not well done, it could change the meaning, or lose it entirely.

In his book “7 habits of highly effective people,” Stephen Covey defines the second habit as “begin with the end in mind.” The author states that all things are created twice: the first one, when planning, and the second one when doing. The key to effectiveness lies in finding a balance between planning and execution. So, when we take this to a multimedia localization strategy, it means starting with a vision and a clear destination and planning a path to ensure the steps and actions everyone is taking are coordinated and headed in the right direction.

How to plan a multimedia localization strategy

A successful multimedia localization strategy must include all the aspects involved in the decision-making process: the target, the characteristics and purpose of the content, the budget, the timing, the deliverables, and the reference material.

1 Target audience

The first decision that has to be made revolves around the target audience. As in any content creation process, it is advisable to start by knowing the end-user. But, unlike any other content creation process, in multimedia localization, audience segmentation is not only aimed at getting the audience liking the content: it is a matter of the audience understanding it.

A tangible aspect of audience segmentation is linked to the decision of whether to go for subtitling, voice-over or dubbing. The education level of the audience and the environment and devices in which they consume the content are determinants of subtitling strategy success. On the other hand, dubbing or voice-over can be beneficial for communities with low reading speed, low reading comprehension, or cognitive difficulties, but these services tend to raise costs because of the additional fees associated with voice recording (technicians, artists, studio hours, to name a few).

Despite the cost factor, each technique has growth potential according to rising variations in content consumption patterns. The demand for subtitles (and even more, for closed captions) will continue to grow hand in hand with the creation of mobile-friendly content and the trend of consuming it without audio, and the increasingly widespread regulations on accessibility for hearing impairments. Furthermore, dubbing and voice-over are expected to continue growing as younger audiences tend to favor listening over reading because it is a more passive activity and allows them to multitask.

2 Scope

To prevent scope creep and its negative impact on timing, budget, and overall outcome, you can do a video content audit. Make a complete inventory of your video content, consider the value that each piece adds to your content landscape, and keep only the pieces that support your current goals. Having a complete view of your video assets will allow you to refine your strategy and identify potential gaps for future content creation as well. With that in mind, determine your criteria for classifying what’s useful and what’s outdated and needs to go.

3 Budget

Once you have a clear overview of your content to be localized, it is now time to allocate the budget. Take into consideration that different types of content demand various production resources. For example, content to be localized for media entertainment is primarily dialog, which is particularly complex and highly context-specific, since dialog usually contains a lot of colloquialisms, cultural references, and humor.

Given the particular nature of speech and dialog, there is a specific set of language-related considerations to be taken into account for media localization, such as length restrictions for subtitles, and synchronizing lip-sync dubbing with the original audio as closely as possible.

Planning expenditure for a whole project in advance allows you to have clearer expectations regarding the overall quality of the outcome. Otherwise, the project is exposed to last-minute adjustments that negatively impact the production workflow, generating extra costs or forcing to resign quality.

4 Timing

Put the timing in your strategy. Once you define your goals, scope, and budget, there comes the moment to outline a precise schedule. Keep in mind that different techniques and methods call for different response times. For example, live captions have the quickest turnaround, and dubbing with professionals has the longest, and there are many options in between. If it is feasible for your teams, it is recommended to launch all languages into production simultaneously. This will allow more efficient project management and reduce the risk of inconsistencies and missteps among languages.

5 Means

Like any other content, video deliverables involve different technical specifications regarding the destined platform and device for its consumption. Technical details like the file type and display aspect ratio are vital for high-quality results. Take into consideration that the final outcome must keep its quality and readability in at least three standards screen size: computer, smartphone, and tablet.

6 The right language partner

As mentioned above, the key to a successful strategy is a proper balance between planning and execution. And the key to that balance when localizing video content is a qualified and experienced language partner. The language services is a mature industry with plenty of multimedia localization solutions for every scope and budget. Nevertheless, when choosing your video localization provider, some key criteria should be present:

  • Professional voice talent and technical proficiency
  • Understanding of different formats, play-out environments and testing capabilities
  • Prior work samples and multiple voice castings 
  • Project management expertise 
  • Agile methodologies
  • A Quality Assurance (QA) process 
  • A solid feedback implementation process

Also, keep visual references and other production materials handy for your provider. As your language service provider is in charge of replicating the original message to a new audience, any production material that helps to understand your creative proposal can be helpful. So, check for additional resources availability, like scripts, transcripts, storyboards, and graphic source files.

Takeaway

With the necessity to engage with a global market, as opposed to a strictly local strategy or geographic roll-out with segments addressed serially, finding solutions to reach global audiences through good video localization is imperative. Video is an exponentially growing medium, and in the realm of business, it is also a quite affordable resource to produce high-quality content.

The key to a successful outcome is a strategic approach that considers the target audience, the project scope, the time frame, the budget, the technical specifications, and a qualified and experienced language service partner to transform the plan in top-level results in a seamless way.

Looking for a job in the translation and localization industry? Try these easy and free online resources to stand out

In a business world that is working its way to digitize all communications, the language services industry experiences new demands, which leads to unexpected job opportunities. In this article, we will share some quick and easy ways to start building your personal brand online and catch the eye of the recruiters.  

Your career is your business and, like any other business, it needs a brand. So let’s start with the basics. Personal branding is the practice of promoting a person’s career with marketing strategies, similar to the ones used when promoting companies and other organizations. The term “branding” refers to the efforts put into creating a brand, which is a symbolic construction (usually embodied in a name and an image) designed to identify a product or service to their potential or real consumers. When speaking of personal branding, the “product” is your professional skills and expertise, and the challenge is to build a promise to recruiters and future employers around what makes you unique and desirable above anybody else.

Start by asking yourself what makes you the professional that you currently are. This means finding the more salient aspects of your professional profile but also thinking about what makes you different from others with a similar background. Is it a job experience in a highly unusual area? Maybe it is a specific knowledge that is common in other industries, but when looking inside the translation and localization field, does it become rare? What we are searching for here is what marketers call Unique Selling Proposition or USP: a trait that is unique and special about you, and that will make you stand out from the competition (i.e. , other colleagues).

But it doesn’t end with that. The second key in personal branding is nourishing and developing your personal brand through time. When you gain more experience and knowledge and become more appealing to recruiters, your brand should be developed to reflect that. So it is not enough to focus on who you are and what you have been doing. You also have to create a vision, a desirable future path to follow when developing your career. Your experience will help you tell the story of who you are, but the vision will tell the story of who you want to be and how you want to be perceived.

The mere idea of carrying out an ongoing process of creating, developing, and maintaining a personal branding strategy can be daunting. You need to make yourself visible to the world, but also have an updated and refined set of skills that puts you above the competition. In addition to that, you need to get to know your professional community to find out about new job opportunities. It seems a lot, but fortunately, today there are plenty of online resources that can help with that. Let’s take a look at three actionable steps you can take today to start promoting your personal brand.

#1 Build a portfolio

Your brand helps you stand out from everybody else. But in order to do that, people need to find you, and today, the first place to look is Google. Social media sites like Facebook or Instagram are okay for friends and family, and LinkedIn and job searching platforms can be an acceptable first move to start in the professional world. But when trying to build something unique and inviting, the extremely structured layout of these platforms usually falls short. An easy solution to present your professional profile in a highly personalized way is to build a portfolio.

The key is to show, not to tell. While a resume or CV is a perfect way to list and summarize your career path, there’s nothing more compelling than a portfolio. A portfolio acts as a portable showcase of your work experience and skills and allows you to show the results of your work in real-life scenarios. You can include samples, screenshots, and links of your work and even develop brief case-studies of your more fruitful contribution to big projects.

If you are just starting, try getting involved with some volunteering work. You can do that by collaborating with non-profit organizations or even helping friends and neighbors with some business projects. And if you are interested in multimedia localization, there are plenty of organizations asking for subtitling volunteers.

Once you have selected the materials you want to include in your portfolio, you just have to choose your building tool. There are many online platforms in which you can build your portfolio for free. If it is your first time working with web design, we recommend that you start on sites that are specially designed for portfolio-building, such as Clippings.me or Journo. If you feel confident with your design skills and want to get creative, you also could try with general web-design pages, like Squarespace or Wix

#2 Networking (yes, online too!)

If you are not very familiar with the term, networking refers to in-person or digital gatherings of professionals aimed at sharing information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interests, usually in an informal or more relaxed setting than a work meeting. But that’s not all. As J. Kelly Hoey, author of Build Your Dream Network, points out, “networking is not a singular activity, it is every interaction throughout your day, both online and offline. Your email signature line, the article you share on LinkedIn and the person you choose to sit next to at lunch are all part of the mix.”

One of the benefits of networking is visibility. In essence, you get to meet new colleagues and leading professionals in your industry, which can take you to new job opportunities and partnerships for starting new projects. And giving people the chance to know you and listen to your ideas and perspectives is a great way to boost your personal brand and stand out. Another advantage of networking is staying current in the latest trends in the industry. And, in an ever-changing business market, being the first to know what is happening, and especially where, is a major competitive advantage for job seeking.

In the olden days, the only opportunity to build your network was to wait until some event in your industry came up and, if it was far away, to make arrangements for travel. Today, the digital landscape offers an unimaginable amount of opportunities that are only a click away and, to take real advantage of it, it is critical to choose wisely. Next time you get an invitation or see an announcement on social media about an event, ask yourself: how is this event related to my personal brand? What is the purpose or the goal that I want to achieve by attending to this event? Who will be participating, and what kind of relationship do I want to establish with these people? By defining key aspects of your networking strategy, you will be narrowing your action field, but you will also be making it more meaningful and efficient.

#3 Diversify your learning path

In times of technological revolution, the world becomes a grand village, and any business is a global business. This opens new opportunities for companies seeking to reach new targets in distant markets, but it also faces them with the threat of new competitors in what, in past days, used to be secured regions. This dynamic and uncertain landscape calls for business models that are highly innovative, and leading companies know that the key to a creative and responsive work environment is diversifying talent. 

In a scenario in which companies are building multidisciplinary teams, picking up some uncommon but valuable skills can be a smart move. 

After all, you don’t want to fit in; you want to stand out. And the key to that is finding a balance between an in-depth knowledge in a very specific field and a mix of skills in other related areas. It is what the experts call a T-shape profile: the vertical branch of the T represents deep knowledge and skills in one particular area, and the horizontal branch represents a broad area of supporting interconnected skills and knowledge.

A T-shaped professional is highly valued given the combination of the benefits of specialization and generalization. The specialization comes with in-depth knowledge and expertise, and the generalization provides a broad worldview and empathy to communicate effectively and to work together with experts from different fields.

If you are a translator and usually work with marketing materials, you could try to expand your knowledge to SEO practices or creative writing. If you are fully proficient in CAT tools, you could dig into the science behind artificial intelligence, or try some coding. If you aspire to a team-leading position, you could explore project management, negotiation techniques, or take some business classes. 

Today, the online learning industry is on the rise, and the possibilities are endless. While for many professionals this is a solution, others can struggle when studying alone or without direct tutor guidance. If you are looking for a place to start picking up some new skills online, a course in an e-learning platform can give you a taste of how you perform in a flexible and virtual educational program. You can try, for example, Coursera, Skillshare, Khan Academy, or Edx. Every one of these sites has free options with seasoned teachers who, in many cases, are also highly-trained professionals.

Takeaway

Your career is your brand. Define what makes you unique and valuable above anybody else in the market and find ways to make it visible, so your peers and potential employers get to know your profile and achievements. To do that in an easy and inexpensive way, take advantage of the many tools and platforms available online. You can build an online portfolio to show your work in real-life scenarios and extend the power of your branding efforts by expanding your network in online events. Also, you can explore the flexibility of online learning programs to refine your skills, but also diversify them. Developing a background with a balance of specialty and general knowledge will put you on the radar of many world-leading companies that are seeking innovative and high-potential talent.

To keep up with these 3 SEO trends, you might consider partnering up with a language expert

We analyzed today’s landscape in digital content strategy and we’ll tell you how experts in translation and localization can contribute to making the best out of it. 

Search engines are getting better and better in capturing the singularities of natural language and the diversity of users’ preferences and behaviors, making the job of SEO experts increasingly challenging. Gone are the times when keyword stuffing was enough, and the click was the single measure unit of success. Today, SEO efforts broaden on and off the page in different formats, and the strategic variables under consideration keep multiplying and becoming more complex.

However, two certainties remain. The first one is that a working digital content strategy needs to be able to produce content that can be indexed by engines for users to find. The second one is that, to achieve this, magic recipes do not work.

As online search technology becomes more sophisticated, digital strategies need to become more personalized. Each brand must find its own balance of resources, combining investment in technological infrastructure, the talent for strategic communication planning, and in-depth knowledge of its audiences.

Let’s see next what the future of SEO brings and why it’s a good idea to add the perspective of a language service provider when making decisions about global content strategies.

# 1 The evolution of artificial intelligence applied to searches

Traditionally, on-page SEO is about selecting a couple of keywords, thinking about related variants of terms and strategically placing them in certain parts and categories on the page that we know guarantee good indexing and put us in the race for positioning (title and subtitles, first paragraphs, and above the fold content in general).

However, each new step in the evolution of artificial intelligence applied to searches requires us to review and edit the “manual of good SEO practices” to adapt it to the possibilities and opportunities offered by technology.

The latest milestone in search technology leaps has been made by Google (the world’s most widely used search engine) with the launch of BERT (short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers). BERT is an open-source neural network trained to process natural language.

BERT affects one in ten searches and allows Google to understand better how the language is used and, especially, how individual words work within searches, not isolated, but in context. This means that instead of word-for-word processing, each term can now be considered in the context of a sentence, relative to those that precede and follow it.

From this point on, should SEO experts optimize content with BERT in mind? No, because there is no such thing as “optimizing for BERT”. Danny Sullivan, Google search expert, explained it after the launch: “There’s nothing to optimize for with BERT, nor anything for anyone to be rethinking. The fundamentals of us seeking to reward great content remain unchanged”. 

However, even if you cannot “optimize for BERT,” every small step that artificial intelligence takes towards an optimal understanding of natural language can be used as an opportunity to reevaluate your practices and ask yourself if you are making content that is high quality and aimed to respond to the real search intent of real users.

This review takes two steps. The first is to understand how natural language processing works to produce clearer, more understandable, and indexable content for search engines. The second is about deeply knowing the cultural contexts in which our audiences communicate to provide clearer, more understandable, and more enjoyable content.

The first step is technical and requires mastering the basics for writing content that is compatible with natural language processing (NLP) mechanisms. Writing for NLP requires knowledge of logic and syntax for crafting sentences with a clear and simple structure, and in which the relationship between words is evident and unambiguous. The second step, aimed at creating quality content for real users, requires in-depth knowledge of their cultures, the contexts in which they bond, and their different ways of interacting with the language.

In both areas, the help of a language service provider can add value. Working with highly trained linguists ensures that the syntax of the content in the target languages is appropriate and suitable for the work of the search engines. At the same time, the contribution of native translators allows the content to be delivered in any language with the clarity and appeal necessary to resonate with each audience.

# 2 The growth of voice searches

Hand in hand with the proliferation of virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, or the Google Assistant, added to the increase in traffic on mobile devices, searches are no longer single words typed using a keyboard and became phrases and questions said into a microphone. In a recent survey, 48% of respondents said they use voice search, 79% considered that voice technology improves their quality of life, and 92% affirmed that it saves time.

This change in the searching mode generates a change in the use of the language, giving rise to search attempts with longer and more complex queries. As users gain confidence in the interaction with new devices, we find richer and more varied expressions, both in syntax and semantics.

How can SEO and inbound marketing experts stay ahead of the growing voice search trend? By writing content with a conversational tone and structured in a way that responds to possible questions from target audiences.

In order to build content that answers the questions from real users, it is important to start by identifying what the user’s intention is. There are multiple classifications on the different types of search intents, but, broadly speaking, we can group them into three categories:

  • navigational searches, in which the user already knows where he/she wants to go and uses the search engine to find a link to his destination,
  • informational searches, in which the user wants to know or deepen their knowledge on a subject for educational or entertainment purposes (or with a possible but distant purchase intention), and
  • transactional searches, in which the user has a clear purchase goal and looks for ways to complete the operation immediately.

To this we must add that, depending on the degree of prior knowledge and commitment that the user has with their search topic (which in online marketing is usually presented in the form of a funnel), the structure of the question may be simpler (for example, what is x) or more complex (for example, what is the best way to do x).

As we see it, the transition from written to voice search is not only a change in format but a total change in the users’ behavior and their way of interacting with language. To find creative and competitive ways to join this trend, language experts can be of great help in keyword research aimed at voice search optimization for different target audiences. Their input can be especially valuable in long-tail SEO strategies, proposing new alternatives to explore in low competition niches.

# 3 The optimization for SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

A competitive ranking strategy is no longer limited to the famous “ten blue links.” Now it reaches results in videos, images, news, maps, lists, tables, and product descriptions, among others. The key to achieving efficient and consistent results in all formats is to incorporate a 360° mindset: to abandon arbitrary conceptions about the hierarchy of this or that format over others and to think in terms of objectives and weighing the value of each channel based on a comprehensive branding strategy.

Take the case of video that, according to Cisco, is expected to occupy 80% of online traffic by 2021. A brand that has unoptimized video footage is wasting an immense opportunity, so a good start would be to curate your available content and localize basic indexing data for its target audiences.

Search engines usually take data from the title, descriptions, and tags of the videos to understand the content, index it, and make it available to users, so optimizing those three categories is a good starting point. However, for some industries, this may be insufficient for good positioning. A second step to implement would be to add transcripts. A third step, aimed at expanding global reach on video, would be to include subtitles in the languages ​​of the target audiences. With all these efforts, not only the chances of SEO positioning are improved, but also user experience in a broad sense.

To meet these demands, a language service provider has multidisciplinary teams of translators and editors in all languages, project managers, and technicians in different media to assist in optimizing and localizing content in all formats. This service usually includes the creation of terminology bases and style guides, two linguistic assets that help to strengthen the branding strategy in all channels, ensure consistency in the production and translation of content over time, and, ultimately, save time and costs.

In summary, the growth of alternatives on the search results page is both a challenge and an opportunity for brands to explore new and more engaging ways to connect with their global audiences, and a language expert is an ideal partner to carry it out successfully. 

Final thoughts

SEO practices evolve hand in hand with technology, in a way that they seek to adjust more and more to the realities and experiences of users. To do so, it is not enough to execute recipes or “shortcuts”: the key is to develop global strategies that involve investment in technological infrastructure and linguistic and cultural knowledge of the audiences in equal parts.

Adding the contribution of a team of language experts will not only achieve successful and meaningful results for each target audience, but will save time and costs, and ensure consistency of the brand strategy in all formats.

From our global team to yours: the top 5 tips for running the perfect virtual meeting

Although no company in the world remains indifferent to digital transformation, there’s a small number of exchanges, usually the most sensitive ones, that still live on in the personal arena. And the virtual group meeting is yet struggling to take its final shape at the edges of remote workflows. 

The recent changes in the global landscape, where events are postponed and travels are canceled, challenge organizations to find creative ways to get the work done and to get their teams effectively communicated while doing it. At Go Global, we are used to working remotely with colleagues in every time zone, so we invited our teams to share their tips to have a productive virtual meeting. Here’s our top five.

1. Get everyone on the same page, thematically

A virtual meeting is not a social gathering by other means but a problem-solving facilitation process, so the same organization principles for in-person meetings apply. First of all, respect everyone’s time by making an appointment, sticking to it, and starting and finishing on time. Sometimes the finishing-on-time part can get tricky, so set a clear agenda and be realistic about how much the team can achieve in one session. Also, give everybody a chance to prepare by sending in advance any information and background documentation needed to help the decision-making process.

During the meeting, the person in charge of it should make sure that every voice is heard (metaphorically, but also physically and technically, of course) and that the next steps get clearly outlined (including timing, accountability, and resources involved).

2. Get everyone on the same page, technically

An improvised meeting leads to delays, distractions, and unproductive results, and many times, the problem is not the conversation dynamics itself but the technical resource that supports it. To prevent the momentum-killing gap when some team member is still installing or updating the software while other members are catching up about how its functions, give everybody the chance to prepare in advance, whether it is installing the chosen tool or getting familiar with its functioning.

To do that, define which videoconference tool the team will use, and make sure everyone has it installed, with their account correctly set. Also, provide additional help like tutorials (or, if you have access, an IT team support), so the team members can resolve any doubts. Last but not least, make a team commitment to test the tool and practice with it beforehand (and not when the meeting is already starting). And please, please, mute your microphone when you are not using it.

3. Focus on the dialog, not on expositions

Anything that’s long and tedious in-person gets ten times longer and boring on screen. That’s why a virtual meeting shouldn’t be a series of monologues, but a brainstorming session, an exchange of ideas and knowledge, and a debate. To make that happen, all the information processes must be carried out beforehand, so the team can make better use of their time together, discussing and thinking collectively.

If someone needs to make a presentation in real-time, the main advice is to keep it short and concise and use a screen sharing tool to move everyone through the visuals to keep them more engaged.

4. Assign a facilitator (aka a master of ceremonies)

Maybe it’s because of the geographic distance, maybe it’s because the communication is technologically mediated, but sometimes people take advantage of virtual meetings to multitask. And when not everyone in the meeting is equally engaged, there’s a high risk of one or two speakers to monopolize the entire conversation, leading to more multitasking and more tuning-out of the rest.

To help attendees stay in track with the schedule, and to be actively involved in what’s happening, it can be extremely beneficial to have a designated facilitator who runs the meeting and manages the dialog flow.

The role of the facilitator is to guide the conversation so that the other participants can focus more in-depth on the content. It’s recommendable that the person in charge of this task has the necessary skills to connect with the group and flexibility to follow different conversation patterns and contain possible digressions. It’s also valuable that he or she has a deep understanding of group dynamics to properly read the (virtual) room and ensure that everyone can participate freely and actively.

5. Maximize empathy

Although technology allows many workers to fulfill their tasks seamlessly in any corner of the planet, working from home can get lonely. And in a challenging and uncertain environment like the one we’re in, some team members can be dealing with an extra emotional workload and feeling isolated or anxious.

Not everyone deals with extraordinary circumstances in the same way, so spare some initial time for small talk and check-ins to make everyone is feeling supported and involved. Sometimes, a “how are you doing?” goes a long way. After all, working from home is all about flexibility, and there’s no better way to get more flexible than to listen and show some kindness.

Bonus: if the cultural context is an issue, add a remote interpreter to the meeting

Right now, many companies are struggling to adapt their processes to a fully remote landscape. Many of them are multinational enterprises and are widely experienced in all kinds of virtual workflows. But in many cases, the language and cultural barrier remain an issue that can be amplified in a crowded virtual conference room.

To help facilitate the exchanges between remote teams that are culturally diverse, an also-remote interpreter can be a precious asset. Today, there’s a wide variety of professional interpreters highly trained on business and are available instantly over the phone and on video through online platforms.

Three takeaways

1 A virtual meeting and an in-person meeting share the same etiquette basics. Be on time, have clear objectives, send the attendees the agenda and background information in advance so they can be prepared, and finish by outlining the next steps, including timing, accountability, and resources involved.

2 Virtual meetings need some extra technological preparation. Define a videoconference tool, make sure everyone has it installed and know how to use it, and test its functioning beforehand.

3 In difficult times, extra empathy is in order. Make time for an icebreaker; ask everyone how they are doing and give people time to adapt to challenging situations. Your team will be benefited from flexibility and kindness, and the outcome may surprise you

The best translation and localization events for language professionals in 2020

In case you had a hectic start of the year and haven’t figured out your language-industry events schedule yet, don’t worry: we at Go Global got your back. Here we share our ten favorite conferences, congresses, and other networking opportunities on the translation and localization field to check out in 2020. See you there!


GALA 2020

  • who Globalization and Localization Association (GALA)
  • where San Diego, California USA
  • when March 15, 2020 – March 18, 2020

Tcworld 2020 – tekom

  • who tekom
  • where Würzburg, Germany
  • when Apr 22, 2020 – Apr 23, 2020

BP20

  • who BP Translation Conferences
  • where Nürnberg, Germany
  • when Apr 24, 2020 – Apr 25, 2020

ACES National Conference

  • who American Copy Editors Society
  • where Salt Lake City, Utah USA
  • when Apr 30, 2020 – May 02, 2020

CITI Lima 2020

  • who III Congreso Internacional de Traductores e Intérpretes
  • where Lima, Perú
  • when May 2 – May 3, 2020

Plunet Summit 2020

  • who Plunet
  • where Berlin, Germany
  • when May 28, 2020 – May 29, 2020

LocWorld42 Berlin

  • who Localization World, Ltd.
  • where Berlin, Germany
  • when Jun 03, 2020 – Jun 05, 2020

memoQfest

  • who memoQ
  • where Budapest, Hungary
  • when June 10, 2020 – Jun 12, 2020

Translation in Transition

  • who Center for Research and Innovation in Translation and Translation Technology
  • where Kent, Ohio USA
  • when Oct 15, 2020 – Oct 17, 2020

Elia’s Focus on Project Management

  • who Elia (European Language Industry Association)
  • where Manchester, UK
  • when Dec 03, 2020 – Dec 04, 2020