A Computer Journal For Translation Professionals
This edition of the Tool Box Journal provided to you by
(the three hundred forty-second edition)
At the closing call
of the Innovation in Translation Summit
last week, Nora Díaz, one of my Summit
(the other is, of course, familiar to y'all: Josh Goldsmith of the
Journal's interpreting column), said she could not believe how fast the
three days of the Summit
gone by. I wholeheartedly agreed with her sentiment that it had been an
exhilarating event on so many levels, but my tired body and bones made
it clear that it had also been a lot of work! But to be sure, it was
work given joyfully with a LOT of positive and thankful vibes and kudos
that came our way.
This is Thanksgiving week here in the United States, and I have
always maintained that this is my favorite US holiday. It's not
particularly commercial, it's about families and friends getting
together, and it's about, well, thankfulness. So it's thankfulness that I
mostly feel after many months of preparation and three days of
learning, networking, playing (the "game night" was awesome),
discussing, and celebrating with the 5,200 people who registered for the
conference, with 20+ extraordinary speakers
, generous sponsors
, great partnerships with associations like FIT
and a number of LSPs
, and of course my wonderful co-hosts.
Like last year, we designed this year's event for busy people (I stole this slogan from the ever-encouraging Itzaris Weyman
by asking our presenters to focus their rich information into 20-minute
presentations (along with their action-oriented worksheets), which then
could be watched on-demand for all conference attendees on the day of
their release. We also tried out something new that was highly
acclaimed: daily "spotlight sessions" on particularly hot topics (money,
AI, and inclusive language). These sessions consisted of watching a
presentation together and then discussing it in a large plenum as well
as breakout rooms of four (to accommodate all time zones, we repeated
those live events). We also had many networking events, a highly
utilized community site, etc., etc.
Also like last year, this was a free event, unless you wanted to
have access to the presentations for more than the one day on which they
were released (we had six presentations a day). To access the
presentations beyond that day, you could purchase a premium package.
Many did, but Nora, Josh, and I felt that more should be able to have
unlimited access to all the sessions. The content is just too valuable
(just take a look at the program again
to verify that!). So, we would like to offer you a Black Friday/Cyber
Monday sale that will end at 11:59 CET (UTC+1) on Monday, November 28.
Ah, and you wanted to know how much we're selling it for?
A humble 49 euro! Unless you already participated in the Summit
had nothing else to do but watch and work through the videos -- or you
already purchased the then-available "Power Pack" -- I encourage you to
take advantage of this opportunity. You can sign up right here
/And here is something rather
personal: As I'm writing this, my sweet daughter Lara had a seizure
while driving and got into an accident. She seems to be OK (my wife is
on her way to be with her) but I would appreciate you thinking of her./
How bad sound led to tinnitus and hyperacusis: An interpreter's journey (Column by Josh Goldsmith)
Shiny Object Syndrome (Column by Dorothee Racette)
One more thing (or maybe two or three . . . )
New password for the Tool Box archive
The last word on the Tool Box Journal
This Black Friday, transform the
way you translate with up to 45% discount on the market-leading CAT
tool, Trados Studio 2022 Freelance.
Trados Studio, the computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool used by
over 270,000 translation professionals around the world, offers a
complete, unified translation environment for editing, reviewing and
managing translation projects and terminology -- either offline on a desktop tool or online in the cloud.
Save this Black Friday and discover how Studio 2022 will help you to:
- Increase your productivity with our translation memory technology
- Achieve a consistent global message with terminology management
- Translate faster with high-quality neural machine translation
- Enjoy the flexibility to work wherever, whenever and however you like by using Studio's cloud capabilities.
Our Black Friday sales event starts Friday 25th November 2022. For more details, visit our store at trados.com/store
If you've ever been to an ATA conference, you know it can be a
rather busy time, so busy that you might not have time to do everything
you set out to do. Such was the case for me this year. I usually try to
talk to all the exhibitors in the exhibit hall -- at least the
technology-related ones -- but alas, I didn't get to do that this year.
So I looked up the ones I missed and was not familiar with and called them once I got home.
Metalinguist is a new company, made up of eight developers and a
couple of people in sales, including Bridget Hylak, an industry veteran
who also is the present administrator of the Language Technology
Division of the ATA. Metalinguist is
a product that to my knowledge is unique for the translation sector --
at least in the kind of configuration it is being marketed and sold as.
It's a portal for translation vendors all the way from freelance
translators to small and midsize agencies. While there are a number of
products that contain portals (many of you will have worked with LSPs
that use one of them), they typically have two weak points (at least
from the freelancer's perspective). One is that the overall package is
typically too large and expensive for freelance translators; the other
is that clients (here: translation buyers) often don't like to use them
-- either they're too clunky, or clients just don't want to do anything
other than what they're used to, especially if they're working with
several different kinds of portals for their different vendors.
Metalinguist tries to solve
that by being both the standalone portal that it already is and aiming
at becoming the portal of choice even if there already is a portal in a
product like, say, Plunet (work on that is already in progress).
Okay, so what exactly is a portal? A portal is a part of your
website (or an external website connected to your digital properties)
that allows your clients and, if applicable, your vendors to log on,
upload (or download) files and/or projects, and, depending on the
available connectors, automatically process these files/projects in the
application of your choice (such as presently with RWS Language Cloud).
The benefits for you as the owner of the portal are obvious: all data
and communication is located in one well-defined area on the one hand,
and (potentially) you can look very professional to your clients on the
other. The benefits to clients are somewhat similar, only that clients
-- depending on their own sense of importance and (un)willingness to
submit to external workflows -- might be more hesitant to use it.
Whether the above-mentioned ease-of-use and the envisioned homogenous
portal landscape will help remains to be seen. Other arguments that
might sound attractive to some clients may include a secure, cloud-based
transfer protocol and the ability to view mid-project progress reports.
But all of that might not be of primary importance if this is a
tool that makes you look better and more professional. One of the
takeaways of the Innovation in Translation Summit was that translators
still have a long way to go when it comes to presenting themselves in a
more professional manner. While the vast majority have LinkedIn profiles (of course, just "having" a LinkedIn profile doesn't make you look professional -- a "professional" LinkedIn profile might), fewer than half of freelance translators have their own website (46%, according to polls we did at the Summit).
And it seems to me that if you are either looking for a way to spruce
up your website or building a website, a professional-looking portal
might be a great component for that. Not for your LSP clients, mind you,
but certainly for direct clients.
Here are some facts about the portal that might be interesting (you might also want to watch this short video
It's widely customizable with your own logo, color scheme, URL,
customer-facing messaging that can be even customized to individual
customers, services and workflow, approval processes, etc. All these
customizations can be executed in a simulation format so you know what
the portal will look like when you save your choices. Metalinguist's
folks say it takes 45 minutes or less to set it up (their word, not
mine), and that once set up, it would take your clients a matter of
minutes to submit a project.
Metalinguist is in a very early
stage, so as a freelancer you can apply to be part of the early access
program, which will grant you free access with unlimited storage (click
"Request early Access" on their website to apply). Otherwise, pricing
will begin at $9.99 a month for a single admin user with up to eight
client accounts and 100 GB of secured storage.
For LSPs, the subscription can go up as high as $300 per month with access for more than a thousand users.
I'm looking forward to seeing how this shakes out on the LSP front.
On the freelance front, I can certainly see that this is immediately
attractive because it might just provide one more avenue to look
appealing to translation buyers (AKA direct clients).
The Tech-Savvy Interpreter 2.0 - How bad sound led to tinnitus and hyperacusis: An interpreter's journey
(Column by Josh Goldsmith)
In March 2022, I was diagnosed with hyperacusis and tinnitus due to poor sound from interpreting.
Six months later, I am now well on the path to recovery.
Today, I'd like to share my journey with you. I hope it will help
you stay safe. If you face something similar, know that treatment is
available, and that you are not alone.
If you'd like to watch me tell this story, click here to see a video I recorded two months after my injury.
How bad sound led to bad health
As interpreters, we often need to make difficult calls about whether incoming sound is good enough to be interpreted.
In my case, I decided to tough out some poor, crackling sound with
drastically varying volume levels since a key participant in the meeting
relied on me in order to communicate and contribute.
I thought the sound was bad, but "doable." However, after
interpreting, I felt splitting ear and jaw pain and a headache. Soon
thereafter, I started feeling like my ears were clogged, and was
hypersensitive to volume levels that wouldn't normally have bothered me.
The pain lasted for several days, so I went to see a doctor. My
generalist suspected an ear infection, but when the pain did not lessen,
I took medical leave for the first time in my freelance career and went
to see a specialist.
I also reported the issue to the Occupational Safety and Health
representative of the organization I had been working for, to our
professional delegation, and to the health and safety committee of AIIC,
my professional association.
My hyperacusis and tinnitus symptoms
Tinnitus, which affects at least 10% of people at some point in their lives
can cause a buzzing or ringing in one or both ears. In my case, I hear a
constant, high-pitched sound (∼8000 Hz) in my injured ear. Tinnitus is
uncomfortable, and can make falling asleep hard. Early on, it also gave
me a headache. My tinnitus is especially bad whenever my ear is covered
-- which, unfortunately, is the case when interpreting, regardless of
which headphones I use.
Although I have become somewhat more accustomed to the tinnitus and
notice it less, it is still a constant presence in my life, and flares
up when I am stressed, tired or exposed to bad sound.
The hyperacusis was far worse.
Have you ever gone to a concert and felt uncomfortable because the
volume level was so high? Imagine feeling that way all the time.
Everything bothered my ears.
People talking. High-pitched sounds. Clinking silverware. Even walking
down the street. (Sirens and motorcycles were unbearable.)
When I dared to go to a restaurant, I'd ask for the quietest table,
then pick the seat where I'd hear best and experience the least
I was honestly afraid that my interpreting career was over, and that I wouldn't be able to do the things I love in life, like meeting up with friends or singing with my choir.
Diagnosis and treatment
An ENT doctor (otolaryngologist) will run a series of hearing
tests, where you have to indicate uncomfortable volume levels. If you
are uncomfortable at decibel levels below average, you may be diagnosed
Although some ENTs are unaware of the fact that hyperacusis is treatable, luckily, various treatments do exist.
My doctor prescribed an earbud with a custom filter that lowers the
decibels I hear in my injured ear. I wear it when I might be exposed to
poor or loud sound, including while interpreting. Most importantly, I don't wear it all the time: By slowly re-exposing myself to normal volume levels, my hyperacusis has lessened significantly.
I also started a treatment called audio-psychotherapy (aka the
Tomatis method). For two hours a day, three days a week, I listened to
Mozart and Gregorian chants through a special headset that used both
normal audio tech and bone conduction
to "rewire" my brain. Although research on this technique is limited, I found it helped me.
After three weeks, I went back to work. The beginning was
especially hard: I heard buzzing from most consoles, and suffered
through remote participants. Colleagues were incredibly understanding,
and offered to work longer shifts or take over if I needed a break.
Although interpreting was exhausting and sometimes painful, I have
gradually been improving. Six months after my accident, I am now able to
work full days again, although I still favor my healthy ear.
What I've learned
Our professional associations have spent the last few years
fighting to limit our exposure to poor sound, raise awareness, and
protect us. Studies like AIIC's Acoustic Shocks Research Project
help to document stories like mine and suggest potential solutions.
You're probably already protecting yourself by applying one or several of these tips:
- lower the volume to the lowest comfortable level,
- reduce exposure to noise,
- use speakers to monitor the meeting when you’re not interpreting,
- take breaks from noise,
- halt interpreting if the sound is potentially unsafe, and
- educate clients about good equipment
In the unfortunate case that you experience symptoms like mine, here are a few things you can do.
First, know that you are not alone. You may feel isolated and depressed, but seek medical treatment and let your family and friends support you.
Second, see an ENT. Get a
diagnosis, and seek treatment. In my case, I saw three doctors before I
found one who knew how to treat my hyperacusis, but treatment is
Third, report symptoms to your employers and professional associations. Reporting potentially harmful sound is essential for insurance claims.
Fifth, take the time you need to recover.
is a UN and EU accredited translator and interpreter working from
Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Catalan into English. A
passionate educator, Josh splits his time between interpreting,
researching and teaching through www.techforword.com, which empowers language professionals to make the most of technology.
Ever found a document and its translation, and wished you could use technology to automatically extract key terminology from both versions? You can! 🚀
Join Josh and the Sketch Engine team for a FREE 60-minute webinar
on Tuesday, November 29 and learn to automatically identify key terms
in a flash, find the collocations your clients actually use, and extract
and align terms from parallel documents.
Shiny Object Syndrome (Column by Dorothee Racette)
Imagine you're building a house. You've poured cement for the
basement, you spent weeks constructing the walls, and just as you're
starting to work on the roof…you decide to remodel a shiny new condo
down the road instead.
Is investing in the condo a bad decision? Hard to say, but quickly
switching your focus to exciting new projects can interfere with the
completion of existing tasks. Shifting your attention to something new
may be a good idea in the long run, but that doesn't change the fact
that your house is missing a roof, and sooner or later it's going to
The fall T&I conference season always brings new ideas and
inspiration, but the many expert suggestions can also be confusing.
Should you try your hand at a completely new specialization? The glowing
recommendations can make a new field seem like the promised land --
clients who can't wait to pay your rates, mountains of work, and
unlimited opportunities… The same goes for new work systems and software
packages -- so many choices and opinions! For some people, continuous
fascination with fresh options can turn into an endless pursuit of ideas
that aren't ever fully developed. The new ideas that hold so much
promise are also known as "shiny objects".
There is of course nothing wrong with considering other
professional options. It takes grit and effort to successfully make the
switch to a new specialization or to add valuable expertise to your
existing practice, but shiny object syndrome isn't about making one
meaningful change. The term refers to frequent shifts in attention to
something new and current, typically at the expense of existing
activities. In business, shiny object syndrome can take the form of
randomly pursuing new strategies or innovative systems for a short
We're probably all guilty of chasing shiny objects at times.
Brilliant new ideas -- even if they interfere with our current tasks or
aren't sustainable in the long run -- just seem so much less tedious and
somehow, more manageable than the old stuff. The new idea, which can be
anything from an additional qualification to a completely new business
venture, can suddenly become the center of our attention, consuming a
lot of energy. As we pour our enthusiasm into excited conversations,
internet research, purchasing supplies, or planning, we use up a good
chunk of our available time and energy. Less exciting tasks and projects
(what about that website?) are neglected or completely shoved aside.
Here are a few tips if you often get sidetracked by new ideas that don't come to fruition:
"Pie in the Sky" Time
The attraction of a new project or business activity may be rooted
in frustration with tedious chores or hitting a wall with your current
business. It is great fun to explore new concepts as a hypothetical new
business path. Allow yourself to think through all aspects of the idea,
but set up a waiting period before you start pursuing it in earnest.
Several days of deliberation will not only help you avoid impulse
spending, but will also give you time to determine what may be bothering
you about your current business. Talk the idea over with someone you
trust, and consider why it seems so attractive to you. Is your
fascination with the new project associated with boredom or frustration
that you may be experiencing with your other tasks?
Make a Tradeoff
If you still feel that pursuing the new venture is a good idea,
consider trading off at least one finished task as a condition to get
involved with the shiny object.
Identify what you would need to do to make room in your schedule.
Overbooking yourself to complete your new and previous work can affect
the overall quality of both -- potentially leaving you with a roofless
house AND a condo with leaky plumbing.
It's important to consider the ultimate impact of the shiny object
on time management and productivity. Although it may seem refreshing and
exciting, that doesn't change the fact that there are only so many
hours in a day.
Once you've considered the other factors, take the time to imagine
where you want to be in five years. Where will the shiny object be then,
and what will have become of your other business activities and ideas?
What do you want to be known for? An endless cycle of enthusiastic
pursuits, however exciting they may seem in the moment, cannot help you
build up a solid brand or reputation. From a strategic perspective, the
projects you choose should be a good fit for your brand, values, and
CT has been a full-time freelance GER < > EN translator for over
25 years. She served as ATA President from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, she
established her own coaching business, Take Back My Day, to help
individuals and organizations solve problems related to workflow and
time management. As a certified productivity coach (CPC), she now
divides her time between translating and coaching. Her book Complete What You Started (2020) provides a blueprint for carrying big projects across the finish line. You can read her blog at takebackmyday.com/blog.
What do you need to get your business ready for 2023?
One more thing (or maybe two or three . . . )
Here's something that has really sparked my interest: Zoom has
rolled out a new feature whose default setting is to save all audio
channels (including those with voices of potential interpreters) if a
session is recorded. Sounds handy at first, but it comes with some
really interesting intellectual property questions that I find
intriguing because it's not completely unlike the question of who owns a
translation memory. Interpreter and interpreting advocate
extraordinaire Maha El-Metwally has written an open letter to Zoom that
Zoom -- interestingly -- responded to rather quickly (see here
Clearly I'm not an expert in interpreting matters, but if you are
interested in this topic (and you probably should be if you're an
interpreter), be sure to listen to this podcast
in which Tianlu Redmond, the administrator of ATA's Chinese Language
Division, interviews Maha about all the ins and outs of this.
Serge Gladkoff has given a very interesting presentation on NMT that is available on YouTube
You can see from the screenshot below that it requires a bit of a time
commitment -- but it might be worth your time. And depending on your
technical prowess, there might also be some parts that you could skip:
And then there is this:
A priest, an imam, and a rabbit enter a clinic to donate blood. The
nurse asks the rabbit: "What's your blood type?" "I'm probably a type
O," says the rabbit.
New password for the Tool Box archive
Subscriber to the Premium version of the Tool Box Journal have access to an archive of Premium journals going back to 2007.
You can support the Tool Box Journal
and be subscribed to the Premium edition right here
The last word on the Tool Box Journal
If you would like to promote this electronic journal by placing a
link on your website, I will in turn mention your website in a future
edition of the Tool Box Journal. Just paste the code you find here
into the HTML code of your webpage, and the little icon that is
displayed on that page with a link to my website will be displayed.
If you are subscribed to this journal with more than one email
address, it would be great if you could unsubscribe redundant addresses
through the links Constant Contact offers below.
If you are interested in reprinting one of the articles in this
journal for promotional purposes, please contact me for information
© 2022 International Writers' Group