Spreading the Translation Word at the ACCJ

JAT members Stuart Ayre, Cathy Eberst, and Helen Iwata presented on Successful Strategies for Working with Translators at the American Chamber of Commerce in Nagoya on Friday, November 8. From a range of prepared topics, the presenters focused on those of most interest to the audience, which comprised both users and providers of translation and interpretation.

The question of how to find translators and interpreters with the right specialization for the job offered an opportunity to highlight the JAT directory search function and speak about how networking helps. JAT members often refer work to others with the right expertise if they are not the best fit for a job.

One translation user asked whether it was better to hire an in-house translator or to outsource. This led to a discussion of the pros and cons of each. It all depends on the client’s situation.

Rates were a popular topic: “How can they vary so much?” asked one audience member. Cathy was well prepared to respond to this and explained various factors that affect translation pricing.

Some users wanted to know how to judge whether someone is a poor translator before working together. Stuart admitted that this is a tricky one because anyone can make credentials look great online. The conclusions included being cautious of low rates as they can indicate inexperience, and starting with a low-risk, small job and taking it from there.

Finally, the presenters shared examples of what can go horribly wrong in translation without the right checks and expertise. Helen pointed out the importance of communication between the client and translator or interpreter to help improve service and product quality as well as to potentially reduce costs, turnaround time, and stress for all involved.

Stuart Ayre is a member of the IJET-25 committee and works in-house as a legal translator. While running her own company – Orian Translations – and specializing in legal translation, Cathy Eberst chairs the Tokyo Activities Committee (TAC) and the IJET-25 committee and is on the Content committee. Helen Iwata served as JAT president from 2009 to 2013 and was a hyperactive TAC member for several years before that. She provides translation and capability building services through her business, Sasuga! Communications.

The trio is currently exploring opportunities to spread the word to other business organizations about working effectively with translators and interpreters.