CATI 2015: networking locally (and links to several future Triangle area events)

The 28th Annual CATI Conference was held on March 14th in Raleigh, NC. The sessions I’ve attended have all to some extent addressed the importance of client education and outreach, as well as managing expectations.

Tony Rosado has opened the conference with the keynote session “Interpreting and Translating as Essential Elements of a Global Society”. He discussed the history of the professions and their importance today, as well as the ways to highlight risks of (low-cost) low-quality services. These include “the nuclear option”, that is, discussing real-life examples of translation or interpreting errors leading to grave consequences (see his blog post “The biggest interpreting mistakes in history”) in politics, health care and in legal sphere.


While marketing translation errors are more likely to be a threat to a company's bottom line, it is hard to underestimate importance of a polished marketing translation for a company’s international success. In “Applying the Shine” Mike Collins has been discussing his strategies for making into-English marketing translations shine. While some of the tips only apply to the English-language copy (remembering to ‘-ing’, keeping the style simple and conversational, and playing around with “all/any/some/many” to see which fits the copy best), most of them are applicable to any language and include:

  • keeping the copy to the point (question to ask yourself – “Can it be left out?”)
  • avoiding odd wordings (if you can see it, the target group certainly will, as well)
  • using buzzwords or industry jargon when appropriate (knowing your target group)
  • flexibility in wording to ensure readability (question to ask yourself – “What are they trying to tell me?”).


The time to “apply the shine” is at the end, after performing completeness/terminology checks. The best way – reading aloud.

In the “Are In-House Translators as Satisfied as Subcontractors?” session Dr. Monica Rodriguez-Castro has presented results of a survey looking into happiness of freelance and in-house translators. To a large degree job satisfaction is determined by the existing market conditions. As a result, independent translators are frequently affected by lack of appreciation or feedback (and, as a result, lack of opportunity for professional growth). At the same time, beginning translators are expected to have mastered all of the technical, linguistic and cultural skills during their training; internships, while important, are largely not enough.

While this is not a unique industry-specific problem (see the recent discussion in NYT on the skills gap), it can lead to an increase in the number of recent graduates abandoning the profession due to the rate pressure and lack of advancement opportunities during the "first stage" of translation or interpreting careers.

The last session of the day for me was the Q&A session with Deborah Oronzio and Cole Watts that I have helped organize. Thank you to all attendees for interesting and relevant questions!

Although there are many marketing and business resources created specifically for translators, I think it is important to look at the experience of other industries and have an opportunity to look at the typical problems from a slightly different perspective. While the experts have not been trying to provide definitive answers, I hope that they gave food for thought on networking, new ways of promoting high quality over low price, reaching out to potential clients, or improving chances of your website being found online.

If you are a translator or interpreter living in the Triangle area, you might want to check out other business or marketing seminars and networking events.

If you are a translator or interpreter living in the Triangle area, you might want to check out other business or marketing seminars and networking events.

For translators in the Triangle area

Deborah Oronzio will be leading a workshop on strategic planning on March 26th, schedule of other local SCORE workshops can be found here: https://raleigh.score.org/localworkshops.
If you would like to learn more about various marketing techniques and stay up-to-do-date on online tools (including http://ubersuggest.org/), The Triangle Marketing Club co-organized by Cole Watts is having meetings on various topics: http://www.meetup.com/Triangle-Marketing-Club.

Other blog topics

Ekaterina Howard. English to Russian and German to Russian translator working with business, marketing and real estate materials

Ekaterina Howard, Pinwheel Translations

English to Russian and German to Russian translator working with business, marketing and real estate materials. ATA and CATI member.