Jobs: Language Specialist at Netflix

Just in time for the weekend, we wanted to share a job posting that a friend recently sent to us. We have no other information about this particular job nor are we getting paid to post it, but Netflix sure does sound like a great company to work for. The job is located in Silicon Valley. 

We are copying and pasting from the company website's posting here:

Language Specialist

Los Gatos, California
Join the team responsible for localization at Netflix. We are looking for experienced linguists with the ability to translate
 and customize marketing, UI and content materials for the target market.

We are looking for highly motivated individuals with the right mix of technical, organizational and communication
skills to provide localization for the Netflix experience in the following languages: Arabic, Vietnamese, Japanese,
Korean, Polish, Spanish, and Hungarian. 

Native fluency, localization experience and creative writing in one or more of the above languages are essential.
Knowledge or prior experience in the film/entertainment industry is definitely a plus.

Specific responsibilities will include:
- Ownership of linguistic quality
- Creating and maintaining glossaries and style guides
- Working with CAT tools, approving translations and maintaining memories
- Working with external vendors 
- Representing linguistic and cultural nuances in cross-functional meetings
- Hands-on translation and editing tasks
- Planning and executing linguistic QA tasks on multiple devices and platforms
- Originating, monitoring and resolving linguistic bugs as necessary

Required Experience/Skills:
- Degree in Applied Linguistics, Translation and/or equivalent experience
- Native fluency in one of the languages mentioned above
- Knowledge of the movie/entertainment industry in the specific locale
- Mac and PC proficient
- Experience with translation & terminology tools 
- Basic knowledge of Content Management Systems and web localization tools

Have a look at this link to apply. Looks like the company has made it very easy to apply online, as you can apply via LinkedIn. We like!

Small Talk Tips for Translators

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The old adage that we hear in our industry might be  spot on: most interpreters are fairly extroverted, while most translators tend to be introverts. Of course, that's an oversimplification indeed, and we know that there are always many exceptions to all rules, but in our many years in the industry, we have realized that translators struggle more with one important thing than interpreters do: small talk.

Do you hate small talk? If yes, read on. Do you love small talk? Then you probably don't need this post, but you might enjoy it anyway.

We get it: small talk can be painful, but you can make it easier on yourself by keeping a few things in mind:

  1. Keep it short. At networking events, no one wants to hear long, complicated stories. Be succinct and interesting, but resist the urge to tell our life story.
  2. Don't monopolize people. We know that once you get comfortable talking to one person and your nerves settle down a bit, you might want to hang on to that person for dear life because it's scary to start over with another person. We know how it is--trust us. However, remember that everyone is there to mix and mingle and that you are not the only person they want to talk to.
  3. Don't be afraid of standing around alone. Of course, it's not comfortable at all if the person you were talking to excuses herself to join another conversation and you are stuck standing there with your wine glass and no one to talk to. Yes, it's uncomfortable, but work up the courage to walk up to someone else and strike up a conversation. If all else fails, go to the bathroom and come back refreshed.
  4. Work on your conversation starters. The easiest was is just to introduce yourself and say something simple along the lines of "I am new to this event" or "I just wanted to say hello because I don't know many people here" or something similar. Experienced networkers will get the hint and will introduce you to others. Another good way to start a conversation is to ask questions: about the organization, about that particular event, about the person you are talking to, etc. This brings us to the next point.
  5. Learn to listen. The best relationship builders are people who truly, truly listen and who are not focused on obsessing over what they can sell, but rather how they can maybe help the other person. It's a powerful thing to think long-term and big picture rather than short-term and project-based. For instance, Judy was recently at a dinner where a friend mentioned she was looking for freelance work in the human resources world. Judy happened to think of another friend who is in desperate need of freelance HR professionals. Judy connected them, and everyone's happy. There was no business in there for us per se, but we invested in the relationship, and that's what matters in the long run. Maybe they will both need our services at some point, and maybe they won't. 
  6. Brush up on current events (including sports). Even if you don't like baseball, you better have something to say if you are at an event during the World Series. And while local politics might mostly not be that interesting, but might want to know that a big new company is investing 100 million in your state. It's important to come across as sophisticated and educated. Of course you don't have to know everything, but we recently met a professional who said she hadn't heard of Berkshire Hathaway. While that's fine, that's probably not something you want to publicize. The bottom line is: be informed. Clients want to work with professionals who are aware of their world and what happens around them. We feel the same about our contractors, by the way.
  7. Avoid certain topics. It's usually best to steer clear of politics, religion, and most highly personal matters. Sure, there's always an election around the corner, and it's of course perfectly fine to have an opinion, but we prefer to talk about more neutral matters with people we don't know or barely know.
  8. Drinking. While this point has nothing to do with the actual art of small talk, just remember that drinking more than you are used to (which you might possibly do if you are nervous) will negatively impact your ability to make intelligent conversation. We like to have a glass in our hands, but oftentimes we refill it with water. Drink intelligently.
  9. Introductions. It can be awkward when another person walks up and you don't know who either the first or the second person is. In our experience, it's usually best to be honest and say: "I am sorry, we just met, would you mind telling me your name again so I can introduce you to..." It's horrifying to stand next to people all evening without knowing their names, so it's good to get the introductions out of the way early on. And it's fine to admit you don't remember. Just ask again. Get a business card and try to remember one particular thing about the person (her purse, his shirt, her cute earrings, his Boston accent, etc.) to help you remember.
  10. It's an art. Now, don't be discouraged if you don't have a great time every time you go to a networking event or if you simply find that some people are hard to talk to. That's just the way it is, and give yourself kudos for trying. Small talk is similar to translation in one way: it's art, not science. And just like translation, it usually gets easier the more you do it.
Happy small talking! This list is, of course, not exhaustive by any means, and we'd love to read about any other suggestions that colleagues might have. Just leave a comment and join the conversation.

Is Twitter Stupid?

Every time we talk to colleagues, either casually or during some sort of formal conference, invariably someone will say: "Twitter is stupid. I don't get it." That was us six years ago, and we were wrong. Trust us, we joined Twitter kicking and screaming in 2008, when we couldn't really see the point. But the point is that all great ideas sound somewhat absurd in the beginning, think: the printing press, the wheel, the car, the internet, e-mail. Sometimes you just have to be an adapter of technologies and see where they take you, especially if they are free and help you promote your business.

So, dear Twitter users and haters, here are our top 10 reasons (in no particular order) why Twitter is not stupid.

  1. It's free promotion for your business. Don't constantly tweet things like: "Please hire me!" because that is annoying. Tweet about things that you think might be interesting to others. Share before you focus on getting business. Help others rather than trying to get business at all cost. Twitter is not unlike relationships: you get out of them what you put into it, and you shouldn't go into any relationship only expecting to take and not to give. One of our most grateful followers is a successful media executive who was hard-pressed for a creative appetizer recipe before having some big-shot clients over, and we sent her our secret recipe for _____ (it's secret). And no, we didn't get any business out of it, because that's not always the point. This takes us to point #2.
  2. You grow a business--any business--by increasing the amount of people who know that you and your services exist. If you only tell your circle of friends about your awesome services but don't widen your circle, it will be hard to grow your network. Twitter allows you to easily increase your network and to keep fresh in people's minds. This takes us to point #3.
  3. You stay fresh in potential client's minds. Just yesterday, a client asked us for a translator to work on some texts from English into Canadian French. We know plenty of linguists in that language combination, but one stands out, not because she's a great translator and absolutely lovely, but also because we see her on Twitter all the time, where she has insightful things to say. As clients, we also use Twitter to keep track of our industry and its most successful players. Sadly, we also make a mental note of those who like to pick fights and tend to badmouth their clients and we make sure to stay away from them, because nothing good can come out of it. 
  4. You learn to keep things short. Judy tends to be quite verbose, which results in lost productivity because every e-mail she used to write resembled a novella, and she's learned to keep things short thanks to Twitter. It's amazing that Twitter actually offers some writing lessons in keeping things to the point, to the tune of 140 characters. It's harder than you think.
  5. You learn about your specialization. It's fascinating to follow industry leaders in your specialization, and it's amazing how much you can learn. Interact with them with insightful comments and you just might develop some sort of online relationship you might not otherwise have.
  6. You keep your languages fresh. Between us, we follow users (journalists, thought leaders, politicians, businesspeople, etc.) in our five languages, and it's remarkable to read original content from actual country of origin. This is especially important for Spanish, and we try to follow users in regions that are relatively untouched by English, such as users in Argentina. We also follow a number of newspapers and leading radio and TV programs to keep our language skills fresh. We also want to keep current on the news, and Twitter is a great way to do it.
  7. You keep in touch with your source/target markets. See above. Knowing what's happening in both your source and target markets is crucial, because you can only live in one of them, but clients might want to make small talk about what's happening in their world. If you have clients in Austria, you better know who Conchita Wurst is and why Wolf Haas changed the German language forever. 
  8. You can help promote clients. Trust us: they love this. Pretty much all of our clients are on Twitter, and we make a point to retweet what they have to see. Retweeting is the equivalent of liking/sharing with your network. It does not cost us anything, but clients are very grateful for the promotion, especially because we have more Twitter followers than some of our smaller direct clients.
  9. You learn something new from others. There is so much collective wisdom if you get a few dozen people together for a translators' coffee get-together. Can you imagine what happens if you get millions of people together? Great things can happen. Of course not everything that everyone says is interesting or relevant, but that's also true for your offline interactions. Just because your friends don't always say interesting stuff doesn't mean you will stop hanging out with them, right? Keep that in mind for Twitter, too. Take the interesting stuff and ignore the rest.
  10. You don't need to leave the house. Making it out of the house to an in-person networking event can be painful and yes, occasionally boring. We are not saying you can replace all your in-person networking with Twitter, but it's all complementary and we think you need to do both (unless you live in a very remote area, of course). So there's no need to get our your suit, polish your shoes, and get your business cards ready: you can conquer the world, so to say, from the comfort of your home office.
We'd venture to say that in three years (or less), Twitter will the technology we can't live without. Facebook is still very  relevant, but it seems like Twitter is quickly overtaking it (at least for business purposes) because you can grow your network more quickly.

And yes, we've gotten work from Twitter. But don't go on Twitter with that end in mind. Approach Twitter just like you would approach any networking opportunity: enjoy the journey and the worl might come. However, just like with everything else in business, there's never a guarantee. 

Interpreting in Jail: Is It Safe?

For today's interpreting topic, we'd like to focus on a very specific topic: interpreting in jail.

Most certified or registered court interpreters will at some point find themselves inside the walls of a jail, detention center, prison, juvenile detention facility, etc. Of course, all interpreters have the option of turning down the assignment. If you accept it, here are a few things to keep in mind that Judy has learned from her experiences in Nevada detention centers:

  • You will be locked inside a small room with the defendant and his/her attorney (or other third party). The defendant will usually not be handcuffed, and if you want to leave the room at any point, you have to ring a bell for a guard to come get you. These days, jails and prisons are so overstaffed that this usually takes a long time, so that's not good in case of an emergency. While attorneys have anecdotally told Judy about some scary situations with inmates, we have yet to hear of an incident involving an interpreter, but that certainly doesn't mean it hasn't happened or it won't happen. If you don't like being locked inside small rooms without a cell phone (you might have to leave it in your car) or cell phone reception (if you take it inside), you might want to turn down these assignments.
  • Being female. Most interpreters are female, and statistically, the vast majority if inmates are male, and they have very limited contact with women. Not surprisingly, females (attorneys, social workers, officers, interpreters) are a welcome sight, but be sure to dress conservatively. Avoid low-cut tops, short skirts, high heels, flashy jewelry, large earrings. Keep it very simple and professional, and dress more conservatively than you would usually do.
  • Behavior. Judy has never had an issue with an inmate at all, and every single one of them has been polite. Most of them even jump up when she and the attorney enter the room and offer her the chair (many rooms only have two chairs, so a guard will have to get a second one). Many inmates will perceive the interpreter not as a neutral party that she or he is, but will incorrectly view the interpreter as an advocate. Of course court interpreters are not advocates, but we have yet to see an inmate direct anger towards an interpreter. However, keep in mind that you might be the bearer of bad news: delayed trials, denial of a plea bargain, uncooperative witnesses, an attorney who is withdrawing from the case.
  • Information. Whenever, possible, ask the attorney (or the party for whom you will be interpreting) what the purpose of the visit is so you can prepare yourself both personally and mentally. All visits usually involve quite a bit of sight interpreting of official documents from English into Spanish.
So: is it safe? In general, we would say that yes, it is safe, but just because there are a lot of guards with guns around you doesn't mean that you will be protected at all times. There is always risk with any kind of assignment in a locked facility, so keep that in mind before you accept an assignment behind bars,

We'd love to hear from other colleagues who have experience interpreting in jails or prisons--just leave a comment below. 

Entrepreneurial Linguist Workshop in D.C.: April 18

Spring is in the air (almost) everywhere, including in Washington, D.C., our nation's lovely capital. Judy is excited to head to D.C. this week.  She is also very much looking forward to giving a two-hour workshop at the National Capital Area Translators Association (NCATA), a chapter of the American Translators Association.

We know it is short notice, but the event will be at the popular Goethe Institute, it's on a Saturday, it's free to NCATA members, and the topic should be quite interesting, so we hope that many of you in the D.C. area will join Judy!

The workshop's title is: Web 2.0 and Pricing Basics for Entrepreneurial Linguists. Judy will spend about an hour on each topic and there will be plenty of time for questions. Afterwards, we will head to lunch, and we hear there will also be food at the actual event! And since Judy likes raffles, she will be raffling off copies of our "Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation" books (and she will also bring some to purchase if you don't win).

Please have a look at the NCATA website, where you can also register.

Hope to see you in D.C.!

Breaking News

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To start off the second quarter of 2015, we wanted to share some important news with all of you, dear readers. As you know, we've both been in the translation industry for a long time, and we've tirelessly worked to share knowledge, empower colleagues, improve rates and working conditions, and elevate the status of our professions (translation and interpretation) in general. It's been a lovely ride, and we are so lucky to have amazing clients all over the world and fantastic contractors who make our business what it is. We couldn't be more grateful.

However, building a business is a lot of hard work, as all of you know. We've put in a lot of 100-hour weeks, and while we do take vacations, we usually work even while on vacation. We are a bit tired, so when a great offer came along to sell our business to a big multinational corporation that doesn't care about quality nor the quality of its translators' lives, we jumped at the opportunity. We know it doesn't make much sense and that it goes against everything we believe in, but it was time for us to exit the industry. The time was right. So was the price. As of April 2015, we plan on getting our own Caribbean island and sip fancy cocktails out of coconuts while hard-working translators around the world slave away for nothing and clients get sub-par work at high prices.

Of course we are kidding. Happy April Fools' Day! Did we have you fooled?

If you've read this far, you either know us and our sense of humor, or you were an unsuspecting new visitor who is now shaking his or her head. In either case, thanks for reading.

Nothing we just stated above is true, at all. It couldn't be further from the truth. We made it up, and we had a lot of fun doing it. But we do want to take this opportunity to reiterate how essential it is that we all keep working together as a profession to grow and strengthen it. You know when low prices will end? When translators will stop accepting them. You know when we will get more respect? When we start demanding it. We will continue working towards these goals, and we invite you to join us.

Finally, thank you for all the wonderful clients and contractors who have made Twin Translations what it is. We are so very, very grateful to be in this fantastic business. Our number one goal is to make our clients happy and to treat our lovely colleagues like family, pay them well, and pay them on time. It seems to be working. The first quarter of 2015 was the most successful in our company's history, and we look forward to many more decades of success, friendship, and great memories.
Join the conversation! Commenting is a great way to become part of the translation and interpretation community. Your comments don’t have to be overly academic to get published. We usually publish all comments that aren't spam, self-promotional or offensive to others. Agreeing or not agreeing with the issue at hand and stating why is a good way to start. Social media is all about interaction, so don’t limit yourself to reading and start commenting! We very much look forward to your comments and insight. Let's learn from each other and continue these important conversations.

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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