December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays!


We will be back January 2017

to keep you updated on our activities

at the Portuguese Language Division

and share news from

Portuguese-speaking colleagues all over the world.

December 14, 2016
1 Comment

My experience in the ATA Mentoring Program


Photo Credit: HubSpot

Ana Gauz

Recently, I wrote a post titled “This is Why You Should Consider Finding Yourself a Mentor,” where I talked about my experience as a mentee.

I’ll just say that the program—for those who may not read my post—was a strategy I used to fast-forward my career in translation. Now, after a year into it, I could not recommend it more enthusiastically to someone starting off as a translator or to someone who believes they could learn from another experienced colleague. It might be a desire to explore another specialization or adding a new service, such as interpretation, transcription, etc. You don’t have to be a newbie to enter the mentoring program and deeply benefit from it.

I believe the key to a successful relationship and to getting the most from this experience is to find a good fit. To me, the mentor had to be someone I looked up to, someone who made me think “I want to be like him/her when I grow up.” In the case of my mentor, I knew her from her blog and noticed we share values and viewpoints.

Secondly, mentor and mentee should share at least one area of interest. I wanted to specialize in legal translation, and she is an established legal translator and lawyer-linguist.

Most times, mentor and mentee work with different language pairs, which I think is a good idea. Working in another language pair puts aside any concern, from the mentor’s side, that the mentee might have a hidden agenda (like hoping the mentor will find the mentee some clients). The same goes for the mentee: having that out of the way gave me peace of mind that my mentor would not worry about this (especially since I came out of nowhere!).

The ATA website has a section for the Mentoring Program. It has a free webinar available there too.

The program runs from April to March of the following year. However, I started my program informally right after 2015’s ATA conference, when I met my mentor in person and invited her to embark on this journey with me.

One of the good things about the program is that it does not over-regulate the mentor/mentee relationship. ATA just sets the general rules and the pairs go from there and decide how they are going to make it work. My mentor and I, for instance, decided on monthly one-hour Skype meetings (which many times would last more than that). I have a spreadsheet where I write my questions as soon as they pop in my mind. When we meet, I write down her answers for future reference. If some urgent question or matter arises, I email or message her in-between meetings, and she always answers as soon as she can.

As for how I benefit from the mentoring, the list is long. I will offer a summary of what I wrote in the post mentioned above:
It helps me recognize my strengths, qualities, and qualifications. I tend to be very critical of myself and could not see many of the good traits I already had. Therefore, I could not sell my services with confidence. Now I can.

It also helps me identify areas for improvement, equally invaluable.

My mentor helps me tremendously with marketing strategies, from résumé-building to many tips and advice on how to better my business.

She helps me in finding my niche and shows me different ways of pursuing/advancing my specialization.

The program is a commitment, so it makes me feel accountable. I am on the receiving end of the relationship and I could not, would not, make my mentor waste time. I need to show my work.

It’s a source of inspiration, as my mentor’s professional path reminds me that successful stories usually take time to happen.

As for the benefits on the mentor’s side, my mentor tells me my questions make her think about things she never stopped to think about or, even better, make her reevaluate some long-held ideas. Well, at least that’s what she says. I still think that her answer is another display of generosity shared by all mentors, aside from all the time they spend helping their mentees achieve their goals.

Another important point is that the mentee should not expect to become a sort of an intern for the mentor. A mentor should be a tutor, a guide, a counselor; not an agency or employer. There’s this post on LinkedIn where the author discusses the issue from the mentor’s perspective, which also helps the prospective mentee to get his/her expectations right.

I am glad I decided to ask Paula Arturo to be my mentor and had the guts to do it. I hope someday to be able to give back and pay forward.

PS: Thanks to Catherine V. Howard, for revising this text, and for being, so generously and patiently, an informal mentor to me.


ana_cbssANA GAUZ, born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a legal translator. In 2009, she moved to New Jersey, US. She has a law degree from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a certificate in translation (English into Portuguese) from New York University.

December 7, 2016

ATA57: Sarah E. Sagué’s Talk on “Localizing for Millennials”

Photo Credit: HubSpot

Photo Credit: HubSpot

Beatriz Figueiredo

Based on the two huge buzzwords in the title, I knew this session was going to be packed. Add to this the fact that Sarah E. Sagué works as a Senior Localization Specialist at eBay, and you know you have to be there early to get a good seat. The best of all was that she did not disappoint and delivered a dynamic and engaging session.

Sarah started by discussing the concept of millennials: They are digital natives or early adopters of technology who are typically born anywhere from 1980 to 1995 (hey, I’m in!). She also explained that the on-demand lifestyle comes naturally to digital natives, who are used to doing anything they want on their phones today (dating, groceries, booking accommodations, banking… The list is endless!)

So, as localizers, how do we catch their attention to provide a great mobile experience? Sarah did a great job summarizing what this mobile experience actually involves: There is less text and more icons, and it is very much user-focused. If you want to get to the user’s brain fast, more visual input is the way to go.

A user-focused experience in today’s world also creates a number of challenges for localizers. First of all, most apps are developed in the United States with a US-centric mindset, so localization professionals need to advocate for global users. We also need to remember that text will almost always expand when translated into a foreign language, so translators should always strive to keep it short and move the most important content to the beginning whenever possible.

One of the most interesting things she discussed was the conversational tone that is being increasingly adopted by mobile app developers as user interface (UI) content merges with marketing content. This can be quite a challenge depending on the target language and culture, and a practical example can be seen when an app lets you know that “you’re all caught up”, meaning you have no new notifications. Finally, there’s also the issue of app-specific lingo and whether it should be translated or not (for example, Snapchat uses snaps, snapping, stories, stickers, etc.).

When Sarah was wrapping up her session, I was happy to see that a seemingly timeless principle still applied: You still have to really know your audience in order to produce relevant and high-quality work. In fact, this is the key word when localizing for millennials: relevance. So I made a note to myself to download Yik Yak when I got home, just to be on the ball.

bia figueiredoBEATRIZ FIGUEIREDO started working as a professional translator by combining her knowledge of English and educational background in the health sector. She studied in England, obtained a Certificate of Proficiency in English from the University of Cambridge, and completed her translation studies at the City University London. Since then, she has not only furthered her knowledge as a translator in her specialized field, but also completed technical projects and book translations while working with governmental offices, law firms, publishers, and several multinational companies. She also has strong experiences in subtitling, especially institutional videos, musicals, movies, and TV series.