Boosting Your Presence at an International Business Event with Effective Interpreting Services

You are not going to attend an international business event of any type, however you are involved, without aiming to boost your business presence. Unless you happen to be at an event where everyone speaks the same language as you do (an unlikely proposition) you will need to think of some effective interpreting facilities. If you don’t plan ahead, your communication with a whole host of useful contacts, customers, clients, suppliers, buyers and other connections may be wasted. It’s wishful thinking that everyone else in the business world-wide is fluent in English, even if that language is still the most commonly used intermediary.

So what Sorts of Interpreting Services may Come in Useful?

If you are attending a conference, and intend to really make an impact, you should think about simultaneous conference interpreting facilities. If you think they are not made available by the conference organisers, perhaps you should suggest it. The way it works is like what happens at important political events like the U.N. where representatives are free to speak in their own language, yet this is simultaneously translated into the languages of the other delegates. It’s not a cheap solution, so whether it is justified depends exactly on the potential financial rewards. 

The most common simultaneous interpreting service uses a team of interpreters who are seated away from the main conference or event room. Delegates or conference attendees wear a special headset, through which they hear other delegates speak in their own language.  As the delegate speaks into the headset microphone it is picked up by the team of interpreters who simultaneously interpret into the languages of the other delegates.

One on one interpreters may be very useful if you are invited for meetings with individuals who don’t speak your language. Interpreters may also be required if there are guest speakers at a conference or event where the majority of the attendees speak the same language. This may be something that you can organise for yourself if it is you that is the guest speaker. It beats having to learn the language before you go. More importantly, it frees you up so that you can speak more confidently in your own language while someone else has the responsibility of conveying your message.

Hopefully, interpreters have been chosen carefully so that they have industry experience in the topics that are most likely to be discussed. 

Translating Culture is as Important as Translating Language for Newly Arrived Chinese in Australia

Chinese in Australia

Australia has a strict immigration policy which is meant to ensure that any skilled migrants are at least able to communicate easily with Australians once they arrive. But cultural differences can be almost as difficult to adjust to as linguistic ones and these are not part of the criteria for residence.

Chinese immigrants to Australia (just to use one of many possible nationalities) do get a bit of a cultural shock when they go to work in an Australian workplace, whether it is a private business or a government agency. It’s not the language they need translating, It’s the subtle and sometimes not so subtle cultural differences. Here are some examples.

Respect For Superiors

Chinese employees tend to have more respect for their bosses at work than is the case in Australia. That can lead to frustration on both parts. For example, an Australian manager may ask their Chinese employee to complete a task with the employee feeling duty bound to acquiesce. Their Australian counterpart may be comfortable refusing, giving a perfectly acceptable reason (they are overloaded, for instance, or still have to complete another task. In China, employees may be used to staying at work until their immediate boss finishes work. In Australia, work times are usually more explicitly laid out. Australian workers are used to having their free time off after their workday (although this is something that is changing). Chinese employees can easily become exhausted agreeing to do much more than they can handle in order t please while their Australian supervisor doesn’t understand

Intertwining The Personal and The Professional

Many newly arrived Chinese are used to intertwining their personal life with their professional life, while this tends to be kept separate in Australian workplaces. This means that if there is a disagreement between a Chinese employee and their Australian counterpart, the Chinese employee is most likely to take it personally. In response, the Chinese employee may try and dodge confrontation, but the disagreement can affect their psychological state of mind. The professional and personal tends to be kept more separate in Australian workplace culture meaning that if a professional or work disagreement arises, it may not affect the way the two people relate to each other on a personal basis.

This works both ways, as Chinese employees are much more likely to bring their private lives into work. That can mean using work resources for private purposes. This happens far less in Australian workplaces where there is an expectation that workplaces are for work and private activities are left for life beyond the workplace.

Over-the-Phone Translators are Useful for Quick Translations

Phone Translators

Once in a while you may come across a document that seems interesting but you simply can’t understand it because it’s not in your language. What might you do at that point? Would you make use of a machine translation tool despite its drawback or perhaps you would search for different options like over-the-phone translation to help you understand the document.

As machine translations are rarely of any use particularly if the information you can’t understand is in a vital document, like an operational or instructional manual for understanding how to use something.  You need to settle on choosing a translator that promises you a precise translation.

Why Use Over the Phone Translation Services?

A live phone translation is neither a machine translation nor a standard translation. It is something you can get done via telephone.  You can depend on machine translations when you have no other choice. However, mistakes in a translation which are so common with machine translators can hamper the image of your business and you would not want that to happen. Phone translation businesses have increased significantly as they are precise and can be acquired rapidly. This method of getting a quick translation is reliable and dependable.

Most over the phone translation services offer over-the-phone translations in a variety of forms, including person to person translations and translations of audio recordings. Supposing you’ve had a message from a client in say Cantonese about a product order from you business and it’s been left in your phone’s message bank and you have no idea what the client has said. This is a great situation for calling an over-the-phone translation service which will connect you to a suitable translator.

Over-the-phone translators listen to your client’s message, analyse it and convey to you what has been said accurately and efficiently.  Translators are specially trained in over-the phone translation techniques, and are screened, tested and certified to exacting standards which customers like you can’t fault however hard you try.

What is NAATI Accreditation and Recognition?

NAATI Accreditation and Recognition

Not all countries have strict rules for translators and interpreters, but Australia does. The organisation that sets and monitors standards in this field is called the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). It is the body that provides the national standard and accreditation for translators and interpreters. Its aim is to seek to maintain high national standards in translating and interpreting to ensure there is a pool of talented and accredited translators and interpreters available to meet the demands for language translation in a multilingual country. The primary aim of NAATI is to issue credentials or accreditations that recognise the skills of translators and interpreters so that they can be employed in the community and those who employ them know that they will do a good job.

How to Get NAATI Accreditation?

There are several ways of getting NAATI accreditation

  • Sitting and passing a NAATI assessment test
  • Passing a course that has been NAATI approved
  • Providing proof an overseas qualification in translating and interpreting at tertiary level
  • Providing proof of membership of a translating professional body overseas.

NAATI recognition isn’t offered in all languages, particularly those that aren’t in high demand.  Once you have been granted NAATI recognition it is an acknowledgement that you have recent experience as a successful translator and/or interpreter.

There are a number of NAATI approved translation and interpreting courses that are qualifications of at least a diploma level or higher. The courses are offered by certain Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Higher Education campuses that have been approved by NAATI as having the credentials to teach and assess the knowledge and skills needed in the translation environment. Anyone who gains a qualification at a NAATI approved educational institution may file an application for NAATI accreditation without the necessity to undergo any more testing.

NAATI certified

Revalidating your Translating Credentials is a Requirement of NAATI

Accreditation from NAATI does have an expiry date. Every now and again if you have NAATI accreditation you are required to produce evidence that you have been working as a translator and have been involved in professional development. This evidence is sufficient to revalidate your credentials for the following 3 years.

Why NAATI Accreditation is Useful for Immigration

NAATI accreditation isn’t just there to prove you can translate. It can help those wishing to migrate to Australia in a number of ways, including the following.

  • It is part of a skills assessment for those migrants or workers who are sponsored by an employer or who have been nominated for employment by a territory or state government.
  • The accreditation is a qualification that points can be claimed for in the skill category as a translator or interpreter, which is particularly useful for a migration visa that is accessible on gaining a certain number of points.
  • NAATI accreditation can also be used for the migration visa that’s based on points called the Credentialled Community Language (CCL) points.

The 1994 Migration Regulations has allocated NAATI as the assessment authority for the interpreter and translator occupations. If you file an application for your skills to be assessed, NAATI will offer to provide an assessment of your skills in two categories, which are either as “suitable” or “unsuitable” for your specific occupation as either a translator or interpreter, i.e. NAATI professional-level accreditation or higher.

Benefits of NAATI Test Clearance

It’s not too difficult to understand that if you have NAATI accreditation it will help with your migration application by accumulating much needed points.

Why do I Need my Documents Translated by a NAATI Accredited Translator?

NAATI Certified Document

It is a requirement of most Australiam government departments including the Department of Immigration and Border protection, which handles visa applications,  that all documents that are not in English must be  translated by a NAATI translator for anyone who wishes to apply in one of the migration categories to reside in Australia (assuming the translation is getting done in Australia). That means if you have important documents like birth and marriage certificates which are not in English they must be translated by a NAATI translator before they are presented as part of your migration documentation. There are other documents that might fall into this category, including degree and diploma certificates, past employer references and medical examination documents completed in another language that’s not English.

Types of NAATI Accreditation

Under NAATI’s present system, there are 10 different kinds of accreditation, which are listed below.

Conference Interpreter (Senior)

This is the highest level of accreditation for NAATI accreditation. It shows the person has an excellent level in conference interpreting which has been recognised by extensive experience and success in this area.

Advanced Translator

This is NAATI translating accreditation at the highest level. It shows an excellent level in specialised translation, gained through not only extensive experience but international leadership in translation too. 

Conference Interpreter

This shows the ability to interpret in complicated, technical and sophisticated situations. Conference interpreters work in situations where high-level negotiations are underway and at court proceedings.

Advanced Translator

This sort of competence level is necessary when handling the more complex, technical and more sophisticated translations. Often an advanced translator will work on technical manuals, will translate research papers, conference documents, and work on documents related to higher-level negotiations and on documents related to court proceedings.

Professional Interpreter

This group represents the lowest level of competence for interpreting as recommended by NAATI for working in many different environments including the areas of law, banking, health, community and social services. A professional interpreter is capable of interpreting in semi-specialised environments and is able to use the consecutive mode in order to interpret presentations and speeches.

Professional Translator

This represents the minimum level of competence for professional translating and is the minimum level recommended by NAATI for work in settings including banking, law, health, social and community services. Translators at this level work across a wide range of subjects involving documents with specialised content.

Para-professional Interpreter

This accreditation is the competence level in interpreting for general conversations. Para-professional interpreters usually participate in the interpretation of dialogues which are non-specialist. Practitioners who have been accredited at this level are generally encouraged to get professional level accreditation if they can.

Para-professional Translator

This is the competence level necessary for undertaking translations of non-specialised information such as a birth certificate. A practitioner at this level could get a more professional level accreditation when ready to do so.

Recognised Interpreter

This credential doesn’t have a specified proficiency level. All recognised interpreters should try to get a higher level of accreditation.

Recognised Translator

This is a NAATI credential that acknowledges the date of the award the translator has had regular and recent experience working as a translator with no particular proficiency level specified.

How NAATI Translator Accreditation is Awarded at a Minimum of a Professional Level

  • from a language other than English (LOTE) into English;
  • from English into a LOTE;
  • in both directions.

NAATI Exam Questions

There are kits you can buy to prepare you for the NAATI exam questions which include materials relevant for your area as follows:

For a Paraprofessional Interpreter a Test Kit Includes:

  • a complete set of dialogue and questions which are similar to replicate a NAATI test;
  • 2 extra practice dialogues;
  • suggested question answers;
  • a CD that includes a sample test with practice dialogues;
  • an interpreter’s handbook.

For a Professional Interpreter Sample Test, Each Kit:

  • is available in all languages;
  • includes a script of a complete test  with questions, sight translation, dialogues and consecutive tasks;
  • includes two extra dialogues for practicing;
  • has 2 additional practice consecutive passages for practice; I is into English while the other is into LOTE
  • has a CD that includes 2 extra practice sight translation passages
  • includes an interpreter’s handbook

The Paraprofessional Translator Practice Kit:

  • is available in certain languages only;
  • is a script of 1 set of translation passages;
  • contains ethics questions found in a NAATI test;
  • includes 2 extra practice passages in the 2 languages and in both directions;
  • includes a translator’s handbook.

The Professional Translator Sample Test Includes:

  • sample tests in most languages;
  • a script of 1 whole set of translation passages;
  • ethics questions similar to a NAATI test in both language directions;
  • sample translations and answers to ethics questions;
  • 3 extra practice passages in each language in both directions;
  • extra ethics questions.


The NAATI translator accreditation is a service that benefits all involved in the translation industry. It accredits translators and interpreters so they can prove their expertise in their field and have a better chance of employment. It helps organisations, such as the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, ensure that potential immigrants have the required credentials to enter the country. It also ensures that NAATI translators and interpreters keep up their standards by insisting on a revalidation of NAATI status every 3 years. All in all, NAATI accreditation is the envy of countries throughout the world.

Why Are Some Document Translation Services More Expensive Than Others?

These days translating documents is far more commonplace than it ever used to be. The reason for this is globalisation. Both humans and businesses are extending their boundaries to faraway places trying to find a niche where they can fit in nicely or even grow their profits. Any movement into another country which doesn’t speak your own languages the authorities will require that you provide keys documents with translations which can be read and understood easily by immigration personnel.

The sorts of documents you may need to provide with an application could include any of the following:

  • birth certificate
  • marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • degree and diploma certificates
  • police clearance document
  • medical report.
  • All these documents will need a translation provided by a document translation service provider that specializes in translating documents for immigration into another country. If you are entering the United States, for either job or business reasons, and you intend to reside permanently all your official documents will need to be signed by the translator who has to include a statement stating it is an accurate translation. This is most likely to be a more expensive document translation because the care that needs to be taken to ensure a perfect translation is far more crucial than other forms of document translation. Translators don’t provide a free service so if the job takes longer or a translation has to be certified expect this to be a more expensive document translation than others you may already have had.

    Other types of documents that require highly specific translation skills are warranty cards for products and product manuals which is the documentation that normally accompanies a newly purchased product. It’s crucial that these documents are perfectly accurate so as not to cause confusion or misunderstanding. If you are looking for this high degree of accuracy expect to pay more for the service than other less important document translation services.  You pay for what you get and if you want the best translation possible then expect a more expensive document translation.

Communication Means a Successful Document Translation

When translating a document the source document’s quality is related directly to how long it takes to complete a good translation. The quality of the original document also helps in the calculation of the cost of the translation at the commencement of the document translation.

What a translator thinks

At a first glance the translator gains a different image than you the owner of the document does. When you look at your own document you see it as a complete piece of written work that has been prepared and written fluently in your language. A translator sees a raw document containing many thousands of phrases and words that have to be identified and put into a context. From this the correct phrases and words need to be replaced with those that give the best meaning in the second language. If the text to be translated contains language which includes many idioms, and colloquialisms it makes the translation far harder to complete quickly and produce a useful and effective translation. Basically when a translator assesses the source document and starts to find the best language for the text the terminology used needs to be consistent throughout the new translation.

The sorts of problems of a document translation include explaining abbreviations and substituting the right words if a table or graph is included which has been labelled. This is crucial if it’s a legally binding document or a medical translation as doing a poor translation could cause serious legal implications for both the owner of the original document and the translator.

Translation Consistency is vital

It’s important that there’s Communication for translation otherwise the point of the translation has not been reached.  The translator determines whether the language used is consistent throughout the text. This is vital to ensure good communication. The most important thing from the point of view of the client who wants the translation is that the translator is fully fluent in both languages and for the type of translation that needs translating. If it is a medical translation it’s important to hire a translator who is fully conversant with medical terminology in the two languages so that there is consistency in the two languages once the translation has been completed. Most translators have a database that they use when translating for the same client. This is often drawn up between the client and the translator so that the most appropriate phrases and words can be repeated in the documents each time.

Key Ways to Team up with the Right E-learning Partner for Translation

In this world of global markets, multinational companies operate far beyond borders that speak just their own language(s). They have set up factories and bases all around the world. This doesn’t mean that managers, executives and workers come with them from the country of origin. Depending on their skills, they could be based anywhere around the world and even work remotely if this is economically a good option.  For example, marketing personnel could be outsourced from India, especially if the multinational is U.S. or British based, as there is a large pool of highly experienced English speakers from India who have a wide range of skills.  A company may find it can source well qualified personnel from Saudi Arabia, if it’s involved in the oil industry.

If the workforce is widely spread out it has to somehow be brought together to learn about the company they are working for. The use of e-learning courses has become popular but it is preferable that the e-learning platform be presented in the employees’ native languages. This means the company has to source an e-learning professional translation partner who has the capability of finding the right translators to meet the customised training requirements.

How to find the right translation company: Here are some tips.

  • The first thing to look for is experience in translating for e-learning purposes and that means both on and off the screen as required.
  • The second thing is ensuring the translation services can come up with competent translators in all the languages that your business requires in the e-learning program.
  • The chosen company will need to provide translators who are competent in translating both audio narrations as well as written material in the language and tone required by the business.
  • An approved translation company will have testimonials from past clients that will state how competent the translatorsare.

In Australia, where a national accreditation authority (N.A.A.T.I.) controls and regulates the suitability of Australian based translators and interpreters, you can’t go wrong if you hire a N.A.A.T.I. accredited translation company. These translation agencies are ranked globally as some of the best qualified translation services in a vast number of languages with a high level of competence.

​​Culture is Key to a Business Translation

When a professional business translation takes place, cultural understanding of the target language is necessary, especially when it comes to dealing with products for a business. If the product is likely to be more of interest to women, for example, the language in the business translation should be adapted accordingly to reflect this. Cultural descriptions are a key to understanding and interpretation, whatever the language is. Even the most basic sentence structure can have its own specific meaning.

If a translator uses the wrong word it could be both insulting and embarrassing to the reader. Fortunately professional translators understand the importance of cultural norms in the languages they are competent to translate. In Australia, for instance, NAATI, the national accreditation body that regulates the quality of translators and interpreters, ensures that all their translators perform to a good standard before they are allowed to undertake document translations for official documents as well as business documents and promotional material used by businesses where culture is important.

Getting to know how to ask direct questions in a language being translated is important. There was one such incidence concerning California’s milk marketing board which was trying to promote its product to the Hispanic market. It put on its advert ‘Got Milk’ instead of asking the question if they ‘Got Milk?’. The former wording resulted in the loss of $1.3 trillion worth of market gain because the listening/watching potential Hispanic market thought the advert was accusing them of lactating, not asking them if they wanted milk! A marketing translator would be far better at understanding the potential market than the translation services used by the Californian business.

Cultural sensitivity is important when businesses are trying to market to unfamiliar markets around the world. Not all words in English for examplecan be directly translated into other languages so it needs the skills of an experienced translator to ensure that the right words are used when translating into a second language.

Quite recently, there was an alarming translation performed by an online automatic translator. Pepsi produced an advert in China which in English is ‘Come alive with Pepsi’ but the translation when put into a Chinese language came out as ‘Pepsi brings ancestors back to life’. This didn’t go down at all well with Chinese recipients. This example is a good reason to use a good human translator rather than try to use a cheaply constructed online machine translator.

How to Market Yourself as a Translator

As a new freelance translator it can be hard to know how to get started. Do you keep knocking on the doors of translation agencies, only to find they don’t need you / pay you too little / only want someone with experience. Or do you try and approach potential clients directly?

If this was a multiple choice question, the best (or least worse) answer is “all of the above!”

No-one ever suggested that starting your own business would be easy, and starting a translation business is no different than any other. You do have to have perseverance and try whatever means available to get your foot n the ladder. The existence of the Internet is a double edged sword. Because of it you can market yourself nationally, globally even, but so can every other freelance translator hoping to get a foot in the door.

You’ve got plenty of time, so use it!

The good thing about not having much work at the start is that it does give you plenty of time to look around and market yourself. As far as getting work with a professional translation agency, for instance, there is nothing wrong with going to talk to the agency boss in person. What have you got to lose?

They may say that they have enough French / Japanese / Spanish translators already but there will come a time when their own translators are gin got go on holiday / have babies / have time off through sickness / move on and work for themselves. And then who is the agency going to ask to do a job for them?

Be selective about the agencies you contact

As a beginner, you could work your way through the translation agencies one at a time, but if you have already been translating for a while and have found work harder to come by, you could do a little research to narrow down the agencies that suit you better / are likely to have more consistent work / pay better rates. Check out the reviews of the agencies and find those that consistently get the better reviews.

Let potential clients know just what translation can do for them

Use a different approach when marketing yourself to a client directly. They will want to know why using a translator will benefit them and it will be your job tell them. These businesses and organisations are not interested in how you do the translation work, what gizmos or software you use or how fast you can translate documents. They want to know that they can understand more of what their potential customers want and how they can market their products to make more profit.

Why a Return on Your Translation Investment is Important?

Translation may be something that is an essential part of communication or it may be needed whenever a document is required for a government agency, an employer or business. For example, if a business wants to set up a local agency in another country it is likely that there will be a lot of documentation required. Assuming that the agency will be located in a country where the language is different, the documentation must be translated to the standards required in that country.

To take another example, the Australian government requires all supporting documents for visa applications that are not in English to be translated professionally by an approved translator. The translator must be a NAATI accredited translator (NAATI stands for the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters).

In both these cases, the translation is a must. There is no way round translating the documents required. Not all translation is like that. Take a business that makes some kind of new gadget. It wants to sell as many of its products as it can. If possible, it would be great if it could sell as many of its gadgets all over the world. However, the business knows that it won’t sell anything unless potential customers know what is being sold and why they should buy it. It will have to make a significant investment, not just in its main marketing infrastructure, which these days, will probably mean an effective website but it will have to pay out for effective marketing translation as well.

Like any investment, it will want to make an acceptable return on it. It’s not like the man or woman who intends to migrate to Australia. They have no choice about whether they translate their birth certificates, marriage certificates, qualifications and employment record. The “investment” is fixed. The business on the other hand has a choice about what it spends on any of its marketing, which includes what it decides to spend on translation.

The return on investment may not be obvious for several months or even years, by which time the money has already been spent. There is no hard and fast answer to whether the return on the investment made will justify spending on the investment in the first place. That’s part of smart business planning. The business that is trying to sell its gizmo, for instance, may want to do some serious consumer research to find out where the gizmo is likely to be in demand. There may be cultural peculiarities that preclude its acceptance in certain communities. If that is the case then there is no point in trying to sell it there and that means that translating information about the product in the local language there is not recommended from a return on investment (ROI) point of view.