Becoming a Tech-Savvy Translator & Interpreter in the Digital Age

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Becoming a Tech-Savvy Translator & Interpreter in the Digital Age

I believe that learning technology is equivalent to learning another language. Technology in itself is a whole separate language that we need to learn in order to perform in the digital age. 

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Lets suppose we are language interpreters in the language combination English to French. If we were to become ASL interpreters in that language combination, we would first have to fully learn American Sing Language. But that is not enough, because we would need to learn the difference with the French Sign Language. Same with Technology. We need to learn the skills as if we were learning ASL plus FSL techniques.

We need not only learn about the technology but, more important than that, we need to PRACTICE with it to acquire the skills needed to WORK with technology. That takes time and money and we need to be ready and available to make that investment. Technology is no longer an option, it is a requirement of the Digital Age, at least in the world of business.

SlideShare deck Tech-savvy transinterpreter

In the past 20 years, the world became interconnected, creating the need to deliver content in multiple languages at all points of contact. Digital technologies caused tectonic changes in the language services industry, impacting translators and interpreters, who now need to revamp their knowledge/abilities to remain relevant in the Digital Age. They need to “upgrade” their skills and become tech savvy. 

There is a need for change. Mostly a change in understanding and subsequent behavior, which are the most difficult of changes. Behavior on the part of translators and interpreters in regards to the future of the industry.
Translators and interpreters need to start investing time and money to “update their skills” and so become an integral part of this evolving industry. We have been severed from the most important conversations about our own future. Many of us are afraid of the new technologies because there is yet no clear answer to the question “what’s in it for me?”. We need to become part of the equation going forward. If translators and interpreters do not learn –quickly and swiftly– to use 21st century technologies, we may not survive as a viable profession. 

Becoming a tech-savvy translator and interpreter is the most efficient way to tap into a short-term opportunity to transform current knowledge and experience into useful and valuable skills that may help fuel a new generation of translators and interpreters that respond to the new challenges faced by the Digital Age.
Many translators and interpreters have lost sight of the changes occurred in the “means of production” of the goods and services we deliver. In a world of increased competition and decreasing margins of profit, translators and interpreters need to understand the investments (in time AND money) they need to make in software, training and processes to catch up to the demand for multilingual content, “immediately”. 

Translators and interpreters need to stop being suspicious of innovations in the language industry. We humans are frightened by that which we do not understand. And freelancer jobs are now threatened by forces not readily understood. Our primeval response is to either fight or flee, instead of understanding, staying, and growing. The ongoing democratization of multilingual content (the fact that I click a key and have access to content in my language of preference) has created huge expectations that such multilingual instant content will be available at all points of contact. 

Translators and interpreters need to adapt quickly to respond to the new needs and start delivering content using the means of production and communication of the 21st Century. 

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