We are more than happy to announce the winner of February 2020 edition of our Translator of the Month action
Translators are the driving force behind every translation company’s success. This initiative is our way to way to say thank you! and recognize the efforts of the industry professionals.
We would like to introduce you to Matthew Schlecht, one of our most trusted patent translators, translating from: Japanese, German, French and Spanish into English, with an extensive knowledge and experience in the research field.
Hi Matthew, thank you for finding some time to answer our questions 🙂 Let’s start!
What do you start your work day with?
Upon waking, I scan my email inbox to see if any critical overnight emergencies have developed. Then, I usually start out with a two-mile vigorous early morning walk unless the weather is terrible. After the walk, I settle down with a big mug of coffee and process the merely important incoming overnight email before starting the day’s work.
Do you have a fixed schedule for work, or do you usually finish your day when your work allows you to?
I work through the morning until midday and then stop for lunch. If the schedule is tight, I get right back to work, but on a normal day I take some time to do errands and chores, and work in the garden in season, to clear my head. Then I get back to work. If I can finish up the day’s schedule by early evening I’ll stop then. If not, I continue until I finish up whatever work must go out by the next morning.
It is often said that translation is an underrated job. Do you think that people understand and value this profession or are there any misconceptions?
Although some end clients have an appreciation for the value that a translator can add, I think that many have little idea of what is involved in the translation process, or over how great a range quality can vary, and they consider translation to be a commodity. These latter clients seem to believe that high quality is still available even when budgets are driven down. Most agency project managers have a much better appreciation of how the translation process should work properly, but they too frequently have an uphill battle conveying this appreciation to the end clients.
What do you think are the greatest challenges of the translation industry nowadays?
I can summarize the challenges in terms of two drivers: faster turnaround and downwards pressures on rates. The two together are incompatible with the expectation of a professional-grade, quality translation product. Machine translation is addressing these challenges to an extent, while at the same time defining a new role for the translator as the “final out” person, the one who ensures that all aspects of the product (the translation) are of suitable and deliverable quality.
What do you enjoy most about working with SeproTec?
First, foremost, and always the project managers! They understand the translation process, and appreciate how to collaborate productively with their translators and editors. They take most of the heat from the end clients, while still treating their translators and editors with respect. The projects are also quite interesting, and the PMs realize the importance of a good fit between the translator/editor and subject matter.
What advice would you give to beginner translators?
One tip would be to focus on one or a few areas of expertise, and not to adopt the generalist or factotum translator model, which I believe has a poor future. Another is to become comfortable with machine translation, because it is not going away. There are few subject matter areas and language pairs where MT isn’t making major inroads, and those few will diminish as time goes on. One more, and perhaps the most important, is to develop good relationships with your PMs; to deal with them honestly, professionally, and with respect. This sort of investment will always pay dividends, whether in your current dealings or at some future date when you get a referral or are brought along when a PM changes positions. Become the “go to” person in your areas of expertise and language pairs, maintain high quality, and you will rarely want for work.
Thank you so much, Matthew! It’s a great honour to have you among the team of our translators. And… enjoy your SeproHoodie!