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CITLoB Elects 2020-2022 National Governing Body

Language Industry News and Events

In a statement, CITLoB president Sandeep Nulkar outlined the new body’s mission to meet the unprecedented demand for Indic language services and cultivate global partnerships.

The Indian association of language services companies, Confederation of Interpreting, Translation and Localization Businesses (CITLoB) recently elected its new National Governing Body for the 2020-2022 term.

The newly elected body will begin the term during a time of unprecedented demand for content in Indian languages and proactive government policies to build and nurture a progressive Indic language and language technology ecosystem. We asked president of CITLoB Sandeep Nulkar how the association will address the shifting landscape.

“Our top priority right now is to bring global best practice to India so that the industry can mature quickly and become capable of meeting the unprecedented demand,” said Nulkar.

CITLoB

The new governing body at CITLoB.

The new body aims to work toward consolidating what has, thus far, been a largely fragmented and unorganized industry. CITLoB has already been rolling out events and initiatives to get language professionals and language services companies ready to meet the demands of an increasingly inclusive and vernacular internet for every Indian. This week, CITLoB will hold a free webinar called “Data Science – What’s in it for LSPs and language technology companies,” which you can sign up for here.

Flyer for the webinar to be held on Nov. 12 at 9AM EST

CITLoB has been receiving increasing attention in the global community and has already signed a partnership agreement with the European’s Union’s official language industry body, the European Union’s Associations of Translation Companies (EUATC) and has a partner arrangement with the US-based global association Globalization and Localization Association (GALA).

“We want to ensure global and national partnerships with like-minded bodies to enhance the visibility of the Indian market, while also facilitating the market entry of members of partner bodies in an environment of trust,” said Nulkar.

CITLoB’s National Governing Body for 2020-2022:

Sandeep Nulkar (President)
BITS Private Limited

M. Sudheen (Zonal Vice President – North)
Crystal Hues Limited

Senthil Nathan (Zonal Vice President – South)
Langscape Language Solutions

Binod Ringania (Zonal Vice President – East)
Transoplanet

Sunil Kulkarni (Zonal Vice President – West)
Fidel Softech Private Limited

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Lionbridge AI Unit Acquired by Canadian Telecom

Language Industry News and Events, Mergers and Acquisitions

TELUS International, a digital customer experience division of Canadian telecom giant TELUS, agreed to acquire Lionbridge AI, the crowd-based training data and annotation platform used to power machine learning. The acquisition will be at a purchase price of approximately C$1.2 billion (approximately US$935 million) and should be completed by the end of December 2020.

Lionbridge AI and Appen are the two largest training data and data annotation services providers in the world. Lionbridge AI annotates data in text, images, videos, and audio in more than 300 languages and dialects for some of the world’s largest technology companies in social media, search, retail, and mobile. Based in Waltham, Massachusetts, Lionbridge AI has more than 750 employees working from countries around the world, including in the US, Ireland, Finland, India, UK, Japan, Denmark, Costa Rica, and South Korea. Lionbridge AI works with a community of 30,000-50,000 global crowd contributors deployed at any one point in time.

Lionbridge AI has demonstrated strong financial growth, reporting 2019 revenue of approximately US$ 200 million. According to our sources, the company reported US$ 175 million in revenue in the first three quarters of 2020, showing growth even with the effects of the COVID pandemic.

This transaction highlights the continuous M&A activity in the translation and localization industry, and will affect the rankings of translation companies by bringing the overall revenue for Lionbridge to the half-billion US dollar range.

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GALA Announces Candidates for Upcoming Board Election

Language Industry News and Events

The election features 18 candidates from several corners of the industry all making their case to fill the four open positions to the GALA board of directors.

The election season continues, but this time for the members of the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA). The global, non-profit trade association for the language industry issued a call for candidates in September, and the election will begin on November 18 and close on December 3.

The elections are held annually, and terms last for two years, from January 1 of the first year to December 31 the following year. Members of the board may serve no more than two consecutive terms.

The Board of Directors at GALA consists of seven individuals. Directors are elected in alternating years — with three directors elected one year and four the following year. This year, they will choose four candidates from a pool of 18.

The Board includes four required officers: Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Directors vote amongst themselves in January to determine the three remaining positions, according to the association’s needs at that time.

Last year’s Board included Pedro Gomez at Chairperson (Microsoft principal program manager), Marie Flacassier at Vice Chairperson (Beatbabel CEO), Patrick Nunes at Secretary (director of Global Communications & Design at Rotary International), Kåre Lindahl at Treasurer (CEO of Venga Global), María Jesús de Arriba Díaz at Program Committee Liaison (director of strategic accounts at Vistatec), Alessandra Binazzi at Marketing (localization management consultant at Alessandra Binazzi Consulting), Balázs Kis at TAPICC Liason (co-founder and chairman of the board at memoQ Translation Technologies).

Three current Board Members — Alessandra Binazzi, Marie Flacassier, and Balázs Kis — are seeking re-election, while Pedro Gomez will complete his second term next month. Among the remaining candidates for the Board, there is a broad representation of individuals with years of experience around the localization industry and academia.

All candidates were asked to respond to the following prompts to state their cases for one of the open positions on the board: describe how you are qualified to address strategy for GALA; and what skills, resources, connections, and expertise will you bring to GALA?

Some highlighted their broad experience and networks in the localization industry, while others highlighted their generational experience operating family-run LSPs, and some others reflected deep knowledge in linguistics and international exchange. The answers reveal valuable insights about the variety of paths that make up the localization industry.

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Lilt Hosts Successful Virtual Conference

Language Industry News and Events

Lilt, an AI-powered enterprise translation company, held its first Lilt Ascend virtual conference yesterday, October 22. The theme was localizing at scale in a digital world, a topic that underscores the challenge companies face as the volume of digital content continues to grow exponentially while the pool of linguistic talent remains constant.

The conference came right on the heels of Lilt becoming the first ever Diamond sponsor of the Women in Localization organization, which was announced earlier this week. And indeed, advancing the role of women in the industry was a recurring theme throughout the day’s sessions. The conference kicked off with a keynote speech by Lilt’s chief evangelist, Paula Shannon, who emphasized the benefits of finding a mentor and filling in gaps in financial literacy to those seeking more senior roles in the industry.

Following the introductions, Lilt’s CEO Spence Green gave a presentation on how Lilt is helping enterprises address the challenge of localizing digital content at scale. For those whose first introduction to Lilt was through their adaptive MT-enabled Translator Workbench, it was informative to hear about improvements in translation and review workflows. These include a Neural AutoReview feature that provides reviewers with context-based stylistic suggestions for text improvements. Green also announced several other new and improved services, including connectors to leading TMS solutions, an on-prem private cloud deployment option, and improved data modeling via Lilt Insights.

The conference was a well-balanced mix of product updates and demos, conversations with industry thought leaders on how they’ve driven digital transformation, and presentations on AI that ranged from the technical to the practical. Speakers from Intel, Aisics Digital, and Canva took the audience through challenges they faced scaling their localization programs, and how Lilt has helped them achieve the efficiency gains needed to keep up with their global customers. 

Lilt Ascend was hosted on Hopin, an interactive online event platform. As anyone who has attended virtual conferences in this brave new world knows, the platform can make or break an event. Hopin did not disappoint. Though there were a few minor delays lining up speakers for Q&A portions, the audiovisual quality was excellent and the UX was quite intuitive. The networking function also worked well, setting up participants with one-on-one sessions lasting 15 minutes each. Overall, it was a solid solution that any event organizer would be remiss not to consider.

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CATTI Announces International Linguist Accreditation Test

Language Industry News and Events

Planned for the end of the year, the first CATTI International test will allow translators and interpreters to test in a remote, online setting, or at appropriate test centers.

The CATTI Project Management Center of China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration recently announced that CATTI International would be launched on Dec. 20, 2020. As an extension of CATTI Level 3, CATTI International will be open to candidates worldwide. The test is mainly focused on testing the translation and interpretation abilities of general translators and interpreters, those doing business related to China as well as personnel engaged in the practice of using foreign languages. The test will be managed using an international model and operated in a market-oriented way.

The CATTI aims to measure competence in translation and interpreting — including simultaneous and consecutive interpreting — between Chinese and seven foreign languages: English, Japanese, French, Arabic, Russian, German, or Spanish. The test is intended to cover a wide range of domains including business, government, academia, and media, though it is not designed to assess literary translation.

According to reports, CATTI International will have both overseas and domestic versions. At the end of 2020, the overseas version will be first launched for foreigners and Chinese studying or working overseas, while the domestic version of the test is expected to be launched in the first half of 2021. Mock tests held over recent days, with the participation of more than 2,000 people from over 50 universities and international schools, have achieved satisfactory results, laying a solid foundation for further improvements of the examination.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in mind, organizers have taken several measures to ensure the health of candidates. First, Chinese citizens who study, work, or live abroad but must stay in China temporarily due to the pandemic can apply for the test by providing necessary certificates. Second, the test at the end of this year will be held online and taken at home. For those who have difficulties taking the online test remotely, the exam can be taken at test centers subject to the local pandemic prevention and control policies.

Authoritative experts, professors, and scholars have been engaged in test designing, outline reviewing, test question setting and assessing, and textbook compiling to ensure the validity and authority of the test.

Those involve include Chen Mingming, associate director of CATTI English Expert Committee; Qiu Ming, associate director of CATTI Japanese Expert Committee; Wang Weimin, professor of translation, member of CATTI English Expert Committee, and member of National Senior Professional Titles (T&I) Evaluation Committee; Jin Yan, professor from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and director of CET Committee; Yan Ming, professor from Heilongjiang University; Li Chunji, professor from Dalian University of Foreign Languages; Li Ming, professor from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies; Ouyang Qian, professor from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies; and other well-known experts in translation, interpretation, and language assessment.

Moreover, several professional language teams from universities of foreign studies will join, including NATTI from Australia, Sydney Institute of Interpreting and Translating, Macquarie University, Han Culture Centre of Malaysia, Canada Education Group, European Research and Development Fund for Chinese Language, Xi’an Research Institute of Blockchain.

The CATTI test battery is divided into four levels of Senior, I, II, and III, from highest to lowest. The total test time for translation proficiency is 120 minutes; for interpreting proficiency, 60 minutes; for translation practice, 180 minutes; for interpreting practice at Levels I and II, 60 minutes; and for interpreting practice at Level III, 30 minutes.

Test registration will open to candidates all over the world on Oct. 20, 2020. Users can register at the official website (www.catticenter.com). The test will be held on Dec. 20, 2020, including two sessions in the Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere.

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UN Translators Describe Remote Work during COVID-19

Language Industry News and Events

Remote work in 2020 is difficult for any profession. How have UN translators and translation teams managed during the transition?

United Nations translation teams received a spotlight from the Department of Global Communications this week to shed some light about they have transitioned to remote work and sustained an efficient workflow since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the shutdowns abruptly curtailed on-site activities at Headquarters and other UN premises, the translation services of the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM) transitioned to remote working almost seamlessly, although not without ongoing difficulties.

“Several factors enabled us to transition so easily, not least our commitment to remaining at the forefront of language technologies and developing in-house our own suite of high-performance web-based tools,” says Oxana Sobkovich from the Russian Translation Service. “DGACM had already implemented a fully electronic workflow and built a set of sophisticated computer-assisted translation and editing applications, such as eLUNa and UNTERM, to support the production of multilingual documentation. In addition, we had just reorganized all the translation services’ online resource libraries at the end of 2019 and started working with Sharepoint and Teams.”

With strategic activities like recruitment online, the translation services held the first part of their sixth fully remote online competitive examination, this time for Spanish translators, editors, and verbatim reporters, on July 7 with over 1,400 test takers. On April 1, The Documentation Division (DD) also launched a new online training platform, The SPOT (self-paced online training), which contains over 500 learning activities. The project will be extended to other areas of DGACM and duty stations in the next phase.

Likewise, the gText suite of translation, editing, and terminology tools have proved invaluable, with other departments and even other UN entities requesting use. In April, staff from the Department of Global Communications, as well as interpreters and verbatim reporters from the Meetings and Publishing Division were set up with the tools. The World Health Organization soon after followed suit, as the latest organization to join the group of UN entities that have adopted eLUNa and UNTERM as their translation and terminology solutions.

Despite the smooth transition made possible by new practices and software, much of the DD staff realized major technological gaps between their homes and workplace. Staff who were assigned laptops by OICT had to visit the Secretariat Building to collect them at scheduled times for health and safety reasons. The necessary software applications were then installed remotely with the Business Analysis Section of DGACM and OICT support.

Besides obtaining the necessary tools to complete their responsibilities, many Finding sufficient quiet time was a challenge for many. For some, sharing a workspace with a spouse whose job involved a lot of time in video or phone calls was a major source of stress; for others it was combining teleworking with what was effectively home schooling. Flexibility and compromise and non-standard work schedules seem to have been the best coping mechanism.

“My children were home, and having to supervise the remote learning and after-school care of a highly active 7-year-old and an 11-year old, meant that the interruptions were constant. Translation requires concentration, and I kept having to reread what I had just written and pick up my train of thought again or put off my own work until nighttime,” said Olga Begisheva of the Russian Translation Service.

Despite the turmoil in the personal lives of the editors, translators and text-processors have been able to produce the multilingual documentation on which the work of the Organization depends. “I am very proud of the dedication and commitment shown by the staff of DD,” says Cecilia Elizalde, director of the Documentation Division. “They rose to the challenge and responded with extraordinary team spirit.”

Furthermore, to address the loss of the spontaneous, in-person interactions that often lead to valuable learning moments in the work place, some services have organized regular virtual coffee gatherings, and the Division has organized a series of online lectures, covering a range of topics, from remote tours of artwork, to how COVID-19 case projections are calculated, to yoga classes. To complement the self-paced learning activities in The SPOT, small online discussion groups and workshops have also been organized to build skills and increase knowledge transfer. In this and other ways, the Division’s staff continue to innovate, build resilience, and support one another.

“We can do this, and we are willing to do this, despite the personal difficulties and even across time zones, because this is a crisis situation, but I am not sure how long working at this level and at this pace under these conditions is sustainable,” worries Frank Schramm, from the German Translation Section. “However, we pride ourselves on our professionalism, on our ability to deliver high-quality translations on time, as the United Nations and the public worldwide deserve. And knowing the UN translation services and their capacity for innovation as I do, I am sure we will find the ways and means to continue to do that.

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Dutch Linguists Respond to Ministry Contracts Changes

Language Industry News and Events

The Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security have pushed back RFPs that aim to broaden the pool of agencies. Many translators and interpreters, however, claim the changes will lower professional standards.

After months of disputes, the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security has decided to defer the request for proposals (RFP) for its new contracts for interpretation and translation work to the first quarter of 2021. Originally scheduled to put out the RFP this month, the ministry would have put out a call for tenders that would include remote interpretation services for the Dutch Police, along with interpretation services for the Judiciary and Probation Office, Council for the Protection of Minors, Dutch Council for Refugees, Nidos (for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers), Immigration and Naturalization Service, Central Reception of Asylum Seekers, and the Repatriation and Departure Service.

The notice also stated that the Justice Ministry is “working on a renewed system for the quality, use, and procurement” of language services that includes the renewal of the Register of Sworn Interpreters and Translators (Rbtv).

“By offering sufficient variety in tenders and by setting clear quality requirements related to Rbtv in all tenders, we aim to attract a wide range of tenderers,” the Ministry said.

The Ministry had also planned to publish at least a dozen subsequent tenders “consecutively or simultaneously,” for interpretation — simultaneous, remote, or face-to-face — or translation services for the police, Legal Aid Council, Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Judiciary, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, among others.

However, after strikes from over 1,500 interpreters and translators in the Netherlands, the Ministry has decided to delay the RFP. The opposition to the new system began with a petition put out late last year, claiming that the Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, wanted “to outsource the hiring of interpreters and allow unqualified translators and agencies to bid for work” with the police, courts, and immigration services.

Roemer Leushuis, a sworn translator from the petitioning group who has also gone on strike, stated that he and others are on strike because “the work only consists of very small parcels (individual assignments). So, legally, there is no obligation to publish a tender. In Germany, for example, the authorities outsource per assignment. In the Netherlands, too, we want it to keep it that way.”

Leushuis wrote in a column that, on June 16, 2020, “MPs rejected a final attempt to stop” Minister Grapperhaus from pushing through with his two proposals. “One concerned the introduction of commercial intermediaries for all government interpretation and translation work. The other focused on reducing the language skill level for certified interpreters and translators.”

Nevertheless, the Dutch Ministry has gone forward with its shift in standards, lowering the certification requirement from C1 to B2-level. The Rbtv also contracts first B2 interpreters, but mostly for low-resource languages, such as Amharic, Albanian, Azerbeidjani, Farsi. Leushuis wrote, “The justice department has decided to deal with the relative scarcity [of linguists] by lowering the professional standards. That is not a wise decision. The B2 language level which would be required is about that of a secondary school pupil, and not nearly enough to do the job properly.”

In response to the changes, many of the translators and interpreters involved in the strike have plans to form “a new professional body to protect the interests of Dutch professionals. This organization will shortly come into existence,” according to Leushuis. Asked how the new group would be different from the currently existing NGTV (Netherlands Association of Interpreters and Translators), Leushuis replied, “It will be different from NGTV in the sense that it will be representing primarily certified T&Is — and I expect it will take a tougher stance against the Ministry of Justice.”

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