COLUMNS

Managing Employees as an HR Expert

by Terena Bell

Who are the people who make interpreting happen? Ask people on the street — or in our own industry, even — and the first response you’ll get likely would be interpreters. But the answer doesn’t end there. From scheduling managers to quality assurance, linguistically, an entire team backs each interpreter, handling the language and logistical needs that get that professional on the line. So what about all those other people? From marketers to office managers, interpreting companies are filled with monolingual and multilingual professionals who make the industry go.

In this issue’s edition of “Behind the Scenes,” a MultiLingual column profiling these very essential folks, meet Elizabeth Garvin, director of human resources (HR) for Portland, Oregon-based interpreting giant Certified Languages International (CLI).

AI and Technology in Healthcare

by Christophe Djaouani

The previous edition of “Rules of the Trade” examined the role of patient centricity in clinical trials. I’d like to flip the coin and delve further into the growing role of AI and technology in healthcare.

One element that will drive the success of all up-and-coming developments in healthcare is the involvement of the language industry — it has a lot to offer to the healthcare sector by way of technology to speed up and enhance many of the processes where language is involved (hint: everywhere). This unrealized potential is on its way, especially with the events of the past 12 months resulting in the rapid shift towards digital in all industries. Adoption of AI and technol-ogy is understandably accelerating.

Metrics, what are they good for? Absolutely…nothing?

by John Tinsley

Edwin Starr’s 1970 Number 1 hit “War” repeatedly asks the question, “War, what is it good for?” and the response is always “nothing.” You could ask the same question of many things — garlic crushers, Roombas, automatic evaluation metrics for machine translation (MT) — apply the same answer, and have the majority of people agree with you.

There has been a lot written about evaluation metrics and BLEU scores, and indeed this column is now another to add to the pile. However, maybe this one can serve to draw somewhat of a line under the topic. That would be a fine thing! What it will hopefully do, at least, is act as a reasonable go-to guide to explain what metrics are out there, what exactly they do, how they differ, and offer some light at the end of the tunnel of alternatives.

The Connective Multilingual Internet

by John Yunker

If the past year has taught us anything, it is how connected the world is, for better and for worse. In only a few short months, a virus encircled the planet, shutting down nearly every border along the way.

The internet proved a lifeline for millions of individuals and businesses, crossing borders and pushing ecommerce to levels never before seen. It’s not only Amazon that benefited; Shopify merchants processed nearly $120 billion in 2020, an increase of 96% from the year before. The pandemic has proven how critical websites (and mobile apps) are in keeping the world connected. But there is one barrier to global business that still remains — the language barrier.