Tag: Zoom

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Looking back at NTIF 2020

Language Industry News and Events

Few of us expected 2020 to be the most topsy-turvy year of our lifetime. Multiple vaccines now march toward emergency approval, but the end date of restricted socializing and mandatory home office is unknown. 

It is easy to think that we are no more future-fit today than we were when COVID-19 first stole headlines a year ago. And it would only be natural for those of us in the translation industry to raise a white flag of surrender in the face of such uncertainty — especially as we look toward continued Zoom calls and socially-distanced events rather than the in-person conferences that have connected the industry.  

However, NTIF 2020, held November 17 via the Remo platform, rejected this premise. The event drew 140 participants from 20 countries. As the second wave of the pandemic reached its crest, NTIF’s keynote speakers not only showed us how to reframe our thinking to succeed in this turbulent market, but proved that many of us are already implementing these best practices… and reaping the benefits.

Futurologist Magnus Lindkvist offered six imperatives for how to thrive in the face of a future that escapes our comprehension at every turn. He argued that the tendency for businesses and the media to be out of sync with reality explains our failure to be prepared for this moment. The remedy, he said, is to re-conceptualize the future, which starts with changing its part of speech. It may no longer be a noun. We need “to future.”

Here’s how Lindkvist suggests we start:

  1. Look elsewhere
  2. X-periment
  3. Be a loser
  4. Have an open relationship with the rules
  5. Seek creative friction
  6. Survive three sorrows

The post-presentation discussion revealed a startling reality: while many of us struggle acutely with one or two of these points, we are already implementing most of them on the job every day. We are by now used to looking elsewhere for a creative solution to a unique problem. We eagerly seek healthy creative friction from our colleagues, and who has not survived three sorrows in 2020 alone? Lindkvist reminded participants that of all the skills in our pandemic-survival toolbox, these six are the most urgently needed now, and we were grateful for the reminder.

For her keynote address, marketing specialist Annsi Krol seamlessly used technology to get attendees’ thoughts on that same technology’s ever-expanding presence in our home offices, and suggested ways to preserve the human element in the midst of a virtual work life. She used the instant-messaging function available with the Remo event platform to tally a quick estimate of the number of sales representatives in attendance. With the Slido polling platform, she generated real-time survey results in response to opinion questions about working from home, virtual meetings, and camera etiquette (Bad news for our shy readers: The overwhelming majority of respondents prefers that all participants in virtual meetings have their cameras on).

After putting forward a few tips for making socially-distanced Zoom meetings personal and engaging, she opened the floor once again for participants to share their own ideas. The combined list was inspiring: 

  • Have each participant in a meeting contribute one business question and one fun off-topic question
  • Use this opportunity to make meetings more structured and efficient
  • Explore new target groups that you couldn’t explore when face-to-face meetings were the norm
  • Expand the virtual to include the personal — the chat board lit up with interest and enthusiasm when one attendee announced her plan to organize a virtual wine tasting as her company’s Christmas party

Krol’s effortless integration of the various virtual communication tools boldly underscored the consensus that emerged later in private discussions: many of us have already found ways to keep meetings collaborative and dynamic, and anyone who was scratching their heads before NTIF now have a goody bag full of ready-to-go tricks to spice up their next stand-up.

Magnus Lindkvist equipped us with a roadmap to navigate the great unknown. Annsi Krol showed us how to stick together despite the miles and monitor screens between us. In the networking discussions, participants emboldened each other to face the current Covid climate with courage. And we all realized that we are far better at “futuring” than we thought.

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Jake Baskin is an editor and proofreader at wordinc GmbH.

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Welsh Language Re-included in Council during Pandemic

Multimedia Translation

After facing criticism, the city council in Denbighshire, Wales will now allow Zoom in council meetings to better serve Welsh language speakers with simultaneous translation in meetings.

After failing to provide Welsh interpretation services for meetings throughout the pandemic, a city council in Wales has set plans to reincorporate Welsh translation into future meetings. At the onset of the pandemic, an issue arose around security issues with Zoom, driving the council to use a system that does not support simultaneous translation for meetings. However, the exclusion of Welsh language services drew criticism.

Cllr Mabon ap Gwynfor, chair of the Welsh Language Steering committee on Denbighshire council, commented in a letter to fellow members that language is not a “nicety that could be put aside.” He acknowledged in the letter the unprecedented nature of the pandemic but added that the situation proved Welsh was “not a key consideration” for the council.

“We’ve not had any Welsh translation in any of our meetings since lockdown,” he said. “Other councils have held meetings with translation for many months because, when they looked at the technology and planned for meetings, it was an essential requirement.”

A Denbighshire council spokesman said that due to concerns about security, the meetings had used the in-house video conferencing platform, which lacks the capacity to provide Welsh translation. However, with the many security improvements on Zoom, along with the app’s simultaneous translation capabilities, the council would employ Zoom for all future council meetings.

“The council is integrating Zoom with its existing council chamber conferencing system, which includes simultaneous interpretation and webcasting,” the spokesman said. “Denbighshire’s solution will provide a permanent bilingual, hybrid meeting system that will meet the Welsh Government’s expected legislative changes next year. It is anticipated that the hybrid meetings installation will have been completed in early October and subject to satisfactory testing may be available for conducting bilingual public meetings later in the month.”

Hybrid meetings, where some members attend via video conferencing software and others in person in the council chamber, are currently only legal due to emergency legislation brought in because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many councils are now preparing for a permanent change in legislation next year, which would see local authorities able to hold hybrid gatherings. Some councils believe the move will boost attendance at meetings and increase engagement with the public.

“It seems that here in Denbighshire it was felt that it was either not a consideration when planning for meetings or was deemed nonessential,” said Cllr ap Gwynfor, adding that he is “far more comfortable” expressing himself in Welsh, which is also the first language of his wife and four children too. He added, “It’s the language I dream in, I think in, and live my life through. It’s not acceptable that our language has been dismissed.”

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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Translation Services Revitalized in Long Beach City Council

Language in the News

Mirroring a nationwide and global calls for language services, Long Beach resident demands for renewed interpreting services come as COVID-19 exposes major flaws in city member access to information about policy implementation in the city.

After demands from the public, a southern California community will again offer language translation and interpretation for public hearings. Last week, the Long Beach City Clerk’s office announced that the city will make interpretation services available again. Community members taking advantage of interpreting service feeds are required to request them 24 hours in advance.

Up until March, the city was offering services in Spanish, Khmer, and Tagalog. However, a combination of the COVID-19 shutdown and software issues put restraints on the city’s capacity to support these services. Furthermore, budget constraints have kept the city from providing the services on a regular basis.

The city currently uses WebEx to broadcast council meetings. Although WebEx announced earlier this year that it would provide new language interpretation, closed captioning, and transcription services, the Long Beach Council runs its interpreting services through Zoom on separate feeds.

The lack of translation and interpreting services has had negative implications on how the council implemented important citywide policies, including an eviction moratorium, a rental assistance program, and an inclusionary housing policy.

Adding to the confusion during the first few months of the pandemic, the city required members of the public to communicate opinions or concerns through an e-comment portal or email, stopping phone-in services. Phone-in services resumed in June for up to 20 people per item, but a difficult and sometimes high-demand sign-up process has only added to language barriers.

Responding to the call for better access to city council meetings, Mayor Robert Garcia suggested the city set aside $200,000 for language services.

 

 

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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