Meet our Team (IV). Jenny Bos, Translator

In this interview, we go back to our office in The Netherlands to learn more about one of our in-house translators, Jenny Bos.

Jenny BosWhat did you study to become?

I studied English Language and Culture in Groningen, and specifically English linguistics, at the University of Groningen.

How many languages do you know and what languages do you translate from and to?

I know about five languages (some more than others), but I mainly translate from English into Dutch. The standard rule for translating is to translate into your own native language, since that is the language you’re most fluent in, and I guess English source texts are most frequently offered for translation, at least for us at Jensen Localization. 

What tasks do you usually do?

I mainly translate texts, but I also review and edit translations done by others. Besides that, I do some related tasks such as translation memory editing or text formatting.

How different is it working as an in-house translator as oppose to freelance translators?

As in in-house translator I do not get to ‘choose’ which kinds of jobs I do, I basically have to take on all the jobs that the project managers offer me. Perhaps a freelance translator has a little more influence on which projects they like and want to accept, and which they would rather not do. But on the other hand I get to do more major projects that have highest priority, since the project managers maybe know better what my specific qualities are. And they know where to find me in case I did a bad job on a translation. :)

What are the pros and cons about working in the translation industry?

What I personally find a pro is that we get to know about new products first. For example, I have been working on the Dutch translation for a smartphone (I cannot mention the brand name due to confidentiality reasons) for a couple of years now, and I am very exited I get to learn about new features of that device as one of the first people in the world. A big con for me would be that people may not always understand the importance of a good translation, and they may not understand why I do this work, or why I even like it. Also, I do worry about the new trend of using more machine translations, replacing the work done by actual translators. I am not sure machine translations result in the same quality as manual translations, and it feels like people do not appreciate the work translators do and its importance.

Being a translator, do you tend to notice translations and mistakes when you don’t work?

Definitely. I like going to the cinema to watch a movie (which in The Netherlands have subtitles), and I do notice incorrect translations straight away. I kind of hate myself for this, since it means I cannot just sit and enjoy a film without getting distracted by mistakes or ‘awkward’ translations. The same really goes for reading a book. Once I have noticed it has been translated too literally or too awkwardly I find it difficult to keep reading.

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

As I mentioned I really like going to the movies, and I watch a lot of television series (Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, etc.) or listen to music. I also like riding my bicycle or going for a run, just to be outside and enjoy the fresh air.

What advice would you give new translators just out of school?

I would mostly advise them to try to get lots of experience translating within the actual business. I did take some translation classes in university, but I found working in a translation company is quite different. I do not as much spend days or even weeks on end just translating one book or text, as we did in class, but rather do many different types of translations each day. On one day I may work on multiple different subjects, ranging from marketing to a technical manual for a medical device to a legal text, etc.

Would you like to become a project manager? What would the pros and cons be?

I actually started my career in the translation business working as a project manager for about two years. But I found it was not really my cup of tea, and I much more enjoy doing the actual translating. I really like getting my head around a difficult text and trying to solve the puzzle of finding a nice, fluent translation, much more so than juggling with emails from clients and translators.

Do you think machine translation will ever replace JL’s services?

I do not think machine translations will ever replace the work done by translators and I think a human translator/reviewer will always be needed. I think machine translations may be good for generic texts where you have many similar, repetitive sentences, but for example for marketing texts you will always need a manual translation for a more custom tailored translation. And I’d like to think a manual translation will still always result in the best quality.

If you couldn’t become a translator, what would you have wanted to become?

I always wanted to be a meteorologist actually, working on weather data or even studying subjects such as global warming. But then I chose to study English instead, because I was afraid the physics and mathematics would be too hard.

 What types of translations do you prefer working with?

I like the really challenging texts best of all. I did a rather challenging text on dental implants a while back, for instance, and that needed a lot of investigation on the different procedures involved in creating the implants. I was a lot of work and it got really frustrating at times, but it was also really fun to do. Besides that, I also like projects where I am involved in the entire process, starting off working on a new product and then updating and fine-tuning the translations all the way to the end. I have been working for a while now on the translations for smartphones software, and that was especially fun since I got to really start from scratch rather than updating an existing translation.

What kind of translation do you like to work with the least?

As an in-house translator we also get to do small updates of a few words on an existing translation. So for example a product manual has already been translated before, but now that product has a new feature and we just need to add two or three sentences to that manual. And doing reviews is not really much fun.

What is the funniest/craziest translation you have ever worked with?

The most fun translation for me was that of a game where you have to shoot zombies. Since of course we had to really get to know the product to be able to get the highest quality translation, we had to play that game a lot. :)

Keep reading our blog to stay updated about our staff, the translation and localization industry and other language related subjects.

Missed the good clients because of language?

You just arrived from your idyllic holidays. You enjoyed great weather, fantastic food and visited interesting cultural spots.

However, there is a bitter taste in what seemed to be a perfect holiday. You had serious trouble finding out what the chef’s speciality was, how to find the best beach in town, and not to mention how hard it was to make you understood in the bank when you wanted to see why your credit card was not allowing you to withdraw cash. As in the film, you were just Lost in Translation.

Hello in different languages

Globalization has also democratised communication issues. In all countries, and in all businesses, not only in the tourism industry, there is an increasing need for enabling communication between people from different countries. Although tools such as Google Translate can be helpful as an emergency tool used for general purposes, it is definitely not an option for those who want to get and retain good clients.

We know that quite well at Jensen Localization. Despite the crisis scenario still predominant in Europe, we have experienced an increase in the demand of translations from many different industries, not only the tourist or the localization industries, which are some of our main fields of work. We have also received new requests from energy companies and from companies in the Real Estate business, mainly in Spain, as there are many foreign companies investing in this industry or just people that want to buy a second residence in Spain, especially in the Costa del Sol and other coastal zones.

If you are a global company, your clients may have trouble to know what you can do for them if the information is not provided in their language.

Translation and interpreting services are one of the most powerful marketing tools for a global company. When you provide your clients with the information they need in their language, they will have a faster access to your products and services, there will be less complaints due to missing or wrong information and it will be easier for them to refer your company to their family and friends. Interpreters are cultural mediators, they do not only help you to know what you need to say, but also how you need to act in front of the person you are talking to. Many negotiations have not been successful due to communication issues.

Therefore, next time you think about how you are approaching your clients in foreign countries, remember how you felt on your last holidays. If you want to make sure they know what you can do for them, contact us.


Happy Holidays!

Summer is here and it is quite difficult to write good articles when temperatures are close to 40 ºC. For this reason, and before our brain melts, our blog will go on holidays; we will be back in September with more posts about the language and translation industry, and more interviews with our staff.

But this is the only thing closing on Jensen Localization! Our offices in The Netherlands and Spain are open as usual, so continue placing your orders to your allocated PM, who will deal with it at the earliest convenience.

Happy holidays!

Job opportunities for future translators

Very often, the academic world and the job world are as different as chalk and cheese. When you start working in a company, you notice that your job does not have much to do with what you experienced at university. This is why it is important that students learn, before they finish their degree, what the profession they are getting ready for is actually in the real world.

In our annual visit to the University Pablo de Olavide in Seville (Spain), we talked, as usual, about the world of translation agencies, but this time we also wanted to talk about employment opportunities for translators and keeping up to date in this business. Many future translators are not really interested in the translation world and end up working as tourist guides or language teachers.

This year it was not an exception, but we were happy to see that students were interested in other employment opportunities, such as jobs related to International Business and, what is more important for us, an increasing in their interest of becoming part of the localization industry.

20140515_105802_resizedApart from explaining the structure of a translation company and the different tasks done by each department (with a deeper focus on the PM and translation tasks, test translations and tools), we talked about the changes in the industry. There is no doubt that MT is changing the industry, but we are against those who claim that the translation profession will disappear because of MT. We think that our job as translators will simply change.

But there are other changes in the industry. Changing and demanding client needs are forcing the need of translators to become experts in many other areas apart from the linguistic ones, but which are part of the localization process, such as DTP or app and website development. Do not misunderstand me, we will not replace DTPers or web developers around the world, but it is true that the technical side of the localization profession is becoming more and more important in order to provide a good quality translation. After all, we are all part of the same team with a common goal: delivering a final product tailored to the local needs of a specific market.

Students are also concerned about how to get practice as a translator, as usually companies ask future employees and freelance collaborators to have at least 2 years of experience as a translator. We suggested to work with local or international NGOs, and also mentioned Translators Without Borders, which make translations for humanitarian causes. I am sure many of you have heard of them, otherwise please click on the link to learn more about the great job they are doing. Collaborating as editors for other professionals (bloggers, communication specialists or other content creators) can also be a nice start if you want to focus your job more on editing than on actual translation, both for source documents or translated documents.

Finally, we mentioned the importance of keeping up to date with courses, webinars and attendance to industry events, and the important role of social networks. As we always say, social media are not used to directly sell, but they are certainly a way to start having a name in the industry and also keeping contact with other colleagues which you may actually never see in person, but from whom you will learn much more than from the person next to you.

In all, it was nice to be back at university and we hope to come back next year. Once again, thanks to University Pablo de Olavide and to Inmaculada Serón for inviting us!

Meet our Staff (III). Cristina Romero, Project Manager at our Spanish branch

This interview is the third in our series of interviews with Jensen Localization staff members. Here you will get a closer look into our Project Manager Cristina Romero’s background and daily tasks at JL in the Spanish office.

CristinaWhat is your origin?

I was born in the Canaries, specifically in Gran Canaria island.

What did you study?

I studied Translation and Interpreting in the Canaries and then I did a Master on Translation for the Publishing World in Malaga.

Did you always want to become a PM or did it happen be coincidence?

I had always dreamt about being a vet J. I even studied science at high school, but it turned out I was good at languages and my English teacher encouraged me to attend a test at the University of Translation when I was 18. I decided to give it a try and finally declined Veterinary to start my degree in Translation and Interpreting.

How long have you been working for Jensen Localization?

2 years

Did you start working for JL right after finishing school or did you gain experience from other jobs?

I first worked at a Translation/Interpreting company in Dublin for a year (as an interpreter and then as a PM), then moved back to Spain where I worked as a language coordinator/online teacher and finally I landed in Jensen.

What are the pros and cons about being a PM?

On one hand, being a PM is an exciting job, you never have time to stop, there is always something to do, it´s nice to speak English with clients and translators, there is always a new challenge when a new project comes in. On the other hand, it´s sometimes frustrating not to be able to satisfy all clients and even receive bad feedback on your job when you´ve done everything in your hand to make it work. Sometimes we find clients and translators who are difficult to deal with.

What tasks do you usually do?

Deal with clients, negotiate deadlines, deal with translator´s queries, prepare the files for translators, assist them when they need it, prepare the files back for the client, make sure the system is updated with projects information…

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?

I go to the gym, attend dancing lessons, read. I love going to the cinema, to the beach, eat out with friends.

How many languages do you know?

Spanish (mother tongue), English, French and Italian.

What is the most important element to you when working with new clients?

When working with clients we have to be quick, effective and polite. We have to be proactive, offer our best solutions, negotiate and be diplomatic.

What advice would you give a new PM working in the same business as you?

I would recommend him/her to learn how to manage time effectively, and also to handle stress. I would recommend to deal with clients in a diplomatic way, never taking things personally. I would recommend his/her to do his/her best within the available time.

Being a PM how important is it to work in teams and communicate with other staff members?

It´s very important to work in teams, we have a lot to learn from the other PMs. Communication between PMs is basic to offer a good service to the client. We all need to be on the same page as we are working for common clients and with a common objective.

Do you communicate with the staff from the other JL department?

Yes, we talk almost daily.

Do you think machine translation will ever replace JL’s services?

I think machine translation will grow up, but it´s hard for me to believe it will replace our services as machines lack context, which is a basic for translation.

What types of projects do you prefer working with?

My ideal project would imply an interesting task within the marketing field with a good deadline, but as ideal projects don´t exist, I am just happy to work with any project allowing me to deliver quality in time.

Despite being the last one to join the PM team, Cristina’s experience has enabled her to get used to our procedures quickly. In our next interview we will talk with one of our in-house translators.