CILE: Congreso Internacional de la Lengua Española

The CILE (International Congress of Spanish Language) is a salient event about Spanish language and culture that gathers linguists, journalists, writers, translators from all around the world and all kinds of people interested in various aspects of Spanish. At this conference, topics related to the current state of affairs of Spanish language are discussed. The International Congress takes place every 3 years; and our city, Córdoba, has been chosen as the host for its eighth edition. From the 27th to the 30th of March, Córdoba will welcome many well-known figures, including the King and the Queen of Spain, who will be opening the congress together with the Argentine president Mauricio Macri. At this opening event, other famous people will be present, such as the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, and the Argentina-born poet and Portuguese translator Santiago Kovadloff.

The people and organizations that make this possible are the leading entity in Spanish vocabulary and grammar rules Real Academia Española (RAE), the Argentine Government, its Ministry of Education, the National University of Córdoba, and several other private and public institutions.

With the slogan “América y el futuro del español. Cultura y educación, tecnología y emprendimiento” (America and the Future of Spanish. Culture and Education, Technology and Entrepreneurship), the main focus will be on 5 topics: Spanish as a universal language, interculturalism, challenges of teaching Spanish in the XXI century, digital revolution, competitiveness of Spanish as a language for innovation and entrepreneurship. These 5 pillars will branch out into subtopics regarding the current position of Spanish, problems, and challenges.

Apart from the international conference, the “Festival de la Palabra” (The Word Festival) will also take place. This festival is held before and during the congress as preparation for CILE and complement of it. Through the “Festival de la Palabra”, the rich and varied art of Córdoba will be appreciated. Books will be presented, and there will be art exhibitions and entertainment, such as plays, concerts, and workshops for both adults and children. The underlying idea of it is to avoid reducing this event to just linguists and grammarians. Thus, by offering a great variety of activities from interactive games to music concerts without any cost, everybody can become involved.

CILE is a congress of paramount importance for the Spanish language as its key aim is to raise awareness of the responsibility the Government, various institutions and people have in fostering the language, bearing in mind that each language is part of cultural heritage. At Baquero Translations, we are glad to be in the city where there will be a rich exchange of ideas and hope that everybody gains a new perspective on different aspects of Spanish.

 

By: Andrea Chetti

The Role of Translation in Humanitarian Response

When it comes to world crises, translation plays a more essential role than it can be imagined. Communication between affected people and aid workers cannot be carried out properly without an accurate translation, mainly in places where the majority of citizens do not speak a lingua franca or common language. What is more, information provided by world campaigns regarding health, human rights, and environmental disasters can be misunderstood by or even seem incomprehensible to local people when it is not translated into their native language.

 

Fortunately, in the last years, there has been greater awareness of this issue, and many translators have helped individually or through official organizations. A clear example of a non-profit organization is Translators Without Borders (TWB), which works to demolish language barriers around the world. This means providing vital content in the corresponding native tongue using plain language so that a great number of people can understand it.

Some clear illustrations of how translators have contributed to humanitarian aid are mentioned below.

 

Preventive material for diseases, violation of human rights or world crises. People from minority language groups did not know much about their rights, prevention of certain diseases, nor about proper action to be taken in a natural disaster. However, nowadays, citizens in West Africa can read information about protection against Ebola issued by the World Health Organization in their native languages. These translated leaflets, videos and manuals contribute to preventing other outbreaks such as the one occurred in 2014.

 

Response material in natural disasters. When an earthquake hit Nepal in 2015, TWB quickly activated a response team of translators and editors in order to provide translated material for first aids. Translation also contributed to finding missing people and making information about relief and recovery available in Nepal’s native language.

 

Glossaries for accurate translations of key issues. These play an important role in helping interpreters, aid workers, and affected people to understand each other, standardizing concepts related to human rights and life-saving issues. For example, a Rohingya translator pointed out that, as there is no equivalent for the word “gender” in Rohingya, the expression “gender based-violence” had originally been translated as “violent women”, which conveys a totally different meaning.

 

The work of translators and editors is of paramount importance in giving a voice to vulnerable people and making life-saving information available. Baquero Translations is aware of the importance of professional translations to help various people and communities around the world.

 

By: Andrea Chetti

A Pillar of Culture: Traditional Festivals

One of the best ways to learn the culture of a country is through traditional festivals. In Argentina, there is a great variety of traditional celebrations carried out since the XIX century. Several cities in Argentina have, at least, one traditional festival, which can range from commemorating music to local drinks. Some of them are well known, such as the festival of the grape harvest in Mendoza, while others are only known and celebrated by the people who live in those regions.

In Córdoba, in the city of Jesús María, there is one main festival in January: Festival Nacional de Doma y Folklore (National Festival of Taming and Folk Music). This event consists of a horse-taming competition which, at the same time, is an entertainment. Also, it includes shows, such as concerts and traditional dances. The first celebration was held in 1966 with the aim of raising funds for schools. After half a century, this objective is still present and each year a great percentage of the profits from the festival —50% to 60%— is distributed among 20 schools.

In the west of Argentina, there is another national festival: “Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia” (National Festival of Grape Harvest). This annual celebration begins on the last Sunday of February and finishes on the first Saturday of March. It has four main events: Bendición de los frutos (Blessing of the Fruits) Vía blanca de las reinas (White Route of the Queens), Carrusel (Parade Float) and Acto central (Central Act). Bendición de los frutos marks the start of the celebration. Through this blessing, saints are thanked for the good harvest. Vía Blanca and Carrusel consist in a parade of the beauty princesses and queens from different cities that belong to the province of Mendoza. Each queen stands on a float designed according to the economy and symbols of the city she represents. In the Acto Central, the National Queen of Grape Harvest is chosen and there is a great show of typical music and dance. The grape harvest festival has been celebrated since 1936. The main reason was to commemorate not only the fantastic transformation from grape to wine but also all the hard work of the people at the vineyards, labs, and wineries.

In the north-east of the country, in the city of Gualeguaychú, province of Entre Rios, there is a highly popular event: Gualeguaychú’s Carnivals. These carnivals take place each year, at weekends in January and February. They involve a parade at which several official groups dance to cheerful music similar to the Brazilian samba. Each group has a theme, and has to design their carnival suits and floats accordingly. Their original designs are handmade, made with sequins and feathers, and are part of the entertainment. Similar to the festivals previously mentioned, competition is part of the celebration. Thus, the best design, dance, and group are chosen. Since the end of the XIX century, carnivals have evoked the joy in the heart of people.

In Córdoba, Baquero Translations’ place of origin, is now celebrating the Festival Nacional de Doma y Folklore. We recognize the importance of promoting national and regional traditions as they constitute a pivotal element in our country’s identity.

By: Andrea Chetti

What really happened at G20 Trump’s Conference Interpretation?

From November 30th to December 1st, the 2018 G20 Summit was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At this summit, leaders agreed upon important documents for the economic, financial and political cooperation of the countries. Despite its paramount political importance, we will focus on a communication issue that concerned many people around the world: the interpretation of the welcome speech for Donald Trump.

When the U. S. President arrived in Argentina, he met Mauricio Macri before the beginning of the summit. Both said some words publicly to the media. The President of Argentina started by welcoming Trump.

Surprisingly, Trump suddenly tossed the earpiece all presidents use to listen to the interpretation in their native language and expressed: “I think I understood you better in your language than I did on this. But that’s okay”.

It is essential to pay attention to his exact words “…than I did on this”. The interpreter, however, rendered her interpretation as “I think I understood you better in your language than I did on the interpretation”.

Maybe this choice of words was made from a humble position and the interpreter ended up putting the blame of the awkward moment on her own. In fact, when interpreting, interpreters need to make decisions very quickly and in this case, it backfired on her. But the truth is that there was a technical issue and the earpiece was not actually working correctly.

Fortunately, the Argentine Association of Conference Interpreters (ADICA) explained that there had been a technical problem with the earpiece. A clear evidence of this can be seen on the US Embassy website, where the transcription of this meeting has been posted (check https://ar.usembassy.gov/remarks-by-president-trump-and-president-macri-of-the-argentine-republic-before-bilateral-meeting/). In this official transcript, readers can clearly notice that the US President said: “on this”.

Of course, we can also start debating about the exact reference: is Trump referring to the earpiece or to the interpretation? Nevertheless, “on this” is already a big difference of what had been previously spread in the media.

Interpreting is a serious profession carried out by professionals who may make mistakes; however, it is essential for international cooperation and for spreading knowledge in business meetings, conferences, negotiations, press conferences, and so on. This is another professional service you can get at Baquero Translations.

By: Andrea Chetti

Endangered Argentine Treasure

One of the most precious and threatened species from Argentina are native languages. Such is their importance, that UNESCO declared Argentina’s linguistic diversity as a part of the national heritage in 2010. However, some of them, not to say most, are going through a process of oblivion.

Before colonization, there were about 20 native groups along the territory of Argentina. Each of them had their own tongue and variants. For example, some of the Mapuche, Tehuelche and Qom communities used to live in the Buenos Aires region; most Guaraníes used to live in the province of Corrientes, in the north-east of Argentina; and Tehuelches were also in Patagonia, the southern region.

Nowadays, approximately 15 native languages are still alive but with different levels of vitality (vulnerable, endangered, extinct). This status can be seen in UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Here are some examples of various Argentine native languages and their condition:

According to this map, the tongue wichi, native to Chaco, in the north of Argentina, is vulnerable as many people from young age speak it, but wichi is not used in certain contexts.

Quechua from Santiago del Estero, in the north of the country, is definitely endangered because it is not taught as a mother tongue. Similarly, in Corrientes, Mbya Guarani is severely endangered as only the elderly speak it, their children may understand it, but their grandsons and granddaughters do not learn it. This means an increased use of Spanish at the expense of native tongues.

Finally, one example of an extinct language is gününa-këna in Patagonia. The disappearance of this tongue means a loss of an important piece from Argentine cultural treasure.

Languages are a vital part of identities as customs and traditions are passed through native tongues. Therefore, to prevent languages from becoming vulnerable, endangered —and consequently— extinct, greater awareness of languages’ importance is needed, both at national and international level.

One international entity, the United Nations, is already thinking about this and has decided to dedicate next year to indigenous languages. UN aims to promote different actions for the preservation and growth of indigenous languages around the world.

Here at Baquero Translations, we embrace language diversity and join this movement of raising awareness, starting with this article. It is essential that we all get to know other tongues that existed before Spanish colonization, as each language is part of our history and it occupies —or used to occupy— a place in the diverse Argentine melting pot.

 

By: Andrea Chetti

 

Expanding Accessibility with Audio Description

Audio Description is one of the key components in making audiovisual material inclusive.

For those who are not familiar with AD, it consists in describing the visual content of a form of art. With audio description, the visually impaired can get the essential details like gestures, signs, clothes, change of scenes, etc., which cannot be perceived through voices or music. It functions like closed caption for the hearing impaired.

Nowadays, audio description is available on many TV channels, but the availability of that function has to be previously checked. In the U.S., major TV channels, such as ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, USA, the Disney Channel, and The History Channel are required by law to provide 50 hours of audio description.

Video description is also used for live performances. Usually, there is a professional audio describer who narrates the important visual details with a microphone, and this description can be heard through headphones provided by the theater. AD can be previously prepared, especially for plays. In Spain, a mobile app has been developed, “Teatro Accesible”, which has the audio description of certain plays ready to be used by the audience.

Several movies have audio description, too. In this case, the description is previously recorded and synchronized. This service does not replace the soundtrack but complements the movie by placing the description in the pauses. Here, in Córdoba, there are movie theaters like the Gran Rex, which offer headphones to hear the audio description of certain movies. AD can be also found on Netflix, YouTube and Argentine web pages, where audio description can be downloaded and applied to already existing movies.

This extremely helpful service can be offered by linguists as video description and translation have a lot in common. For both tasks professional needs to do the following:

  • Research into the subject matter and its context

In order to make a good audio description, the audio describer needs to be informed about the topic of the play, movie or TV program. Apart from reading the script, the audio describer needs to know about the year, place, and social context in which the material was produced so as to make an accurate description and to choose the right words. This involves carrying out a detailed research with reliable resources, which translators are used to.

  •  Have a deep knowledge on linguistics

Language per se is not the only means through which we convey meaning. Intonation, pronunciation, image, sounds, songs and even silences become really important for an effective audio description. It is essential that the audio describer has a thorough knowledge of the interaction of all these elements to exploit them in their favor.

  • Be neutral

As in translation, audio describers need to be faithful to the source material and be as objective as possible. Even though complete objectivity is impossible, the audio describer should aim to be neutral and let the audience make their own interpretations since they can easily become an omniscient narrator letting their subjectivity interfere in the message.

At BT, we participate in an audio description research at the National University of Cordoba, including the School of Communication Sciences and the School of Languages, to set, strengthen, and facilitate AD guidelines. With audio description, we are making materials accessible to people and we are collaborating with a more inclusive world.

By: Andrea Chetti

Celebrating International Translation Day

Finally came the day of the year when we celebrate: International Translation Day! Every September 30th translators beam with pride while receiving greetings from colleagues and close friends.

Officially, it all started with Saint Jerome, who translated the Bible from Greek into Latin. With this project, he was also the precursor of the translation theory “sense by sense”, as this was the methodology he applied and defended against the advocators of translating word by word. Even though at that time-IV century-, the people who translated were not recognized as professionals, this set an official precedent of our work.

In 1953, the International Translation Federation (FIT) established the day of the death of Saint Jerome as Translators’ day.

Since then, the FIT has promoted the festivity of this day, and, in 1991, it established the official International Translation Day in order to reach out to more people across the world and to clear away the religious connotation this day previously had. Every year, the FIT commemorates it with a particular theme. This year, the theme proposed was: “Translation: promoting cultural heritage in changing times”. The idea behind this topic is to shine a light on the importance of translation in understanding different cultures. Besides, the selected topic is linked to the United Nations’ 2019 theme: “International Year of Indigenous Languages”. The FIT invited all members to celebrate and share the poster in our article from September 24th to 30th.

The UN has also taken part in the commemoration and recognition of translators’ role as last year the resolution 71/288 was issued by the United Nations General Assembly. In this resolution, apart from recognizing the 30th of September as the International Translation Day, they stated: “International Translation Day is meant as an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of language professionals, which plays an important role in bringing nations together, facilitating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, contributing to development and strengthening world peace and security.” From this perspective, translators are regarded as bridges between cultures.

The American Translation Association (ATA) could not miss this celebration and joined the party. They suggested educating the public, which means to clarify certain misunderstandings by sharing images in various kinds of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. These images show typical questions made by people who are not so close to the language industry.

Here in Baquero Translations, our staff have also joined the commemoration and wished a fantastic day to all translators. We understand the significance and impact of translation in today’s world; that is why we put so much emphasis on quality. Thus, this Sunday was a special day to thank all the people that work with and accompany us in this quest for excellence.

By: Andrea Chetti

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

In the first industrial revolution, we stopped using animals to use machines; then, we made mass production possible to later become digital and reduce production costs. Now, the fourth industrial revolution faces us with technological advances that merge physical, digital and biological worlds and promises to change the way we live, relate and work. Business models are disrupted and employment seems to be widely impacted with a huge job displacement: the rise of machines!!!

The fourth industrial revolution entails changes in different existential fields: ethics and limits of AI, new business-client relationships with digitalization, fusion of technologies and disciplines, inequality and the impact on social stability, etc. However, although we are going through the fourth industrial revolution already the fear of all humans has not changed, on the contrary, it has always been the same: losing our jobs. Actually, machines are rising to support human activities and help to cover our needs in a better way or even faster.

According to Alejandro Melamed -HR Consultant-, it is not about the humans Vs robots but about understanding what is it that we want from the robot and the human. Any repetitive action with little creativity is likely to become a commodity. However, thinking, creativity, innovation, added value, empathy and above all passion will never become commodities.

In today’s world where communications are fast and the amount of data is huge, translation needs to merge both concepts to adjust: automation and creativity. Just as the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk puts it, it is no longer possible to think in monovalent or bivalent concepts: body-soul, spirit-matter, subject-object, freedom-mechanism, machines-humans. At BT we embrace technology to put our most human part on every translation!

By: Juan A. Baquero

All You Need Is PMing

There’s nothing you can manage that can’t be managed.

Would it be to exaggerate if I said “All you need is PMing”?

Well, after reading about project management you will realize how necessary it is for both, a company and its clients.

Project management is essential since it leads a company’s production to be achieved in the best way possible. This means that a Project Manager has to meet clients’ requests, and, at the same time, she/he has to act according to the best interests of the company. For this, PMs need to do a careful analysis, assignment, control, and delivery. Easier said than done! That’s why we asked our staff for their opinion on successful project management:

  1. Be clear and precise:

“In order to prevent problems in our projects, we should be explicit and precise at communicating with our clients and resources. Thus, we should provide all the information and instructions that we have at our disposal; define preventive measures, if needed; and have a clear understanding about the scope of our job.” –Natalia Szachta, Production Manager, TILP Certified.

  1. Offer alternatives:

“Project managers should offer different alternatives to achieve the same goal. Some projects are sent in a preset way, after analyzing and resorting to our experience with other projects, we can come up with different ways of running it: a more efficient, safer and cheaper way. Communicating the best options for carrying out a project is an added value.” –Jorgelina Venturi, Project Manager

  1. Know how to prioritize:

“As PMs, we know that many times we are in a race against the clock. Everything has to be done perfectly. This is when we need to take action and knowing how to prioritize tasks is essential. Everything is important and everything needs to be done, but we cannot do everything at the same time while ensuring the best quality. Thus, we should take some minutes, analyze each task and prioritize. Watch out! Priorities can change all of a sudden, that’s why analyzing tasks permanently is so important to accommodate to the changing priorities.” –Catalina De Sanctis, Project Manager

  1. Do one thing at a time:

“Nowadays, multitasking is highly valued, and it is crucial in a PM’s job. However, we should not confuse how multitasking should be performed: take one step at a time. This does not mean to do it slowly, but to get it right the first time. You may try to do three or four things at the same time, and the result will usually be chaos. Thus, make a list of tasks, choose the most important one—not always the most urgent—focus on it to perform it without mistakes; and once you finish, move on to the next one. You will be more efficient as you will not need to clear up a mess. Do multitasking, but in a progressive manner.” –Andrea Chetti, Project Manager

Successful PMing depends on these as well as on other good PMing practices. If life was a project, we could also apply them to our everyday life: be clear to avoid conflicts; offer alternatives; prioritize; and do your tasks one at a time. After all, PMing is all you need…

By: Andrea Chetti.

Keeping Steady in Turbulent Waters – Our 2018 Navigation Chart

When Argentineans thought that we were sailing in calm waters, our ship was struck once again in May by another financial crisis. But the truth is that we are used to sailing in turbulent waters and I have the feeling we actually enjoy the adrenaline and enjoy the challenge of keeping our ship sailing in the right direction.

Baquero Translations has been able to steadily grow its revenue by 25% yearly since 2015 thanks to its crew of experts. In 2018 we set sails to continue to invest in our company and expand our business, from technological advances and staffing to marketing activities.

More growth means more work and, in order to bear with it, we needed to acquire new technology and onboard new members to our crew to facilitate and streamline certain processes.  We consolidated the use of our PMS, Gespoint, that helps us easily and timely track projects, invoice and issue payments, as well as generating company performance reports. We incorporated Machine Translation and Post-Editing into our production process in order to meet the demands of our clients and the needs of the market. We hired a dedicated QA Manager, Diego Mengo, to make sure our products meet our client’s expectations. In addition, we hired a new Project Manager, Andrea Chetti, to help us handle the increase in volume. Our Project Management Outsourcing Service team almost doubled this year, adding 4 new members and expecting to hire other 3 members in the next few months.

Away from cutting costs, our marketing and sales activities in 2018 continued to rise. In March, we attended and sponsored the GALA Conference in Boston, one of the most important translation-industry conferences, we attended the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where we expanded our horizon into the game-localization industry, and in May we attended ELIA ND Focus networking days for executives in Catania, Sicily. Baquero Translations has also hired Larry Salas and Doris Johnson as part of its international sales efforts.

While we sail in these stormy waters of the second semester, we will continue to have our sails high in our masts with more trainings, strengthening our relationships with our clients and colleagues, adding more services to our portfolio, partnerships and academic research.

Juan A. Baquero
General Director