Our office is proud to announce that we have both NAATI Accredited and NAATI Certified Translator Stamps. The NAATI Translator Stamps are used to certify translations.
As NAATI recognises both stamps as official, all our Official English <> Spanish Translations will bear both an NAATI Accredited Translator Stamp and a NAATI Certified Translator Stamp. For our clients this means their translations are double guaranteed.
While the NAATI Certified Translator Stamp displays an expiry date, this date only refers to the potential expiry date for the Certified Translator credential at the time the stamp was issued, and does not reflect an expiration date of the translated documents. Hence, although the NAATI certification has an expiry date and is subject to renewal every 3 years, the translations produced are valid permanently. For further information, please view the NAATI information sheet: https://www.naati.com.au/media/1871/naati-translator-stamp-infopdf.pdf
On the other hand, the NAATI Accreditation is permanent -- that is, for life. To quote an email sent by NAATI: "Transitioning to NAATI certification does not mean you will lose your existing NAATI accreditation or recognition." [See PDF version of email on right.]
Our Accreditation number: 43325, and our Certification Practitioner/ID number: CPN2GA02L, can be verified at the NAATI website: https://www.naati.com.au/. Just click 'Recourses' in the navigation bar, and select either 'Verify a NAATI Accreditation' or 'Verify a NAATI Certification', respectively.
NAATI Translator Stamp Information Sheets and Email Confirming Permanency of NAATI Accreditation
Our Founding Director and Chief Translator, Eric Arturo Torres-Mendieta, has recently been awarded a certification from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). This certification confirms his inclusion into the new NAATI certification system which is designed to evaluate competency to practice Translating and Interpreting.
His new NAATI Certificate
This new certification complements his already gained NAATI Accreditation as a Professional Translator (English to Spanish) which has been valid since December 2001 on-wards. In other words, the newly awarded certification is on top of his status of Translator-for-life.
His listing on the NAATI Online Directory
Congratulations to him!
I just wish to share this beautiful quote from Pope (now Pope Emeritus) Benedict XVI:
Even thought translation is not the central theme of the quoted passage, as a translator, Pope Benedict XVI's words speak loudly of how highly he thinks and appreciates the profession of translation. For Pope Benedict XVI, the art of translations in not just a mere human activity of communication between human languages, but rather something blessed with the divine signature, for God, the Creator of heaven and earth, is also, as it were, a translator. God translates His mind and love in a way we humans many comprehend and respond to.
Furthermore, as everything Catholic is, by its very nature, Christocentric, then Christ in the Incarnation is the translation par-excellence. In Christ, the Word, we have the divine language of love in human language and in human flesh. Jesus said "He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?" (John 14:9). Here we have see what every translation ought to aspire to be: not only a honest reflection of the source document, but such a true (and in Christ's case, living) reflection of the source; to be consubstantial with the source. In other word, a translation should not merely be a means or a pale image of the original, but rather a translation should be so faithful to the source that it becomes, as it were, one and the same with the source. As Jesus, the Divine Translation, said, "I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
To me, as a translator, this gives a very high value to the art of translation; indeed, it exalt the work we translators (and interpreters) undertake for it is a collaboration in the work of God. We translators (and interpreters), swear an oath to be true and faithful to the source. In this we are echoing "Jesus Christ the faithful witness" (Revelation 1:5). Hence in undertaking this work of translation, we ought to not only convey meaning from one language to another, but also, more importantly, communicate God's love to our fellow human beings. Indeed, is it not this communication of God's love our duty in every work and action?
Today we have a special post in commemoration of the Patron Saint of Translators: St. Jerome. It's only proper being September 30th, his feast day.
The Catholic Church has given us many heavenly intercessors. These patron saints pray to God unceasingly on our behalf. (Catholics praying to saints is often misunderstood, suffice to say here that praying to saints doesn't mean we can't pray to God directly, indeed we can and should, however just like you can get your friends to pray with and for you, saints are your heavenly friends whom also pray with and for you, the only difference is that they can do it non-stop with perfect love and dedication.)
A patron saint is chosen due to their particular connection with the subject of the prayer. Indeed, many, if not most occupations and professions have one (and sometimes more than one), and Translation is no exception. St. Jerome is our saint.
St. Jerome (b. 340-2 and d. 420) was born in Stridon, a town on the confines of Dalmatia and Pannonia (Croatia). With his passion for books and great thirst for knowledge he went of to study in Rome. Indeed, St. Augustine said of him, “What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known.” It was also in Rome where he was baptized in approximately 360.
Unlike many saints which are remembered for their outstanding virtue or peaceful nature, St. Jerome is often remembered for his bad temper! This doesn't mean he was any less holy however. He was so passionately in love with Christ that he used his mighty pen to, lets say, instruct the ignorant. Indeed anyone who taught error was an enemy of God and truth, and St. Jerome went after him or her with his mighty and sometimes sarcastic pen.
He travelled, particularly in Palestine, and studied theology but eventually became ill at Antioch. He withdrew to the wild desert in Syria where he ever increased in holiness and wisdom. In 379 be was ordained. Three years later, in Rome, he became Secretary to Pope Damasus I. However when Pope Damasus I died in 384, St. Jerome's position in Rome became very difficult due to pressure from his enemies (many of them gain by his harsh criticism). St. Jerome was compelled to leave Rome and settled in Bethlehem in 386 where he lived a life of asceticism and study.
It was in Bethlehem where his great works were competed. St. Jerome is best remembered for his revision of Latin translations of the Gospels and Psalms and translation of the Old Testament into Latin from Hebrew and Greek. In simple terms, these translations collectively form the Vulgate. Furthermore, St. Jerome also wrote extensive biblical commentaries.
St. Jerome died on September 30th, 420.
Translators, humble servants of knowledge, often nameless, seldom acknowledged, more erred against than erring, forever looking for the right word.
The above quotation expresses some of the emotions felt by translators and interpreters. History, for the most part, omits the role of translators and interpreters. However without language services empires could not rule over their vast territories, nor could works of knowledge be transmitted from one culture to another. Indeed, much of human history would not have every occurred, where it not for the services of translators and interpreters.
Money make the world go round, or so the saying goes. Dare I say that translators and interpreters make ideas go round. Translators and interpreters are vital agents in the flow of communication, yet we are almost always forgotten. Some think our work is easy, but they fail to see the important and delicate nature of our work.
For example, when it come to literary translations of a novel or poetry, the translator has to be an artist. In fact, the translator has to become a novelist or poet in their own right. As the image above states, translation is "the skillful art of re-creating an equivalent message". This means that a translation must not only convey words or ideas from one language to another, but also express it with the right tone and make it meaningful to another linguistical community or culture. Only a skillful artist can fake a masterpiece; similarly, only a linguistical artist can translate works of literary art while conserving its splendor.
But even with more mundane translations (e.g. personal documents), the translator's role is crucial. It has often crossed my mind that the translator is the only person that truly reads documents. How else reads a birth certificate, for instance, examining each word and feature?
Translators and interpreters are truly powerful people. A single word mistranslated or misinterpreted can change to whole meaning of the message. Moreover, a document well translated or a speech well interpreted can give people and entire communities assess to resources which otherwise would be inaccessible due to language barriers; hence, in this way, translators and interpreters are also social equaliser.
Here in Australia, NAATI exists to accredit translators and interpreters. Being powerful people, the accreditation bears testimony to their qualifications, language proficiency and ethical conduct. (Of course, NAATI accreditation dose not guarantee quality, but it is a good point of reference; other reference points include their experience and academic knowledge.) For this reason the Australian Government instructs, as it should, that a NAATI accredited translator/interpreter must be used to undertake work with legal implications. However, NAATI accredited translators/interpreters are also betrayed by the Australian Government as it makes use of non-NAATI translators/interpreters. Is it too much to ask to practice what they preach?
In any case, I suppose, this goes to show how widespread and pervasive is the erroneous idea that translators and interprets are unimportance. Even in our modern age, translators and interpreters are taken for granted. Indeed, as the opening quotation states, we are still "often nameless [and] seldom acknowledged".
So next time you read a work originally in another language or relax to a movie, TV show or documentary filmed in another language, or browser a webpage originally written in another language, please pause and give thanks to translators and interpreters.
Here is an oldie but a goodie. The article below, written by H.F. Allman possibly during the late 1950's, shows the sometimes funny nature of translation. Indeed, things can get 'lost in translation' and we can get a laugh, but most times the accuracy and quality of translations are paramount. This is especially the case in medical or legal translations. Or, as is seen in case for 'Coca-Cola', when money and commercial success is on the line.
Australia is looking towards China and Asia in general for trade and commerce. Perhaps we can learn a thing or two about the need for good translations when entering foreign markets. Indeed, much of the lessons of Allman's article can be applied when dealing with any foreign language market. Getting the right meaning across is vital.
Some people have suggested that the story of the transliteration of 'Coca-Cola' is a myth, but 'Coca-Cola' has not only confirmed it but is enshrined as part of the companies history. So, without further ado, enjoy this fine and funny translation article.
Transliteration of Coca-Cola Trademark to Chinese Characters
by H.F. Allman,
formerly Legal Counsel in China for The Coca-Cola Company
The introduction of Coca-Cola in China back in 1928 presented some unusual problems to the late P.S. ("Red") Lewis and associates. The potential market was the 500 million Chinese, or a reasonable number thereof, and the large foreign community in China. For ages the Chinese had been accustomed to drinking their own delightful green tea -- hot and straight. The social customs of the foreign communities had long been set by the British -- and who had ever heard of any Colonial Britisher drinking anything but Scotch, gin, or black tea?
"Red" had no delusions that all of these people would suddenly become customers for Coca-Cola. Nevertheless, he firmly believed that an ever-increasing number of Chinese would come to like Coca-Cola and -- he was right. Before long, Coca-Cola appeared at the Shanghai Club and the Country Club, both utter British strongholds but frequented by Americans in the community. They convinced the British that Coca-Cola was indeed delicious and refreshing.
It was obvious that the Coca-Cola trademark had to be transliterated into Chinese characters in order to reach the millions in the market. Chinese, both written and spoken, is so completely alien to any European language that the simplest foreign word or term is a tongue twister to the Chinese.
To find the nearest phonetic equivalent to Coca-Cola required a separate Chinese character for each of the four syllables. Out of the 40,000 or so characters there are only about 200 that are pronounced with the sounds we needed and many of these had to be avoided because of their meaning.
While doing the research for four suitable characters we found that a number of shopkeepers had also been looking for Chinese equivalents for "Coca-Cola" but with weird results. Some had made crude signs that were absurd in the extreme, adopting any old group of characters that sounded remotely like "Coca-Cola" without giving a thought as to the meaning of the characters used.
One of these homemade signs sounded like "Coca-Cola" when pronounced but the meaning of the characters came out something like "female horse fastened with wax" and another "bite the wax tadpole". The character for wax, pronounced La, appeared in both signs because that was the sound these untutored sign makers were looking for. Any Chinese reading the signs would recognize them as a crude attempt to make up an arbitrary phonetic combination.
Although we were primarily concerned with the phonetic equivalent of "Coca-Cola", we could not ignore the meaning of the characters, individually and collectively, as the free-wheeling sign makers had done.
The closet Mandarin equivalent to "Coca-Cola" we could find was K'o K'ou K'o Le^. The aspirates (designated by ') are necessary to approximate the English sounds. There is no suitable character pronounced La in Chinese so we compromised on Le^ (joy) which is approximately pronounced ler. We chose the Mandarin because this dialect is spoken by the great majority of Chinese.
Incidentally, Chinese has to be interpreted into English rather than translated, and vice versa. All Chinese characters have more than one meaning but the [four chosen] (depending on context) commonly mean:
K'o = To permit, be able, may, can
K'ou = Mouth, hole, pass, harbor
K'o = as above
Le^ = Joy, to rejoice, to laugh, to be happy
It would seem that the Chinese trademark means to permit mouth to be able to rejoice -- or something palatable from which one derives pleasure.
Not once in ten million times could a company literally pronounce their trademark in English and have the sounds mean something desirable in the Chinese language.
The mainland of China is out of the market indefinitely [not true now, but this was probably written years ago] but fortunately most of the 2,000,000 Chinese in Hong Kong and the 9,000,000 in Taiwan understand Mandarin. Even the 10,000,000 overseas Chinese, who mostly speak Cantonese or Fukienese, realize that K'o K'ou K'o Le^ is the Mandarin Chinese trademark for "Coca-Cola".
As a health care professional I know the importance of getting people seen and checked out. It is no secret that chronic conditions are on the rise. Yet, no matter the illness, we can all agree that prevention and health promotion are key. For this, the community needs to have equitable access to health care.
In this view, here in Victoria, the state governmentfunds 30 Primary Care Partnerships (PCPs) which are made up of many different agencies including "hospitals, community health, local government and divisions of general practice as core members of the partnerships. Other types of agencies such as area mental health, drug treatment and disability services are also members of PCPs"
Okay, this is a translation and interpreting blog, not one on public health. So what does the above have to do with translation and interpreting?
The answer is quite straight forward: health care professionals interact with members of CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) communities all the time. Hence the quality of language services is important to ensure the quality of health care. After all, health care professionals aren't mind readers and the more relevant details about symptoms we can obtain, the better care we can provide.
Over a decade ago, the "Quality Language Services in Rural Primary Care Settings” project was undertaken with funding under the Department of Human Services Primary Care Partnership Best Practice Funding Program. This project was indicated by Goulburn Valley Primary Care Partnership (GVPCP) and the Central Health Interpreter Service Inc. (CHIS) in in collaboration with Campaspe Primary Care Partnership and the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District.
Some interim findings of this project were published in the June 2002 (Volume 10, No. 2) edition of the AUSIT National Newsletter. Some of the interim findings were not surprising, such as that interpreting services are more of concern to PCPs than translation services. Furthermore, on-site interpreting was the leading method of interpreting, followed by telephone interpreting and videoconferencing.
The diversity of languages in the project's catchment area wasn't surprising also. Italian came in first place, with Albanian in second, Turkish in third and Arabic in fourth.
However, some of the interim findings do raise concerns:
Over half, in fact 63%, of the agencies have used volunteers, bilingual staff and family members as interpreters. Of course we don't know the details and in many case, perhaps, something is better than nothing, but let me express some issues I see. What qualifications and/or accreditation do the volunteers have? Medical interpretation is at times particularity complex, with the need to interpret medical terminology and express it in the clearest way possible, and, as kind as it is to volunteer, it is better left to the professional interpreter. Here quality the of the interpretation can very well mean life or death. A bad interpretation can led to a misdiagnosis with lethal consequences.
What Code of Ethics do volunteers uphold? Health care professionals and professional interpreters/translators work under Codes of Ethics which stipulate proper conduct. To breach the Code of the Ethic is a serious offense which can end your career and even in land you in jail if it involved criminal acts. To just give one example, both health care professionals and professional interpreters/translators must keep patient/client information confidential. Hence there is risk that a volunteer could gossip your private health care information.
Regarding bilingual staff and family members, we must remember that (as explored inmy previous post) bilingualism is a debated topic. Many people think they are bilingual when they are not; they do not have control of both languages to the level a native would. So once again, the issue of the quality of the interpretation is raised. Also, sometimes family members can occult the details or the true nature of the medical condition to their ill loved ones.
Few agencies, with the exception of major agencies, budget for the for language services (both interpreting and translation). There could be many reasons for this, however with Australia's multicultural and multilingual population, setting some budget for language services would be beneficial.
Some agencies use machine translation software to translate information in order to save costs. This is the biggest concern. In health care, the provision of health information/education to patients is an essential duty. Health care professionals need to educate patients about their conditions and teach them ways to get better. The use of written information is part of this. Haven't you seen the amount of pamphlets at the doctor's surgery or at other health care centres?
If you just translate text using a machine translator, the quality of the result is a Russian roulette. Some phrases or sentences might be surprisingly well translated but most of the time the machine translations leave a lot to be desired. Furthermore, medical terminology is inherently complex and a machine might not have such specialised terminology in its glossary. You can try this by using Google Translate.
Indeed, there is a place for machine translations. For example to get the general gist of an article in a foreign language. However it has no place at a medical clinic. I need not remind that the quality of information, and hence the quality of the translation, might mean the difference between life and death.
Of course, the Quality Language Services in Rural Primary Care Settings project occurred over a decade ago. Language services have improved. Particularly, there is increased awareness of the role of the professional interpreter. Yet there is still room for improvement.
Health care professionals must respect language and thus the role of language service providers. Language for most people is just a medium but for the language service provider language is also the end.
As a closing note, being in both worlds, the health care industry and the translations and interpreting industry, gives me an advantage and the ability so see things from both perspectives. I've seen good usage of language services by health care providers and I've seen poor usage. Indeed, the role of language services and how to contact language service providers is sometimes taught as part of health care courses. However it's only taught in passing. One might expect such lectures or classes to be taught be a qualified/accredited translator and/or interpreter but most often than not this isn't the case. So let me say again, there is still room for improvement.
Eric Manuel Torres, Executive Director (CEO) of ATIS shares thoughts on the Translation and Interpreting industry in Australia and also news about the family business.
Also to view our Founding Director and Chief Translator's (Eric Arturo Torres-Mendieta) LinkedIn profile, please click below: