An Introduction To Formal Reports For Translators

Formal reports are reports that answer tough questions or solve challenging problems.  Investigation is essential to thinking, and because of this any document you have ever written and translated required some sort of analysis. Consider a simple summary that you may have written, it required a thorough investigation of a larger file to identify important points.  An e-mail marketing message might demand a comprehensive review of the intended recipient’s list and the optimal message and offer to use. With a formal report, your analysis might influence a major decision. For instance, a Portuguese translator in Miami received the following assignment from a large Non-Government Agency (NGO): Identify and locate information from African trade journals concerning the expansion of new agricultural techniques being successfully implemented in Angola.

Obviously, the completion of this job is going to require much more than a simple trip to the branch of your local library.  Because large funding initiatives and strategies will be based on your results, you will need to locate, translate and interpret all data essential in making the optimal recommendations. This is where a translator must apply the research activity discussed in and where you face your greatest reporting challenge.

In the next several blog posts, we will be examining the role of conducting research by translation professionals.

Translating Currencies, Dates and Decimals

Although you might think that rules for articulating data such as weights, measurements, time, dates, and locations would be rather important, they are frequently stated with limited commonality across borders and cultures and often lead to uncertainty and disbelief. People from other places will try to influence and shape your style of writing and speaking. Your understanding of various rules and measurements, and your desire to adjust to foreign cultures will enable you to diminish their endeavors. As a Chinese Houston translation worker, your employer might have specific rules concerning the way that data should be presented internationally. In the event it your company has specific rules, looking at currency symbols, dates and other items that are detailed in future blog posts might be advantageous in your own thinking about how to communicate with readers and listeners of cultures different from your own.

Currency Symbols

Types of currency range from the Angolan New Kwanza (AON) to the Zambian Kwacha (ZMK).  One San Francisco translation worker indicated that when you need to express a type of currency, you should always specify the type.  The place where you put the currency symbol, before the value or after the value, is also important because it can be different based on the country.

Dates

The recommended way to list dates is to spell it out instead of using a numerical equivalent because the ordering for the numeric format often varies throughout the world.  For example, in the United States, the date is generally expressed month, day year and in Japan, the date is expressed in a year, month and day format.

Decimals

The treatment of decimal places also varies by country and most spreadsheet applications are designed to accommodate the differences.  However, you need to check on the format that is familiar to your audience.  In the United States, it is customary to use a period to represent a decimal whereas most parts of Europe and South America used commas.

Correctly Using and Translating Emotion

Throughout all cultures, the one single aspect of persuasion that causes people to become most suspicious is persuasion.  Most of us have learned from past experience that those making use of overly emotional appeals are often trying to pull the wool over our eyes.  As a result, most people have come to discard emotional appeals and instead seek out quantitative facts, non-biased opinions and other more rational data to make a decision.  One English to Spanish translator in Houston provided the following example about a salesperson trying to sell your business a $250,000 computer system and his entire presentation is based on emotional appeals.  In this case, your company expects hard facts to rationalize a purchase decision.  The salesperson will undoubtedly fail in his attempts.  Many of the decision makers in your company would probably think that the sales person was making a weak attempt to make us act against our better judgment.

The way emotion should be used is by focusing on the benefits that a given solution will offer individual decision makers or departments.  Here’s an example of an emotional appeal that would have been better:  You will leave work each day feeling more relaxed knowing that the new computer system has technology that prevents the data corruption issues and miscalculations that you have cost your firm millions of dollars in lost productivity and cancelled orders.

Here is a powerful example offered by a certified diploma translation worker with The Marketing Analysts that demonstrates how persuasion can be used in advertising to promote woman’s fashion.   Notice the use emotion-laden words in this a for a man’s leather vest: Team this vest with a turtleneck sweater or a Michael Kors Medium Jet Set Pebbled Shoulder Tote, and you have the definitive response with sheik defiance to a fall chill.

The word sheik entertains the the reader’s sense of arrogance, definitive builds upon her authority, and fall chill reminds us of a feeling we wish to avoid while looking beautiful.

It’s good for legal translation services workers to keep in mind, emotional appeals can be used in a wide variety of applications.  In fact, many political and research reports concerning groundwater pollution during the fracking process describes the increased rate of cancer and other illnesses and provide various measurements.  In an environmental report, the researchers are likely to include a table or chart that indicates growth in contaminants before and during the fracking procedure along with measures of the increase in reported illnesses and cancer rates.  This sort of data will be persuasive when environmental engineers and scientists read the report. If you are assembling and very rigid scientific or analytical topic, you might need to steer away from the use of emotional appeals.  However, for many reports, it is acceptable to use emotional appeals as long as they are used with subtlety and discretion.

TRANSLATION AND COMPANY IMAGE

What happens to a company’s image when its translated correspondence such as that absurd memo (see “Why We Are Still Decades Away From Quality Automated Translation Software”) is sent outside the organization? A company succeeds – or fails – according to the image it projects, and to a large extent, that image is projected through the company’s correspondence. Remember, to communicate means to share, to have in common. The memo writer and the Seattle translation services company he hired, obviously did not “share” information with his department heads; he seemed more concerned with trying to demonstrate his intelligence by using big words and jargon ridden phrases. (Or perhaps he has never taken a course in Business Communication.)

Whatever his reason, he failed miserably because he neglected an important rule in communicating: Use plain English – that is, English that avoids jargon, pompous or overblown language, confusing sentence structures, and other stylistic blunders that make writing unclear.

The Importance of Good Communication

The term communication comes from the Latin term, communicare, meaning to share, to have in common. A closely related Latin word, communio (communion, in English), indicates fellowship or having alike. Therefore, from ancient times, communication and related terms including commune, communion, and communicant have been used to signify sharing, partaking, exchanging, and holding in common. Most Houston Spanish Translation workers define professional communication as the flow of valuable information – communications that serve your readers’ requirements, which help allow your precise meaning to be obvious, which allow readers to exchange information with you.

BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS AND THE INFORMATION REVOLUTION
These days, this unique requirement to share or have in common has achieved enormous proportions in the business community. In 1983, for example, the a Washington D.C. translation services firm estimated that United States businesses generated 600 million pages of computer output, 235 million photocopies, and 76 million letters – every working day. Add that volume to the estimated 76 trillion pages on file, and you begin to see the scope of business communications in the 1980s.

Communication is necessary for all professional establishments. On the outside, an organization cannot exist if it does not communicate successfully and efficiently. Philadelphia French translation companies have found that consumers will go somewhere else if they are unable to get their orders filled accurately and promptly, or if they have to squander valuable time attempting to interpret messages.

From within, an organization will self destruct if its personnel are given confusing memos, reports, instructions, or other messages. A misinterpreted memo can create costly delays; a poorly written report can lead to someone’s wrong decision; confusing instructions can cause injury, the destruction of expensive equipment or products, or the loss of an important account.

PART II: EXTEMPORANEOUS REPORTS

Here are a few more ideas from translators to help you make the most of your presentation.

Use Natural Body Movements and Posture

If you move and gesture as you normally would in a conversation, your audience will be more relaxed. As numerous providers of German translation in Chicago report, nothing seems more pretentious than a speaker  who works through a series of rehearsed moves and artificial gestures. Also, maintain good posture. Don’t sway, slump, or fidget.

Speak with Confidence, Conviction, and Authority

Show your audience that you believe in what you say. Be enthusiastic and sincere. Avoid qualifiers (“I suppose,” ‘Tm not sure,” “but … ,””maybe”). Also, clean up verbal tics (“er,” “ah,” “uuh,” “mmm,” “OK,” “you know”), which do a poor job of filling in the blank spaces between statements. If you seem to be apologizing for your existence, you won’t be impressive. Speaking with authority, however, is not the same as speaking like an authoritarian.

Moderate Your Voice Volume, Tone, Pronunciation, and Speed

When using a microphone, people often speak too loudly. Without a microphone, they may speak too softly. That why one Chinese translator in Baltimore says that you you should make certain that you can be heard clearly without shattering people’s eardrums. When in doubt, ask your audience about the sound and speed of your delivery after a few sentences. Your tone should be confident, sincere, friendly, and conversational.

Because nervousness can cause too-rapid speech and unclear or slurred pronunciation, pay close attention to your pace and pronunciation. Usually, the rate you feel is a bit slow will be j~st about right for your audience.

Maintain Eye Contact

According to Denver translation workers, eye contact is vital in relating to your audience. Look directly into your listeners’ eyes to hold their interest. With a small audience, your eye contact is one of your best connectors. As you speak, establish eye contact with as many members of your audience as possible. With a large group, maintain eye contact with those in the first rows.

Read Audience Feedback

Addressing a live audience gives you the advantage of receiving immediate feedback on your delivery. Assess your audience’s responses continually and make adjustments as needed. If, for example, you are laboring through a long list of facts, figures, examples, or statistical data, and you notice that people are dozing or moving restlessly, you might summarize the point you’re making.

Likewise, if frowns, raised eyebrows, or questioning looks indicate confusion, skepticism, or indignation, you can backtrack with a specific example or explanation. By tuning in to your audience’s reactions, you can avoid leaving them confused, hostile, or simply bored.

Courteous Listening

Before we end our discussion on the types of listening, there is one other type of listening that is worth discussing. As described by a Portuguese translator in Houston, Courteous listening, in a broad sense, is conversational and social listening. For most of us, our first inclination is to talk, “to say what’s on our minds,” and hope that someone else will do the listening. But courteous listening calls for just that: courteous listening. Like therapeutic listening, courteous listening should be nonjudgmental. We should listen out of courtesy, understanding, love. After all, we want others to do the same for us.We also use courteous listening to keep interpersonal relations intact. When we say, “How are you doing?” to an acquaintance, we usually do so mainly to keep lines of communication open. We don’t expect more than a cursory and courteous rejoinder of some sort, such as “OK, how about you?” But if the person begins telling us that he’s had a migraine for three days, that his wife’s in bed with the flu, and that his son just eloped with a woman from the local motorcycle gang, courtesy demands that we listen – at least for a while. We do have certain obligations to others: courteous listening is one of them.

Improving Workplace Listening Skills

Listening well is crucial to your success. Major companies such as Ford Motor Companyhave developed listening programs for their employees. And to emphasize that it listens to the needs of its customers, Ford Motor Company began an extensive advertising campaign based on the importance of listening. One of their headlines reads, “When You Know How to Listen, Opportunity Only Has To Knock Once”. A second says, “Listening Can Improve Your Vision.”

Why are so many people such bad listeners? According to one respected Houston Spanish translator, part of the answer lies in this statement: Hearing is not listening. Hearing is a passive activity. It’s a physiological gift, one of our five senses. Listening, on the other hand, is a skill, a learned behavior. It calls for active participation, specific skills, and the motivation to use them.

DEFINITION
As defined by Washington D.C. translation workers, listening is the complex and selective process of receiving, focusing, deciphering, accepting, and storing what we hear. Listening does not occur without these five interrelated, yet distinct, processes.

Receiving
Receiving refers to our ability to hear and/or see stimuli. As explained later in the chapter, visual cues can be important for listening.

Focusing
Focusing involves limiting our attention to specific stimuli. Whereas receiving is a passive process, focusing is an active one. At any time, we can receive all sorts of external stimuli: people talking, phones ringing, music playing, wind blowing, birds singing, babies crying. But we can’t focus on all those stimuli simultaneously without overloading our neural circuitry. As a result, a Dallas translation service  suggests that humans filter out most external stimuli, focusing on those of greatest interest or importance. A mother, for instance, hearing her baby crying, would focus on that sound. A bird watcher would hear the bird singing, and focus on that sound.

Sometimes, focusing takes great effort. Say you’re trying to listen to a lecture while the lawn is being mowed, the halls buffed, and the school band is practicing. You have to work hard to focus on the lecture by filtering out those background noises. Likewise, internal stimuli (what goes on in our heads) make focusing difficult. Personal problems, daydreams, memories -all require that we make an extra effort to listen.

Responding to Inquiries About Personnel

Aside from the types of inquiry messages that we have already discussed, companies receive inquiries from other firms, from other divisions within a firm, outside organizations and other organizations about personnel or credit issues. As a Spanish translator in Houston explains, plan for answering such inquiries is identical to that for questions about services or products:

Begin by identifying the topic and stating the main point, then provide supporting information.  When replying about past or present employees, you have additional responsibilities. They include: (I) being fair to both employee and inquirer by providing a frank performance report, and (2) providing the information in “good faith.” For additional information regarding what you can and cannot do in a personnel report, consult a lawyer or visit your local legal library.

The following memo supplied by a Washington D.C. Translation company is Susan Harris’s reply to Michael Brady’s inquiry about Jacob Davis, a candidate for promotion to the company’s San Francisco office. Note that Harris’s appraisal is specific. Rather than simply saying that Davis is intelligent and highly motivated, she shows this with specific examples. Note also that she is fair and honest in her evaluation of Michael’s flaws, subordinating them to his positive traits, which, she believes, outweigh the negative ones. Harris’s evaluation contains several items essential in personnel reports. She notes the length of time she has known Davis, and the type and quality of his work. She answers all direct and implied questions concerning his suitability as sales director.

Michael Brady is an intelligent, highly motivated salesperson. During his six years in our Northeast office, he has reversed declining sales trends with three major accounts, opened and serviced six accounts totaling over one million dollars yearly, developed merchandising surveys for prospective accounts, and created and implemented sales proposals in conjunction with the General Manager and Director of Sales. For the past three years, he has been our top salesperson.

Our clients are pleased with Michael’s work, often mentioning his warmth and reliability. At least four times that I know of, when stock couldn’t be delivered by the promised date, Michael has loaded his own car and trailer and driven all night to get the merchandise to clients on time for a sale.

Michael’s motivation has led to some problems in the office. Because of his competitiveness, Michael has little patience with less competent sales people, and will, at times, make disparaging remarks about them to the office staff. And his constant striving to meet his clients’ needs has led to some heated arguments with the shipping department when merchandise isn’t delivered on time.

Overall, however, he is the best salesperson I’ve seen in my 18 years with the company. Would he be a good sales director for the west coast? I believe so. His ambition and motivation would certainly help west coast sales, and his belief that clients deserve full support will impress our clients there as it has here. Because Michael has no patience with incompetence or half-hearted efforts, he would quickly weed out mediocre staff, only keeping people who demand as much of themselves as he does of himself. With some guidance from you on interpersonal relations, he could possibly become our most effective sales director.

Writing And Translating Rejection Letters

A lot of individuals think of being rejection as a personal failure; being rejected for employment, membership or credit or perhaps getting turned down in less delicate facets. Of course, professional choices should never be based only on the ability to stay clear of injuring another person’s emotions; however combining negative information with genuine concern for the other individual’s requirements permits the audience to better recognize that your choice was grounded in a business judgment, instead of a personal judgment.

When it’s time to write a bad-news message, it’s essential to tackle two fundamental concerns. For instance, New York City Italian Translation workers believe that the very first items to be concerned with is the tone that will most effectively help generate a positive outcome.  For instance, on October 29, 2012, New York, New Jersey and other parts of the east coast were flooded by a major hurricane known as Sandy, and early estimates predicted property losses would exceed $33 billion in New York alone.  As an insurance adjuster, what tone would you have used to inform property owners that they are going to be getting merely a portion of what they anticipated from their insurance claim? In bad-news messages, you need to embrace a tone that facilitates a few distinct objectives:

• You need your audience to recognize that your bad-news message presents a solid decision.

• You need your audience to realize that given the situation, your conclusion is reasonable and justifiable.

• You need your audience to support your decision and maintain a favorable opinion toward your company.

Using the proper tone, translators at Houston Translation Services companies present an unpleasant position while retaining the audience’s pride. One way to do this is to frequently apply the “you” attitude. For instance, explain the way your choice could possibly advance the audience’s objectives, despite the fact that it initially leads to discouragement. It’s also possible to express concern by seeking out the best in your audience. Even though the individual is responsible, imagine that they are keen on acting reasonably. You’ll be able to relieve the anguish by employing positive instead of negative phrases.

The other concern that should be addresses is what order of the primary thought and supportive details will most reduce the audience’s frustration? The solution is found by selecting among the two primary techniques such as the indirect strategy, where you provide supporting details first, and then the main idea; and the direct strategy, where you state the main idea first and then the supporting information.