Analyzing Your Audience

In professional translation and business communication, you can generally describe your target audience somewhat narrowly: a manager with a business degree, a team of electrical engineers with strong a understanding of their discipline, a handyman putting in a new door, a chemist with a membership in the American Chemical Society, a team of surgeons seeking to learn more about an innovative software package that will allow them to work more efficiently and your immediate supervisor.  All of the people are knowledgeable and well educated, however they happen to be unaware about a certain facet of their profession, or they require specific details in order to perform their work.  It’s possible to describe your audiences by expertise, profession, schooling, and connection to you. You understand to varying degrees their overall expertise and the particular expertise they currently have in regards to your subject matter.

The primary question is what specific details do the target audience members need to know about the information that you are presenting. In most cases, Chicago French Translation workers assume intelligent readers and listeners (otherwise, how could you communicate with them?) that are unaware regarding certain elements of the issues or subjects about which you are translating, writing or speaking (otherwise, why on earth would you talk to them?). If they understand the essentials of what you have to say, you shouldn’t write or speak unless it’s a way to document your collective understandings or for a variety of other archival purposes. You may also know their frame of mind concerning your topic: favorable, neutral, aggressive, or apathetic. Are they prone to be open to your thoughts? Will a handful of your audience members be prone to agree with a few of your thoughts but reject others? One veteran Spanish translator in Houston suggests that new translators should write down everything that they can think of about their audience-what you think they know, what you think they want or need to know, what kinds of evidence they are likely to accept, and their reasons for reading the document or listening to your presentation or what you can do to motivate them to read it or listen attentively.

A Procedure To Simplify Translation and Composition

In the remainder of this section in our blog, we review a procedure that can be used at any degree of difficulty. The procedure was created by one of our Houston Translation workers and consists of examining your audience, establishing goals, uncovering and collecting data, planning organization, planning illustrations, composing and revising, composing and planning collaboratively (at times), and communicating ethically. The communication system can be complicated and is not easily broken down into a formula. You are able to compose making use of paper and pencil or using a computer with an installed word processing application. You can also make notes prior to writing on the computer, or you might even compose directly on the computer. All professional translators will develop their own personnal productive process. Nevertheless, if you aren’t already composing and translating on a computer, we encourage you to begin. Computer technology has eliminated a lot of the time intensive work from drafting, revising, and making corrections. In later blog entries we discuss the use of computers in workplace communication, and we provide suggestions for using them.

Based on the level of complexity, you may need to follow all of the steps only some of the time, but you will need to follow some of the steps all of the time. What is important is to check each step to see whether it is applicable to your translation project. If you do not do that, you risk overlooking some basic aspect that can cause a lot of difficulty later.

Why Translation Workers Must Strengthen Their Reading Skills

Eighty-five percent of your training in becoming a professional language translator requires reading. According to a local expert providing Spanish translation in Houston, “If you intend to be successful in your job as a translator, you will still to do a significant amount of reading at the office and in your own home to stay current of your work and your occupation.” The type of reading that a translator will do consists of emails, letters, studies, estimates, manuals, memorandums, records, market studies, industry publications, corporate publications, specialized journals, newspapers, periodicals, and literature relevant to the translation field.

Reading well-written essays, literature, and magazine articles can aid a translator in improving their writing as well as their reading skills by giving them an improved comprehension of a language’s cadences and styles. Research from one Washington D.C. Russian translation agency shows that translators who read a lot tend to be considerably better composers since they acquire an eye and ear for the intricacies of the languages they work in.

Strengthening Your Reading Skills
Apart from frequent reading, a professional translation worker needs to master a variety of reading techniques. As a language translator, you will receive correspondence, e-mail messages, contracts, assessments, flyers, and other promotional pieces on a regular basis. As a result, you need to figure out how to pick reading techniques on the basis of the material’s content and your purpose for reading it.

Translation workers must also discover how to differentiate pertinent from irrelevant details. For instance, say you are asked to summarize a quarterly production report that was written in a foreign language. Many translators would skim it for significant details, and then review it much more critically to identify if the author’s assumptions about decreasing output are accurate. Critical analysis is important here when you need to evaluate cause-effect associations. Another document that you might be asked to evalute could be an e-mail message regarding the business’s cafeteria. Even if you have never been in the cafeteria, you gloss over the e-mail message rapidly, uncover its most important details. Therefore, developing reading skills essentially involves establishing diverse reading strategies depending on what the client wants you to do with the information. These kinds of strategies result in the valuable use of your reading time.

To develop your reading skills, start with your textbooks. Pay particular attention to tables of contents, headings, and subheads, as these provide important guides to content. Rather than underlining profusely, a process which slows your reading considerably, find the main ideas. Underline them. Practice scanning for important ideas, facts, and figures. Skim through publications in your field to see how quickly you can find the central issues.

Emphasis on Composition and Translation Skills

This blog stresses composition and language translation skills because multinational organizations need talented multilingual writers and decision-makers. Granted, unless you are a Chicago translation services worker, it’s unlikely that you will spend your entire day composing messages and translating content; on the contrary, you probably spend most of their time speaking, listening, or making decisions. But in today’s global business environment, whenever a policy or procedure is established, whenever a contract, bid, or report is needed – in short, whenever important information is conveyed – it’s put in writing to provide a permanent record.

Translation and Composition are Skills
As with any skill, proficiency comes only through intensive training and practice. Most experienced Cleveland Translation workers would laugh at people presumptuous enough to believe that, without rigorous training, they could compete in the Boston Marathon. We would laugh harder if they told us they could run the 26.2 miles because they have been walking since childhood. Yet, this same flawed logic leads some people to believe that simply because they have used they have a degree in a particular language or have used one since childhood, they know all they need to know about providing professional translation and composition services. To write well takes the same type of dedication and training that running a marathon takes. Only those who invest the time acquire the writing proficiency so many businesses seek.

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.

Listening Guidelines For Global Managers

The following listening guidelines were prepared by a Cincinnati translation services worker and will help you become a more effective manager:

1. Accept criticism: We sometimes implement “brilliant” policies. Others don’t see the brilliance, only the problems. Listen to employee criticism with an open mind. Employee feedback might lead to a truly “brilliant” policy.

2. Be physically attentive. Don’t say you want feedback and then give the opposite impression by opening mail, checking the latest stock market quotes, or looking over your latest computer printouts while someone is talking. Instead, take the advice of a Chinese translator in Chicago and give the person your attention by giving appropriate verbal and nonverbal feedback. This might include leaning slightly toward the person, keeping eye contact, and listening in a comfortable, stress-free place.

3. Watch nonverbal communication. Scientists studying nonverbal communication (kinesics) claim that about half a person’s communication is nonverbal. So watch for signs of stress, lack of eye contact, discomfort, tone of voice – whatever might give you clues as to what the person is really saying. Being physically attentive obviously aids in deciphering nonverbal communication.

4. Listen for what’s not said. How often have you talked with someone and “beat around the bush”? For some reason, you can’t say exactly what’s on your mind. This often happens when employees try talking with their boss. As one Cleveland translation services manager worker explains, until your employees can trust you to listen with an open mind, you have to listen for what’s not said. Or as some managers put it, “Listen between the lines.”

5. Consider the other person’s emotions and background. Some people’s behavior, background, and motivations are so different from ours that we tend to ignore their perceptions. Learn to suppress, or better yet, eliminate, such biases. Listen to their point of view. You might learn something.

6 . Don’t be manipulative. The manager who listens succeeds- unless employees or customers believe the listening is manipulative, a ploy to take advantage or manipulate them. This form of dishonesty will backfire fast.

Give positive feedback by showing that listening is a tool that helps everyone, not just managers. So give credit where it belongs. If someone comes up with an excellent idea, don’t take the credit. If someone comes with a problem, don’t just listen and then use what you’ve heard as a good topic for conversation (and laughs) at the next manager’s meeting. And don’t fake listening to placate people.

As a manager who listens, you can meet your objectives for employee motivation, morale, teamwork, and readiness to accept change by listening. Listening allows everyone into the process of creating an enjoyable, productive, and successful work environment. Just remember the words of Calvin Coolidge (30th U.S. President): “Nobody ever listened himself out of a job.”

Some historians claim “Silent Cal” listened himself right into the White House.

TYPES OF LISTENING

Listening can take many forms. In this section we will discuss critical, discriminative, therapeutic, appreciative, and courteous listening.

Critical Listening
Critical listening involves analyzing and interpreting a message. As one Houston Translation worker explained, analysis requires judging the message for facts, documentation, logic, relationships, inferences, personal biases, unsupported opinions, and other qualities of reason and truth. We use this form of listening whenever people try to persuade us to their point of view.

Discriminative Listening
All of us hope people are listening indiscriminately when we’re explaining a concept, giving instructions, describing a process, outlining a proposal, giving a report, lecturing, or otherwise speaking informatively. Discriminative listening involves comprehension and recall. As a discriminative listener, Washington D.C. translation services workers suggest that you should listen for details, grasp the thesis, understand relationships, follow sequences, develop questions and answers, summarize main points, evaluate ideas, store information, recall main points, and give feedback – essential skills in college and business .

Therapeutic Listening
Therapeutic listening involves listening with empathy; that is, with understanding of another’s feelings, beliefs, and values. In contrast to critical and discriminative listening, which call for judging and evaluating, therapeutic listening is nonjudgmental, calling instead for supportive and sympathetic verbal and nonverbal feedback. As defined by a French translator in Chicago, Therapeutic listening is the form of listening used when employees have work-related or personal problems, when your friends need someone to talk to, when children need a good listener, or whenever someone wants to talk something out.

Feedback in therapeutic listening serves to keep the person talking. Verbal feedback would include comments like: “I see,” “What did you do then?” “What do you think made you react that way?” “Uh huh.” “Yes.” Nonverbal feedback would include sympathetic gestures, smiles, nods, and leaning toward the speaker. Therapeutic listening creates an atmosphere that lowers the speaker’s defenses, allowing the speaker to verbalize whatever is troubling him or her.

Routine Claims and Adjustments

Claim letters request adjustments for such things as defective or damaged merchandise, inadequate or inappropriate service, or any grievance concerning goods or services. Adjustment letters are responses to those claims.

Writing Claim Letters

A Spanish translator in Indianapolis suggests that claim letters fall into two groups: routine claims and persuasive claims. Routine claims follow the direct plan since the claim is typically backed by a contract, warranty, guarantee, or the company’s reputation for fair and honest treatment of customers. Persuasive claims aren’t as clear-cut. You have to persuade the company of your claim’s merits before you request a specific action such as a refund, exchange, or credit.

When making a routine claim, many Houston translation services companies suggest that translators follow the direct plan. State your request or problem in the first sentence, then explain. Close courteously, repeating the action desired. Thanking the company in advance is presumptuous and unnecessary. If the claim is valid, a reputable firm will honor it. If you wish, once the firm has resolved the claim, you can write a thank-you note.

Keep your tone courteous and reasonable. Understandably, you might be angry or frustrated with, say, a defective product, but insulting or berating a reader is offensive. Since no one appreciates being insulted, your reader could retaliate by ignoring your claim. It’s far less important to express your dissatisfaction than to achieve results: a refund, a replacement, improved service, better business relations, or an apology. But don’t make your tone apologetic or meek either. Explain objectively, yet firmly, why you’re dissatisfied and stipulate whatever reasonable action the firm must take to satisfy you.

Lastly, when pressing a claim, some companies offering Japanese translation in Chicago have explained the problem and give enough details so the reader clearly understands the basis for your claim. For instance, it is better to say that the alarm clock you bought gains an hour a day than to say it’s defective. Identify the faulty item clearly, giving serial and model numbers. Then propose what you consider a fair adjustment, phrasing your statement so your reader will honor your claim.

In the following letter, the writer assumes that the firm will honor his claim, so he doesn’t ask whether it will. Rather, he works from his assumption and asks directly how to return his skis for repair. Note that the writer uses an attention line to direct his claim to the right department (he doesn’t know the name of the person responsible for making adjustments, and he wants to avoid an awkward salutation such as Dear Sirs, Gentlemen, or Dear Ladies and Gentlemen. The subject line and its reemphasis in the first sentence make clear the nature of the claim. Although the letter is a routine claim, the time span is worth noting; sixteen years separate the purchase from the claim, which is based on a lifetime guarantee.

Responding to Credit Requests and Inquiries

Most Denver translation services specializing in businesses communication will answer two types of letters about credit for their clients: potential customers requesting credit, and firms requesting information on a credit applicant. Unless circumstances indicate that an individualized letter is preferable, as in the case of a potentially large account, form letters are acceptable for favorable credit replies.

The following form letter prepared by a Chicago Translation company follows the direct plan, giving the good news right away: Credit has been approved. Next, credit terms are explained and the letter closes positively. The handwritten postscript provides a personal touch, even though it tries to sell something.

Your credit line has been approved for $2,500. You may begin using your account immediately.  Finance charges are computed on your average daily balance during the billing period by using a periodic rate of 1.5% monthly (18% annually) on a balance of less than $500, and 1% monthly (12% annually) on a balance over $500. You may pay your entire new balance within thirty days of the closing date, and avoid additional finance charges.

Thank you for opening your account with Home Care.

We look forward to serving you.

Sincerely,

Janet Hamilton
Credit Manager

Businesses respond to credit-information requests from other companies. Often the inquiring company will send a time-saving, fill-in-the-blanks form letter with such questions as:

  • How long has the customer had a credit account with your firm?
  • What are the customer’s paying habits and credit limit?
  • How much does the customer now owe?

If a form letter doesn’t fit the circumstances, the company sends a direct-request inquiry. A Spanish translator in Kansas City has provided an example of a  letter that responds to such an inquiry. Notice that the writer makes no personal judgments; she sticks to the facts concerning Mr. Rudner’s account with her company. And although she ends on a positive note, she stops short of making a recommendation, since she can only describe Mr. Rudner’s payment history, not his future payment habits.

ROUTINE INQUIRIES AND REQUESTS

Companies write and receive requests and inquiries daily concerning products, services, personnel, and operations. Responses to these routine inquiries and requests are excellent opportunities for firms to promote sales and goodwill.  Such letters should be answered promptly and graciously, as an inept response can generate more negative feelings than no response at all.

ROUTINE INQUIRIES AND REQUESTS

When inquiring about a firm’s products or services, Chicago German translation workers instruct their clients to be clear, specific, and brief. Vague, general questions will elicit vague, general answers. If you have a number of questions, list them rather than embedding them in paragraphs. Lists can help your readers organize their answers, thereby increasing your chances of getting all the information you want.

Responding to Inquiries

To promote goodwill and sales, your response to letters about products and services should be prompt and cordial. Often, Denver Translation workers find that companies successfully use form letters to answer general inquiries. In some cases a form letter, or, for that matter, a personal letter that doesn’t answer all the prospective customer’s questions, does little to retain goodwill. If customers can’t get specific answers, they will turn elsewhere for both the answers and the product.

Most inquiries concern products and services. Companies also receive a variety of requests or inquiries from students working on course projects, researchers and educators studying business practices, organizations seeking information, and people seeking answers to particular problems.

Insightful companies answer all reasonable inquiries promptly, since at the least, they know they are enhancing their images and promoting goodwill – while helping someone.