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Topic: Best Practices
At Multilingual Connections, all of our team members bring their perspective and experience to the process – both professionally and personally. This month we would like to introduce Osvaldo de la Torre, a Language Quality Manager at Multilingual Connections. Osvaldo joined our team as a Spanish editor and has worked on hundreds of projects over the last 5 years. Now, most of his time is spent ensuring translation quality across languages, training and leading a team of translators and editors, and streamlining translation processes.
Meet Osvaldo, Language Quality Manager at Multilingual Connections:
Why and how did you start working in the translation industry?
I come from a family of immigrants and am myself an immigrant. My parents are Mexican and, like many people, they moved to the U.S. looking for a better life. My brother and I were born in California, and shortly after, my parents decided to move back to Mexico because they wanted us to grow up near family and with Mexican “cultural values.” In retrospect, I’m very glad they made that decision because I absolutely loved growing up in Mexico. When I was a teenager we moved back to the U.S., which required a big adjustment and was a big cultural and language shock for me (and my whole family, for that matter), but I think I tackled the challenges well.
I came to the translation industry from academia. I taught Spanish language and literature for a couple of years in adjunct positions. These positions seemed increasingly precarious to me, so I decided to make a career switch. I asked myself what my skills were, and the first thing that came to my mind was the fact that I am fully bicultural, that both my English and Spanish were very good, and that I loved translation. So the decision was made! At first I did a lot of interpreting, which didn’t fit my personality. One day I applied for an editor position at MLC, and the rest is history!
Which languages do you speak?
I speak English and Spanish. I have a reading knowledge of French, which I like to put into practice sometimes by reading arcane theory.
Describe your day at Multilingual Connections and what are you currently working on?
While I still do a little bit of translating and editing, I am mostly busy with training and quality-related projects, such as creating quality auditing processes and industry-specific term bases as well as managing our in-house Spanish team. I also have a couple of newsletters on the side that keeps me busy.
What do you like the most about working at Multilingual Connections?
I love knowing people from countries and cultures that are so unique and different from my own. I hope to be able to visit each one of them, and for them to visit me in Minnesota, so we can share our cultures. That would be a dream come true.
What goes into ensuring high translation quality?
Translation quality starts at the heart of our company – our people – and plays an important part in everything we do.
- Our Vendor Management team has a robust and complex recruitment process that ensures we fit the right person to the right job.
- Our project managers make sure to convey clear instructions to translators and do a wonderful job at mediating between clients and linguists, answering questions from both ends.
- And of course, every translation project goes through a thorough editing and quality assurance process before it gets delivered to the client.
- If there were any hiccups along the way, we meet, discuss, and set up new practices or modify old ones to develop the process for future projects.
How can clients prepare for a translation project?
First, always answer the question, “Who is your target audience?” and convey this information to your language service provider as early as possible. The more information you can share about your potential readers or recipients of your message, the better. Share your style guides, your branding documents – no information can be too trivial or excessive. A source text – a company slogan, for example – can be translated differently depending on your target audience, so sharing this information will have a positive effect on the impact and reach of the translation.
What do you do to stay motivated while working remotely?
I like to get up from my desk and, if possible, step outside. When I take a break, I also observe birds or other creatures. You shouldn’t let the world be reduced to the window that is your monitor. To paraphrase a French thinker, Georges Bataille; whether it’s a bee drinking from a wet stone, a robin turning its head as it listens to the earth for worms, an ant carrying an empty seed husk; the world will seem right in that moment.
What values drive you?
Respect, understanding, community, and collaboration. Keeping an open mind, listening to others, and being creative and flexible are vital in our multicultural work environment and in life in general. And when people work together and collaborate, they can do almost anything.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I would learn to ride on horseback.
Thank you, Osvaldo, for the interview and for your invaluable contributions to Multilingual Connections’ success over the last 5 years!