This week we interviewed Claudia Infantes, our project manager. Claudia holds two degrees: English Philology and Translation, and she broadened her studies further with a master's degree in Interpreting. Claudia has worked as a sworn translator and has experience managing projects for other international companies. She's still continuing her training today, in programming languages and management process improvement.
- How many languages do you speak?
Three: English, German, and Spanish.
- What made you choose this profession?
I came from a scientific background, and at the point in my life when I ruled out it out going forward, I figured translation would be a field where I could use the skills I like the most - speaking languages - which would also enable me to learn more about diverse subjects, above all in the scientific/technical field. As a project manager you're exposed to a number of different specialist areas: literature, marketing, trade, finance, engineering... It's a way of not losing touch with fields that I would've missed otherwise.
- Do you like what you do? Why?
Yes, I like what I do a lot. I'm in touch with a huge variety of clients and subject matters, and it's fascinating managing projects of different natures and sizes, and all with their own individual characteristics. What's more, the improvements to our translation tools - which I'm working on - bring about visible and really satisfying results. And working on improving our own translation tools is really visible work - we can see all the improvements as they're being made. I like contributing to the improvement of translation processes and innovations in the company.
- Has the way tools are used changed much since you've been here?
It really has. We've implemented two quite significant improvements: quality control, to align our quality processes with other industry standard tools; and fuzzy matches, something that's particularly important today to guarantee translation quality and reduce the margin of error.
- What would you say has been your biggest personal achievement at AT?
The design and implementation of the quality control tool and fuzzy matches. I began by analysing the requirements, comparing the characteristics and functionalities of other tools on the market, designing new tools, and describing functionalities... These functions are continuing to grow on a trial and error basis as we're in constant contact with translators. It's a pretty long process, but on the other hand it's exciting - you can see designs that were only on paper a few months ago becoming a reality.
- What is the most difficult challenge you've faced since you've been working here?
The implementation of quality control, because it's involved so much analysis, time, discussions, and changes of plan - as well as listening to everyone involved in the process, such as the translators. What we now have is a very powerful tool, but it was designed a long time ago which is why we've created these upgrades: to improve the task of translators without it having an impact on their work.
- Which direction do you think the translation sector is going in?
Towards machine translation. Translators will end up being post editors. The technological advances we've made in terms of machine learning and deep learning are inevitable, and I think this company is doing pretty well in adapting to the new times. It's interesting to be here and see how things are evolving in this direction, and see how we can keep up with progress.
- In your opinion, what makes AT stand out from the competition?
Its development of technological solutions, the human team behind it, and the energy and eagerness for innovation across the board at the company.
- Technology and translation are very different. How do you think they fit together at AT?
I don't think they are different. For the majority of companies that want to get ahead, processes are being automated based on artificial intelligence - this involves language processing and analysing data to give better results. This company is pretty well-aligned with the direction technology is going in. The fact that powerful companies like Google and Microsoft are devoting resources to improving their machine translation engines speaks volumes in terms of how technology and translation complement each other.
- Do you think translation is important when you travel?
Yes. Until relatively recently, we'd communicate in English when travelling. Wherever you went, you would speak English. Now machine translators on devices can make life much easier, but the truth is you lose the human factor - you can't play around with the person you're communicating with or end up finding out new things.
- If you left AT today, what's the most important thing you'd take with you?
The people I've met. The team at AT is fantastic. I'd miss people and the contact I have with clients: we've got a really varied portfolio - and I'd miss the contact with all the powerful technology too.
To sum up, technology has had an impressive and significant impact on the day-to-day lives of translators and project managers. This is all very positive because it means we can work much faster and it makes work easier - but having said that, the human element will never be replaced by machines.