Lost In Translation: Intro Memo

Lost In Translation? 

Within our “Views” memos, we’re going to run a few different series or threads on recurring topics – stuff that pops up repeatedly, or holds our attention over time.

One of those will be our Lost in Translation series, where we explore (and critique) performance blunders in our industry. Ironically, a lot of these missteps have nothing to do with the actual translation, and more to do with failing to properly produce and manage projects and events. 

While most of the memos will be directly related to the type of work we do, some will be related to other blunders we observe or hear about in the world at large (after all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy). 

In part, this series will provide a look into (and occasionally poke fun at) some of the pitfalls we will shield you from if you work with us. We hope to help you be more aware of the consequences of certain decisions, and to become a more discerning buyer of services. 

We also decided to write this series because we spend a lot of time thinking about how we can be better - this entails not only self reflection, but also looking at what works (or doesn’t work) for others. 

Negative Screens

We want to improve, and on that journey, we’ve learned that negative screens (things we want to avoid) can be as effective, if not more so, than positive screens (things we want to do). 

Our favorite example of this, beyond anything we could come up with that relates to simultaneous interpreting or translation, comes from Warren Buffet, legendary value investor and chair of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett, and his partner Charlie Munger have two rules in investing: 

Rule number one: “don’t lose money.” 

Rule number two: “don’t forget rule number one.”

See? Negative screens. 

That's mostly what this series will be about - things we want to avoid and prevent throughout the course of planning, preparing and executing language services and translation for your next event. 

So, keep an eye out for future installments of this series, some of which will seem like super obvious blunders, some will be understandable mistakes stemming from lack of experience, while others sneak up on smart folks who try to make things work in a clever way, but don’t truly realize the nuanced consequences of their craftiness. 

That’s all we’ll tease for now, thanks for reading, and until next time. 

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