Inttranews Special Report - Cihat Salman
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Uniquely positioned between East and West, Turkey has always
played a strategic role. Now that the EC has accepted to start
negotiations for the country to join the European Union, the
Turkish interpreting and translation market is of even greater
interest. Inttranews set out to find out more, by interviewing
Cihat Salman, Inttranet Regional Administrator for Turkey and
Managing Director of Mirora Translations and Consultancy Ltd.
Inttranews : Can you briefly describe your own personal
After working as a banker for many years most of which I spent
abroad, I and Mete Özel, my colleague from Istanbul University,
decided to realize our dream of setting up our own company,
Ozel Egitim Danismanl?k Ltd., or Sti as it's known in the
local market and Mirora (our registered brand name) in the
international market. I had worked as a translator on and
off until our company was established, but today administrative
work prevents me from doing the job (translation) I've always
Inttranews : When did your company start up operations?
We started in 1997
Inttranews : What are the main difficulties you have
to face, and how do you overcome them?
The main difficulty in Turkish translations is to find the
right freelancers since we do not have a fully active translators
association in Turkey which would test and rate the quality
and ability of translators. In addition to our 16 in-house
staff, we have a sound base of freelancers now, but it took
us many years to build it and we had to overcome many difficulties
to achieve this portfolio of qualified translators.
Inttranews : What percentage of your business is with
We started our international marketing activities in the second
half of 2003, and the volume with EC countries has already
reached 20% of our business, and it's still rising.
Inttranews : Have you noted any change in recent years
in that percentage?
We certainly have. Turkey's full dedication to join the union,
and the developments over the last year seem to have accelerated
the demand for Turkish translations in Europe. We believe
that when Turkish is accepted as an official European language
this demand will be even higher.
Inttranews : What, in your opinion, will be the main
changes in the interpreting and translation market in Turkey
if the country joins the EC?
As a member of EU, Turkey will be more attractive for European
and international investors with its relatively cheaper and
well-educated labour force, good economic and technological
know-how, and its good relations in the Middle and Near East.
This should definitely increase the need for qualified Turkish
translators as increasing social, cultural, and trade relations
between Turkey and EU will create a demanding market.
Inttranews : What are the main languages in which
Almost all the languages. We have the capacity of handling
large multilingual projects, and we already handle such projects
for many leading brands in the local market for their international
marketing and sales activities.
Inttranews : In other countries in Europe, interpreting
and translation is mainly a woman's job. Is this the case
in Turkey as well?
Not at all. Although the nature of the job creates an opportunity
for those who prefer to work from home, and this definition
seems to suit women better than it suits men, it's not the
case in Turkey.
Inttranews : Were there any restrictions imposed in
the past on translation into Kurdish or other minority languages,
and if so, has the situation now changed?
In fact, as everyone knows Turkish is the official language
of Turkey and there are many dialects and local languages
including Kurdish, and until the early 80's when there was
no Kurdish problem Kurdish had been spoken freely with no
legal restrictions or bans. Then the Kurdish problem began
to appear and not only translation but even speaking Kurdish
in public was banned. Things have changed now and the country's
dedication to join the EU certainly had a very positive impact
on its efforts for a free and fully democratic society. Kurdish
is now spoken freely with no restrictions whatsoever. As an
interesting point, many other local and minority languages
spoken in Turkey have always enjoyed "the freedom of expression".
Inttranews : Certification of interpreters and translators
(ISO, legal, medical etc.) is increasing in importance in
Europe. Is this the case in Turkey?
Not yet, but it certainly will be an important issue in Turkey
as well in the years to come.
Inttranews : As someone who has experience of other
countries, what makes the language market in Turkey so unique?
Actually, Turkish is quite extraordinary to the extent that
it belongs to the same language family as Japanese; it's enriched
with many localized Persian and Arabic words, and it uses
the same alphabet with languages of Latin and German origin
but with some different characters. This is why the language
market in Turkey is unique and this is why it's difficult
to find the right translation partner as end-users of Turkish
texts need support in DTP as well which is not a service properly
provided by many translation agencies.
Inttranews : Is there any other subject about the
language industry in your country that you feel is of particular
importance? If so, what is it?
As the members of translation industry, we must improve our
relations with the universities to encourage them to change
their curriculum in a way to meet the needs of the language
market, and we must find a way to test and rate the translators.
Inttranews : If there was one thing you could change
in your market, what would it be?
Quality expectation of the end user. We Turks are a bit weird!
When we buy a new product we don't read its instruction manual.
We simply start using it right away and usually do something
wrong. And only then do we refer to the manual to figure out
why some strange smoke is coming out of it, but find nothing
because the translator did not take it seriously and probably
thought "no one will read the manual anyway!"
Inttranews : Is there any way in which the international
translation community can be of use to you?
Our industry is technology-dependent, and we use lots of software
products such as Trados, Adobe products, Project Management
tools, and word count software the prices of which are unfortunately
too high for even the agencies. The international translation
community should stand together to have a better negotiation
ground and get better prices for said software products
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