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Taking the plunge: Languages in the mainstream

There are lifelong advantages to learning another language. Languages in the Mainstream is a partnership project between the Modern Language Teachers Association of Western Australia (MLTAWA) and the Office of Multicultural Interests.

It comprises a year-long series of activities and initiatives to promote language learning and celebrate cultural and linguistic diversity.

The first event on the project calendar is a public information session. This event will feature a series of five speakers looking at the cognitive, health, social and economic benefits of language learning.

Come along to win a course in the language you've always wanted to speak!


  • From birth through school: Modern Language Teacher Association of WA President Kate Reitzenstein reveals the cognitive benefits of language learning.
  • University to future career: UWA Masters of Engineering student James Heath learned French at school.  He tells us why his motivation for learning languages has changed.
  • Working around the world: Currently teaching English as a Second Language, Athanassia Iosifidou’s multilingual skills have led her on a journey involving different cultures at home and overseas.
  • For the greater good: Economist, State Treasurer and Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, The Hon. Dr Mike Nahan MLA discusses the economic and social benefits multilingualism can deliver to West Australians.
  • A better brain in old age: Senior Community Education Coordinator with Alzheimers WA, Heather Thorne shows us the health benefits of language learning in later life.

Key Details

  • Date: Tuesday 1 November
  • Time: 5pm - 7pm
  • Venue: State Library of Western Australia, 25 Frances Street, Perth
  • Cost: Free

Click here for more details or to register.

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Upcoming JTA PD Seminars

Our colleagues at the Japanese Translation Association (JTA) have extended an invitation to all NAATI accredited practitioners to attend (via live stream) some of their upcoming PD seminars over October and November. They include:

1. The International Paralegal Profession and Legal Translation 

Translation can be sometimes seen as a passive profession, consisting primarily of translators accurately transferring meaning between languages within a specified time frame. In contrast, international paralegals coordinate with related parties to meet specified objectives, offer suggestions as needed, and effectively use both Japanese and English in handling various formalities and creating necessary documents.

This seminar will cover the international paralegal profession and how this profession utilizes translation knowledge and skills. It will also offer tips on how to simultaneously build professional knowledge and translation skills.

Topics covered:

  • What is the international paralegal profession? 
  • How are international paralegals and translators different?
  • What do international paralegals do?
  • Where do international paralegals work?
  • What kind of mindset do international paralegals need?
  • What skills and knowledge do international paralegals need?
  • How to attain necessary knowledge, abilities and skills.
  • How to improve professionally.

Seminar date and time: Thursday, 27 October 2016, 6pm to 8pm (Japan time)

Click here to learn more.

2. Translating English Contracts into Japanese (Part 2) 

Reading legal material is difficult, even if it’s written in one’s native language! In this seminar, the key principles of legal translation will be covered using a real life example contract. It will also cover some common pitfalls and mistakes people make when translating contracts into English.

Topics covered:

  • Checkpoints for legal translation
  • Are you using colloquial English?
  • Do sentences make logical sense?
  • Are Expressions for Quantity and Duration of Time Accurately Translated?
  • Is their Consistency in Translation Terms Used?
  • Are the terms “and” and “or” Accurately Translated?
  • Commentary on Example Translation Used 

Seminar date and time: Thursday, 8 November 2016, 10am to 12pm (Japan time)

Click here to learn more.

The JTA was founded in 1986 with the goal of researching and developing translation skills, training translators, and conducting examinations and certifications related to translation.

All of JTA’s seminars are held at classrooms in Kichijo-ji, Japan or online. Zoom software is used to facilitate the online seminars, making it possible for practitioners to participate online from the comfort of your own home. JTA does provide instructions on how to use the Zoom system.

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How translators can benefit from yoga

By Sofia Pulici

Yoga has been a part of my life for nearly six years now. I was first drawn to yoga as a teenager. I liked the fact that it enables you to strengthen and calm the body and mind, and connect with yourself – but it was not until 2010 that I started practising yoga regularly.

Back then, I had no idea that I would benefit so much from it, and that regular practice would have such an enormous impact on all aspects of my life, including my work routine. Yoga has helped me to become much more aware of my body and mind.

As a consequence, I started making changes to my sitting posture and the position of my hands on the keyboard, while working. I noticed that my mind was calmer to reply to emails, communicate with direct clients, colleagues and agents, and reflect on translation options.

What amazes me the most is that this all seemed to happen naturally – as my mind became more alert and more aware of what was happening, I started to become more aware of my sitting posture, how my back is supported, how my hands bend or move while typing etc. This awareness allows me to make instant adjustments, paying heed to what my body or mind is trying to tell me.

For some time now, I have been keen to share all this information with my colleagues and fellow translators, so that those interested in starting this practice might also benefit from it. Below are some of the benefits that can be gained through regular yoga practice:

  • Releasing tension: as translators, we know all about tension, right? Tension can build up in the shoulders, neck and back muscles, in the eyes, even in the brain.
  • Releasing stagnant blood: translators sit for long hours and, and even if we take regular breaks and do physical exercise, we may forget about parts of the body that we do not move constantly.
  • Lubricating joints, including hip joints: this improves mobility (remember we experience long periods of sitting!) and helps prevent injuries.
  • Strengthening muscles: In particular, yoga can help strengthen the back and core muscles, which helps when sitting for long hours.
  • Irrigating the brain: excellent for the long hours of mental processing required of translators.
  • Stretching the muscles and spine: also good when sitting for long hours, as it helps align the spine, and causes energy and blood flow better.
  • Massaging internal organs: helping maintain perfect health of the organs, particularly in the lower abdominal region, which are compressed when we remain sitting for long hours.
  • Balancing and integrating the right and left hemispheres of the brain: positively influencing cognitive processes, helping with concentration and focus, and enabling us to learn better.
  • Releasing wind from the body: which, depending on the foods we eat, can accumulate with long hours sitting down.
  • Strengthening eye muscles: with eye cleansing techniques that strengthen the eyes and maintain eye health.

Yoga is beneficial for the mind and it helps reduce anxiety and increase concentration. A clearer, calmer mind can be helpful when negotiating with clients or tackling stressful projects. I have learned that, instead of getting anxious or stressed over something a client has said, I am able to react more calmly and consciously.

Yoga is not just about assuming certain body postures (called asanas). Other practices, such as meditation, yoga nidra(full body relaxation and deep state of consciousness), pranayama(breathing practice), and mantra chanting can all help you connect with your body and mind.

Some important notes about yoga:

  • Yoga is not something miraculous or supernatural. Yoga helps you become aware of your body and mind and remove the layers (misleading thoughts, habits, patterns) that hide your true essence.
  • Although it is not something supernatural, yoga is a serious, subtle practice and should be practised with the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor who is serious about the tradition.
  • In order to gain the full benefits, you need practice yoga regularly. It is better to have two regular weekly sessions than to practice yoga sporadically, or at irregular intervals.

Sofia Pulici is a linguist (MA Applied Linguistics) and a NAATI/ABRATES accredited Portuguese/English translator with 10 years’ experience. As a yoga practitioner since 2010, Sofia is committed to improving her yoga learning and techniques. She has studied Vedanta since October 2015 and has been learning the Sanskrit language. Sofia is also currently enrolled in a yoga training program. This article was originally published on the Carol’s Adventure in Translation blog and is reproduced with permission. 

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Will they come back when I come back?

By Cátia Cassiano

I’ve been a professional translator for almost 10 years. I love my job, but I must admit it has been a long journey to get where I am today. It is very hard to get your name in the market, but I believe that if you value quality, honesty and perseverance you will eventually get there.

However, your personal circumstances may change suddenly and that may cause great anxiety or concern. I’m going through this experience at the moment as I try to work out how to balance being a new mum without losing my clients.

After working hard over a long time, I’m finally getting more clients. In fact, the volume of my work has increased significantly over the past two years. The dilemma I face is that I don’t want to lose what took me almost 10 years to achieve, but I also didn’t want to miss out on being a mum.

So I’m trying to deal with it in the best way possible in order to minimise the effect on my clients and also be a great mother to my child. I know that one of the major concerns is how maternity leave would affect your revalidation cycle with NAATI.

I am appreciative of the fact that applications are assessed in a case-by-case basis. If you can’t meet the criteria for revalidation because you could not work for an extended period due to pregnancy, you can apply for an extension of your cycle by providing NAATI with medical evidence.

But my major concern is losing my clients. Will they come back when I come back? There’s only so much you can do to avoid losing clients after a long absence, but I believe there’s a few things that can certainly help.

For example, I’ve started by sending letters to my corporate clients three months in advance to make them aware of my upcoming maternity leave. This will help them to minimise any potential interruptions to their usual business.

Secondly, I tried to minimise the amount of full-time leave I am taking. I’ll be totally unavailable for three months and then I will be available on a part-time basis. I know this option may not work for everyone, but it was the best option available to me.

I’m very lucky that most of my maternity leave will be over the end of year holiday period which usually coincides with a slowdown in the amount of work. However, I still need to think of my clients and try to keep in touch with them over this period. At the same time, I will need to be there for my newborn child.

Whilst you can’t really control the volume of your work, I do believe that you can quickly make up professional development points with a little careful planning. It sounds hard, I know, but I believe it’s possible.

Even though I’m still worried that I might lose my clients at the end of the day, I know the quality of my work and I’ve invested time in building a great professional relationship with them. I am hopeful that my clients will recognise this and come back when I come back.

Cátia Cassiano is a professional Portuguese translator who has been living in Sydney since 2006. She is the founder of Updated Words. Catia is passionate about the translation industry and loves to share her knowledge with others.

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