A tale of a happy interpreter (found using the Online Directory) about being recognised and appreciated professionally, and at the same time contributing to opening the door to Aussie manufacturers to new markets in non-English speaking countries
METS Ignited is a Brisbane-based consultancy company working with Australian suppliers to the global mining industry, research organisations, and capital providers to maintain and improve the global competitiveness and productivity of the Australian mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.
AUSTMINE is the leading industry body for the Australian METS sector.
Linkminers Peru is a Peruvian technology platform that seeks to generate business opportunities between mining companies and suppliers around the world wishing to provide solutions to the Peruvian and Latin American (LATAM) mining sector.
METS Ignited, AUSTMINE and Linkminers Peru jointly spent several months this year identifying mining companies in LATAM who could benefit from Australian-sourced mining products and services. Their aim was to link up South American mines with specific challenges to Australian suppliers that could provide solutions.
The range of challenges went from increasing productivity of metal recovery, to next-generation process optimisation, tracking and proximity issues with people and vehicles working underground, and looking after environmental issues using best scientific practices.
Any products or services finally adopted (and contracted) by LATAM mines would represent substantial contracts and sales to Australia, which in time, would inject badly needed financial resources into the Australian economy via these exports.
AUSTMINE, METS Ignited and Linkminers Peru jointly organised the Virtual Supplier Development Program. The aim was to entice several mining enterprises in LATAM to submit challenges they were experiencing in terms of processes, equipment, safety and other issues in their mines and processing plants, which impact negatively on their productivity and on the safety of their staff, the environment and surrounding communities.
They invited a number of Australian suppliers to participate in a virtual (Zoom-online) ‘Technology Showcase’, through which they would be, inter alia, making a 10-minute presentation about the products and services that would resolve the issues as presented by the mines.
The distance between AUSTRALIA-LATAM is not an issue at this stage of initial negotiations, as we have Zoom and its virtues connecting anyone from anywhere in the world; however, there is another BIG issue… you guessed it:
AUSTMINE suggested that the leader of this program use the NAATI Online Directory, identify NAATI Certified interpreters (SPANISH-ENGLISH) with a specific professional profile, and send them an invitation to quote for their services.
Although it was left a bit too late (what else is new?) I was one of the Spanish interpreters to receive an invitation to quote for interpreting services. My terms and conditions were accepted so… it was time to ‘drop everything!’ and get my ‘inner miner’ going.
The “preparation machine” was kick-started, requesting specific information from my contact, such as a background to the project, slides to be used on the day and researching material about the companies involved, product guides, mining processes, issues of surrounding communities and other such necessary documentation.
The day came, ten different 10-minute snapshots of specific products and services were presented by the companies in response to a specific mining challenge, plus a few minutes for a Q&A going from Spanish to English and vice versa, all via Zoom!
As any experienced interpreter working for LATAM would tell you, there is a generic Spanish term to nominate different parts of equipment and mining processes, and then, there is… well… the local jargon that local Spanish-speaking engineers have been using since time immemorial at the mine.
It turns out that “bucket teeth” are known as “shovel claws” in Peruvian Spanish… makes sense, doesn’t it? And… as my colleagues will know, the trick is to be able to infer the meaning from your speaker’s rendition and stick to the ‘newfound’ term (even when your terminology is also ‘correct’).
But I digress…
Interpreting (consecutively this time) for ten different companies in a wide diversity of technical topics, from mining exploration, ore handling and characterisation, to mine processing, crushing, tracking and monitoring proximity of people and vehicles, to hydro-biology and environmental impacts has been one of the most challenging but most satisfying professional experiences I’ve had during this weird year of remote interpreting.
Having received very enthusiastic and positive feedback about my contribution to this project as a professional interpreter has left me elated, to say the least, as I believe that this endeavour will assist Australian firms and their staff to export their products overseas, and also make mining in LATAM more productive and less damaging in terms of environment and personal safety.
There is also follow-up translation work of the material into Spanish for miners to have information in their own language that documents the information provided on the day.
I can’t but think how wonderful it would be if everyone involved in any import-export business in Australia consulted the NAATI Online Directory to select truly professional interpreters.
This simple action would assist them in picking a person who will be an asset to their company by facilitating negotiations at any level, be it in the commercial, political, agriculture, wine, education and other important sectors of Australian life and in most of the languages of countries with whom Australia conducts international business.
At times government and non-government agencies complain about the quality of interpreting services they are receiving and show despair about what seems to be an insolvable problem.
I believe the NAATI Online Directory should be a trusted friend and ally to anyone who is looking for high quality interpreting services (even if you don’t need an interpreter sporting a miner’s hat!), but to ensure that you will always end up with an interpreter you can count on, in whatever area of life you work in, and one that will behave ethically and professional at all times.
Your client should not be exposed to high levels of risk receiving the wrong information from uncredentialled ‘interpreters’, you and your client deserve the services of someone who is appropriately trained and credentialed, in other words: a true interpreter.
The moral of this story is though, that the NAATI Online Directory is perhaps one of the best, but unfortunately, also a very under-utilised resources governments (including courts and hospitals) and industry have at their disposal in order to identify and source the best interpreters for the job.
And… thank you NAATI Online Directory for having been the vehicle for me to successfully join the efforts of the Virtual Supplier Development Program by AUSTMINE, METS Ignited and Linkminers Peru!
Patricia Argüello de Avila is a NAATI Certified Interpreter/Translator in Spanish.