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CETRAblog Has Moved

9 Jun

CETRAblog is now incorporated in CETRA’s main website. Current subscribers, please renew your subscription at Thanks and happy reading! Jiri


Day in the Life of a Language Services Provider

10 May

When assembling materials for the Philadelphia Inquirer article titled “Translating and interpreting is a growing, but uneven, industry“, the reporter Jane M. Von Bergen asked CETRA Language Solutions for a list of requests received on a single day. Here is the list (also available in the Business Section of

2:30 a.m.: A Taiwanese company needs to code Chinese responses to a survey.

6 a.m.: An Irish medical-device company wants a price for translating a website into 10 languages, including Arabic, Japanese, and Farsi.

8 a.m.: A South Dakota state health agency must translate a brochure into Khmer.

9:20 a.m.: A law firm needs a Korean interpreter in four hours to help a family follow a trial regarding a child’s drowning.

10 a.m.: A research company needs to translate a physicians’ survey about psoriasis into French, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Italian.

10:55 a.m.: A public-relations agency needs eight American Sign Language interpreters for a one-day event in four cities, including Philadelphia.

11:15 a.m.: A video remote interpretation for Haitian Creole is needed the next day at a regional courthouse.

11:30 a.m.: A highly confidential intelligence document must be translated from Urdu into English in 12 hours. Security clearance is required.

Noon: Two Japanese interpreters are needed for market-research interviews.

1 p.m.: A market-research company has a 24-hour deadline for a review of an online survey translated into 10 languages.

1:30 p.m.: A hospital immediately needs a Zulu interpreter to help a patient and a doctor communicate in a critical behavioral-health situation.

7:45 p.m.: Interpreters in five languages are needed for a forthcoming national life-sciences conference.

11:55 p.m.: The U.S. Embassy in a French-speaking African country gives a three-day deadline to translate a 10-page document into French.

SOURCE: CETRA Language Solutions, Elkins Park

Read more…

Translating and interpreting is a growing, but uneven, industry

9 May


Jiri Stejskal, president of CETRA Language Solutions, an Elkins Park company that supplies translators and interpreters. Photo Jane M. Von Bergen


By Jane M. Von Bergen, Inquirer Staff Writer

Like many other sectors, language services face unique challenges, said Jiri Stejskal, president of CETRA Language Solutions, an Elkins Park company that supplies translators, interpreters, and localization experts to a range of clients. That’s how most interpreters and translators get work.

One issue is machine translation. “It’s not quite there yet,” Stejskal said. He pulled out a screen grab of a Philadelphia government website that used the familiar journalism term “lead story” on its home page. Somehow in Spanish it morphed into a “story about metal,” featuring a photograph of former Mayor Juan F. Calle (John Street).

But a more fundamental and ongoing struggle is to educate employers about the difference between being simply bilingual and truly qualified.

Top interpreters need to hear what is said and speak it in another language simultaneously. That’s the gold standard used at the United Nations and international conferences, and high proficiency can merit a six-figure income.

That level of ability isn’t the same as language skills gained by growing up in a bilingual household. “Knowing how to cook doesn’t make you a chef,” Stejskal said.

Read more…

Toughening Language Tests for Court Interpreters

2 May

Tony Guerra, Director of Interpreting Services at CETRA Language Solutions

Toughening language tests for court interpreters limiting number of interpreters

By Jane M. Von Bergen, Inquirer Staff Writer

Nothing in Pennsylvania’s beefed-up requirements for court interpreters would have helped administrator Osvaldo Aviles solve the problem he faced last week.

The job? Interpreting for a Nigerian participant in a case in Pittsburgh. “The problem is that we have to find out which of the 57 Nigerian dialects this person speaks,” Aviles said.

That was last week’s challenge. On Saturday, Aviles, who administers the state’s court interpretation program, has another one: He must convince 70 foreign-language court interpreters and translators that the state’s strengthened regulations matter, even if they mean many of them will be out of work.

In 2006, Pennsylvania enacted a law requiring court interpreters to take tests proving they can listen to and simultaneously translate court proceedings as they occur.

The regulations included a grace period to gain certification. That ended Jan. 1, hence the rising anxiety among interpreters.

Read more…

US Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon for CETRA

3 Mar

Elkins Park, PA, March 1, 2011– Jiri Stejskal, President and CEO of CETRA Language Solutions, is pleased to announce that CETRA has been recognized as a Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winner by the US Chamber of Commerce for the third year in a row.

“The recipients of this year’s Blue Ribbon Small Business Award are on the forefront of our economic recovery,” said Thomas J. Donohue, U.S. Chamber president and CEO. “These small businesses are our nation’s job creators, and this award recognizes their significant contributions to our economy.”

Read more…

Season’s Greetings from CETRA’s CEO

4 Jan
On behalf of the CETRA team, I would like to thank all of you for helping us to make 2010 our best year ever and to wish you the very best in 2011.
This year, with the help of 700 translators and interpreters we served more than  600  clients around the world. CETRA has received multiple awards, including the Philadelphia 100, Inc. 5000, and the US Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon. Among the most exciting developments was our expansion to Washington, DC. Our new office in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center has become the main hub for CETRA’s government contracts and we are well positioned to further expand our services to the federal government.
We also introduced new services such as American Sign Language interpretation and grew our presence in the market research, life sciences, and legal sectors. CETRA continues to be a good corporate citizen and in 2010 raised $7,500 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In fact, philanthropy became our new focus for 2011 and beyond. To that end we modified our mission statement to include our determination to not only do well, but also to do good. We are planning further expansion in 2011, both in terms of opening new offices and offering new services such as telephonic and video interpreting.
We wish you a happy and prosperous 2011 and look forward to working with many of you!
Jiri Stejskal, President & CEO of CETRA

How the Language Services Industry Gives Back

18 Dec

Article by Natally Kelly in The Huffington Post

As John F. Kennedy once said, “for of those to whom much is given, much is required.” The language services industry has certainly been given plenty in 2010 — it grew at a rate of more than 13 percent, at a time when many sectors suffered. In a context of economic uncertainty, these fortunate companies are in a unique position to make a positive impact on the world through charitable giving. In the spirit of the holiday season, here are some of the ways that translation and interpreting providers have shared the wealth and given back to those less fortunate in 2010:

Fighting against disease. Translation companies supported various health-related causes, such as donating to the United Cerebral Palsy Association (Biro 2000), raising money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (CETRA), sponsoring employees in races to eradicate brain tumors (Acclaro), and volunteering for organizations that provide services for individuals with mental disabilities (GWK). Language service providers also volunteered for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (Healthcare Language Services), translated information for Talk about Curing Autism (Global Language Solutions), and donated to various charities, such as the St. Thomas Lupus Trust (LTC), and National Autistic Society (Xerox).

Giving a lift to children. Several language service suppliers supported children by donating translation services to the Children’s Inn at the National Institute for Health (Schreiber Translations), Whole Child International (Global Language Solutions), and Operation Smile (Verbatim Solutions). Other companies donated items to orphanages (Exprimo) and provided long-term care and job training for orphans in China through the Children Are Us Foundation (Lionbridge).

Boosting education. Interpreting and translation firms are staunch supporters of education. They funded scholarships for education in translation and interpreting (Interpro, Language Service Associates, VITS). They also raised or donated funds to schools (ETNOtrend, TranslationSmart). And, they helped young people understand the benefits of learning a second language and working in the translation industry (thebigword, Language Connect, TransAction Translators).

Helping with disaster recovery. Translation entities gave away free translation and interpreting services for victims of severe flooding (Biro 2000, P&L Translations, Tennessee Association of Medical Interpreters and Translators). Language groups also helped provide language services to disaster victims in Haiti (ALTA Language Services, Hermes Traducciones, International Medical Interpreters Association, Language Line Services, LifeLinks, Pacific Interpreters, T-System, Transparent Language, Transperfect) and donated to earthquake relief (Northwest Interpreters).

Serving and rebuilding impoverished communities. Companies in the language industry tend to have a global view. They donated books and other items to a village in West Africa (Anzu Global), funded non-profits that conduct operations for patients with severe health issues in Africa (Hermes Traducciones) allocated funds toward building a bridge in a remote area of Nepal (SDL Foundation), and translating for rural communities (Translationary).

Supporting spiritual and environmental causes. Some providers also sought to give to religious organizations, by translating a website for a Nepalese Buddhist Foundation (EQHO) and translating information for a local Catholic church (Ocean Translations). Others focused on the environment, having their employees join forces to clean polluted river banks (All Correct Language Solutions) and helping to finance reforestation projects in various countries (TradOnline).

Donating language services and technology. Many companies donate free translation and interpreting services to groups that stand for causes they believe in, such as Bullying Canada (Accents Language Solutions), Special Olympics Europe (Lionbridge, MAGIT), the Ronald McDonald House (Same Day Translations), NGO Plan Spain (Tara-Lenguas), the Well Project (Lionbridge), Twestival Global (Virtual Words ), and multiple causes (Assointerpreti, Globalme, the Language Lab), One company donated videophones to facilitate communication with the deaf (Significan’t).

Opening their wallets. Some companies gave money to local food pantries (Language Solutions), local health care and dental service providers for underserved communities (Metaphrasis), refugee and immigrant health care charities (Multi-Languages Corporation), and micro-lending site Kiva (PB Translations). One company established a “linguist of the year” award, allowing the winner to donate a cash prize to a charity of their choosing (HTT).

Developing and delivering training. Language service providers also gave back in the form of providing free training on diverse topics, such as vocational training for disadvantaged workers (SeproTec Multilingual Solutions), interpreting and violence against women (In Every Language), intercultural communication (Well Translated), disaster preparedness for interpreters (CETRA), and interpreting for victims of torture (Cross-Cultural Communications).

As if these examples of ways to give back aren’t enough, numerous language service providers joined forces to support Translators without Borders (Acrolinx, Andia, Rubric, RIGI Localization Solutions, MultiLingual Computing, Lionbridge, Medilingua, ProZ, Milengo). Founded by Lexcelera (Eurotext Group), the organization has saved humanitarian groups more than US$2 million since its establishment in 1993. Another important industry initiative is the Rosetta Foundation, (Welocalize, Multilingual Computing, PROMT, ONTRAM), which seeks to make information available to people from all over the world, regardless of language.

While there’s still plenty to be done in order to truly eliminate language barriers and make goods and services available to those in need of them, these companies’ cumulative actions go a long way in addressing those shortfalls.