Can you tell us about HeliCo Translation’s areas of operation?
At HeliCo Translation, our services are mainly divided into two categories: interpretation and written translation. And of course, there are many other services within these categories. In the written translation category, we provide services for sworn (notarized) translations, localization (making the slogans, guides, products, promotional texts for widely used foreign brands to sound more natural in Turkish), proofreading (increasing the quality of translations by reviewing texts, as we do for all our translations), editing, machine translation post-editing, article writing, desktop publishing (DTP), transcription, and subtitle translation. In the interpretation category, we provide consecutive interpretation, simultaneous interpretation, and over-the-phone interpretation services. We provide these services in fields such as law, finance and banking, construction and architecture, information technologies, academic issues, marketing, advertising, and tourism.
You have certainly heard the phrase “subject matter expert translator”, right? At HeliCo Translation, all translations are done by a team of professional translators with education, training, and experience in various fields, something necessary to deliver genuinely high-quality translations.
The number of employees changes constantly, based on projects and demand. Right now, we have six contracted translators on our team. We also work regularly and concurrently with 20 different freelance translators. This number can rise up to as many as 60 concurrent freelancers on more strenuous projects. Our primary goal at HeliCo Translation is to build a close relationship with this great team. We do everything possible to maintain a nonhierarchical, empathic, interconnected, and dynamic team. Ultimately, we are all translators.
Now, I should count them all for you as quick as lightning. High-quality, fast, affordable, expert... Everyone makes the same promises, but we bring these promises to life. Of course, it requires hard work to turn words into actions.
What makes us most proud is that we focus only on our services and on “how we can provide the same service better”. When you take a look at translation companies, you easily notice that they just operate for the money. Especially in Turkey, they are located right next to notaries, translate documents that they have ready-to-translate templates, and a couple of linguists translate all kinds of documents. To prevent this, everyone at HeliCo Translation is specialized in their work or in the subject they work on. The most important thing that sets us apart is that we are a company made up of academically proficient translators and that closely monitors the changes in the sector and in translation technologies around the world.
Since being a translator demands that we tear down our limits, you must communicate with the rest of the world. We constantly follow new trends, learn from them, and apply this knowledge to our services. We participate in international expositions, discover our colleagues’ methods and technologies, and use them to promote our business. We do all of this to provide our high-quality services faster and in a more organized manner.
Could you also talk a little about your goals? Where would you like to see your company in five years?
I look to five years ago and realize just how far we’ve come. As long as we focus not on how to rake in more profits but on what we learned while working, on adapting to change, and on even being the source of changes, I believe that we will continue to grow rapidly.
By discussing these great advances, we naturally try to present ourselves to individuals and companies, in other words, to anyone who needs the services we offer. Because we do this job well, and we will continue to do it well. If you want to receive good service and, therefore, feel valued, we are always there for you.
Looking inward at our company, I can say that we will continue to work toward enhancing our team of fantastic employees who care about their profession and keeping this team strong. Because, no matter how qualified we are, I believe that we can actually change people’s perception that good service is unattainable. Five years from now, we anticipate bigger changes and developments at HeliCo Translation, just based on our experiences in the past five years.
Actually, I would like to talk about the both sides of the profession: the challenges and the entertaining aspects. Us translators, we’re people who do not like to remain steady and must not remain steady. We constantly travel domestically or internationally for interpretation projects. I remember feeling very nervous when I attended a ministerial meeting, where any uttered inaccurate word or sentence can cause grave misunderstandings. And exactly at moments like this, you have to free yourself from emotions and concentrate on the task at hand. I think of this as a challenge of our profession. Maybe it’s the challenges that make us love our profession so much.
Besides this, on the HeliCo Translation Team, we learn new things every day. We become quite informed on topics, about which we would never have read in a different profession. We are constantly researching, reading, and learning; our job demands that we be open to new things. And I think this is the most fun aspect of my profession.
I can say that our profession is very interesting in general. There are times when I have experienced some pretty extraordinary things. One of my most unforgettable memories was when I interpreted a speech by İlber Ortaylı. I was a simultaneous interpreter at one of İlber Ortaylı’s speeches. Before the speech, I was really nervous, because I knew that he was going to use long sentences and words of various origins. But he is an excellent speaker, and it was very fun to translate his speech. I can say that working as a simultaneous interpreter for his speech was one of the most extraordinary and unforgettable things that I have ever done.
Can you translate swear words and other inappropriate phrases? Do you have certain set of rules on how to handle these?
Although quite rarely, there have been times when I had to deal with this sort of situation. Let me give you the first example that comes to my mind. There was a project in which we had to transcribe (converting into a written format) and translate the voice recordings of two well-known senior executives of major companies in Turkey, because they were being sued. The recordings contained some of those “inappropriate words” you mentioned earlier, yet this translation had to be complete and accurate, because it was going to be submitted for evidence. So we translated all of it, exactly the way it was.
But you have to be very careful about this issue when translating or producing voice-overs for TV series that will be aired. Some content needs to be softened a little or adjusted for television. But you still have to provide a complete translation in these situations. We sometimes find ourselves in situations where we have to employ different methods based on the target audience.
Are there any other thoughts that you want to add?
I think that our profession is not fully understood and the importance of which is often disregarded. But it is our duty to inform people about the aspects and importance of this job. I hope I was able to tell you even just a little bit about the various aspects of the profession. All of us at HeliCo Translation would like to thank you for visiting our office for an interview. We are very pleased to have hosted you.
And all of us at Antalya Hayat Magazine would like to extend our gratitude for the important information you provided and wish you success in your professional life.
Interviewer: Aynur Eryılmaz
Interviewee: Burcu Demirörs
Date: March 2018