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Making sure nothing is "lost in translation"


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User research requires practitioners to convey a user’s message in the design of products and services. In particular interviewing and focus groups require excellent interpretation to allow the message to be conveyed authentically and without bias. The words we use to describe our analysis have a direct impact on how design is delivered. Have you ever wondered how well you achieve this? Do you wonder if you have introduced bias by some of the wording you have used?
Professional interpreting is an impressive skill requiring exceptional sensory, motor and cognitive skills when translating a client's message effectively and unambiguously. In interpreting it is important to capture the linguistic nuances in one language and recreating them in the other language, using style and register appropriate to settings, culture and client's needs [1]. What can we as User Experience practitioners learn from interpreting in conveying our own users message? How do we translate our users needs and do we do it effectively? Do we use the appropriate linguistic style and nuance when interpreting this message for our clients. What do you do to ensure you understand your client’s needs and how you translate it into a product they have in their mind?
In this practical hands on session we will witness some live interpreting and analyze the processes involved. Learn about some of the techniques used in interpreting, learn about the relevance to user research and try them out in some “hands on” user research. We will look closely at the importance of the language used and it’s nuances. Learn how to work on it to get more accurate and desirable outcomes. At the end of the session you should know what skills are used in effective translation and interpretation. You will also know how you can effectively train yourself to be a better interpreter and effectively become better at understanding and communicating with others.

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Making sure nothing is "lost in translation"

  1. 1. Making sure nothing is “lost in translation” “Language Scramble” by Eric Anderson (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  2. 2. I am a User Experience Consultant based in Cambridge, UK I tweet @Paula_deMatos I am South African & Portuguese A special interest in the cross-pollination of related domains e.g. Information Visualization. Paula de Matos Photo Credit: Jenny Cham
  3. 3. • My name is Boguslawa Kaplan • I live in Cambridge • I am a freelance interpreter and translator • My working languages are Polish and English • I specialise in public services interpreting
  4. 4. Thank you to Nikiforos Karamanis • User Experience Designer at EMBL-EBI • User research with translators • Provided much insight into traditional ethnography • Twitter: @technorasis
  5. 5. What is interpreting 5 Simultaneous interpreting video:
  6. 6. The aims for today? 6 • Introduction to the role of interpreter and cognitive model • Shadowing activity • Why is language so important • Observation vs Evaluation activity • Context and environment in communication • Listening and Research activity “bullseye” by Jerold Jackson(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  7. 7. Our workshop has been drawn from…. 7 Our Workshop Non-Violent Communication Interpreting Ethnography
  8. 8. Boguslawa Kaplan Introduction to the role of interpreter and cognitive model “Interpreters at G20” by Downing Street (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Introduction to the role of interpreter and a cognitive model
  9. 9. Who is an interpreter?
  10. 10. Interpreter vs Translator “At the Krishna Lounge” by Mahat Tattva Dasa (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  11. 11. • works with text • types: • written translation • sight translation “Typewriter Man!” by starmanseries (CC BY 2.0) Translator Translator
  12. 12. “Dr. Breuder Nursing Lab Simulation 2013 27” by COD newsroom (CC BY 2.0) Where do I work?
  13. 13. How to become an interpreter?
  14. 14. Cognitive model of interpreting Reception & Comprehension Analysis & Encoding Expression & Evaluation Interpreted message (Stewart, Schein & Cartwright, 2004,1998) “I like jacket potatoes.” What is she saying? How can I say it in Polish? Can I say it like this “”? Is there anything I’m missing out? “Lubię ziemniaki pieczone w mundurku.”
  15. 15. Skills and process
  16. 16. Activity 1: Shadowing exercise Work in pairs. One person reads out a paragraph and the partner (the interpreter) 1) Listens and repeats word for word (shadow) 2) Shadows with 3-4 words delay 3) Listens and simultaneously rephrases the message, changing at least one word in each sentence. Swap roles
  17. 17. Why is language important? “Language Scramble” by Eric Anderson (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  18. 18. Why is language important? 18 “tea for the tillerman” by “brighter than sunshine” (CC BY-NC 2.0)
  19. 19. Prepare for the language in your session Interpreters prepare for a session in advance. In UX, we should familiarise ourselves to a certain extent with the domain language. 19 Tip “Prepare” by Photo Monkey (CC BY 2.0)
  20. 20. Mindful of intonation in interpreting • Intonation is the “music” of a language – the rises and falls used when pronouncing • The intonation can dramatically alter the interpretation and understanding of the spoken word. • Interpreters pay particular attention to intonation to ensure clarity. 20 “Bent Notes” by Michael Summers (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Tip
  21. 21. “Bent Notes” by Michael Summers (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Mindful of intonation in UX • By being mindful of intonation in UX: • We can avoid leading questions. • “Did you like 2 any 1 of the colours?” • “Did you like any of the colours?” • We can interpret our participants responses correctly. • “Yes” as opposed to “Yeeessss” 21 Tip
  22. 22. Be less specific when uncertain 22 Tip “Felony’s – So good it’s a crime” by Richard Elsey (CC BY 2.0) “Howl - misdeamnours” by Parlophone Music Norway (CC BY-NC 2.0)
  23. 23. Can be informal • Sometimes done straight after a usability session or interview Can be in a report/presentation • Formal communication with perhaps more thought gone into the format Communicate research without evaluation 23 Tip A real danger of inadvertently biasing research by the language we choose to use
  24. 24. Observe without evaluation 24 Tip Research Record Interpret Report “She hesitated when checking out” “She seemed to struggle when checking out”
  25. 25. Observe without evaluation 25 Tip Research Record Interpret Report “The participant clicked twice on the checkout basket” “The participant seemed frustrated”
  26. 26. Non-Violent Communication methods can be useful in objective descriptions 26 Empathetically Listening Honestly Expressing Observations Feelings Needs Requests Observations Feelings Needs Requests Learn more from Jonathan Kahn (Together London Events)
  27. 27. Separate data collection from analysis 27 Tip “Always interpret with at least one other person. They will see in your data what you can’t see; you will see in their data what they miss” Holtzblatt et al. “Shadow puppetry” by Marina del Castell (CC BY 2.0)
  28. 28. Activity 2: Observation vs Evaluation - Get into pairs - Read the sentences on the handout and identify whether they are observations or evaluations - If they are evaluations try to change them to observations - Exercise is used with permission of Jonathan Kahn (TogetherLondon). 28
  29. 29. Context and environment? Navy doctors perform an open appendectomy aboard hospital ship by Official U.S. Navy Page (CC BY 2.0)
  30. 30. Be aware of cultural sensitivities 30 Tip “Fancy dog” by TheGiantVermin (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  31. 31. Be aware of nonverbal behaviour 31 Tip 7 38 55 Nonverbal behaviour Tone of voice Verbal Human Communication elements when communicating feelings/emotions Albert Mehrabian et al. % % %
  32. 32. Body language - Hands 32 “Fist” by Walt Stoneburner (CC BY 2.0) “Hands Open” by Amrit (CC BY-NC 2.0) Aggressive Defensive Acceptance Openness Talk by Brad Nunnally at IA Summit 2014
  33. 33. Be professional when researching in multiple languages 33 Tip “Flags” by Peter Miller (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  34. 34. Train yourself to memorise observations 34 Tip “Notes” by English106 (CC BY 2.0)
  35. 35. Use an appropriate language tone for the setting Interpreters change their language depending on the setting. Similarly, in UX we must alter our language to ensure our participants will be most comfortable. 35 Tip “courtroom 600” by Davidlohr Bueso (CC BY 2.0)
  36. 36. Context will inform analysis Interpreters may alter there interpretation to reflect the situation • In mental health, all grammatical errors are kept intact because it might inform the clinician about the illness. Tip “Take the red pill” by Tason (CC BY-ND 2.0)
  37. 37. Activity 3: Design and analyse a research interview Goal: Identify a persons perception of phone security? Watch the video and answer the questions. 1. Identify all your observations. 2. Did you notice any significant body language in the participants communication. 3. What assumptions can you make based on your observations. Pay special attention to language use here. 4. Were there any leading questions? Could you have asked better questions?
  38. 38. The interview 38 User Research Interview
  39. 39. 39 “thank you in every language” by woodleywonderworks with licence CC BY 2.0