ATA Science & Technology Division is for translators of texts relating to science and technology. This blog is for specialized technical translators who can benefit from the networking, terminology research, and professional development opportunities offered by other translators specializing in technical or scientific fields.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Going All-In: a Good Gamble
Reviewed by Karen Tkaczyk
Christos Floros presents "Going All-In"
So there I was, beginning to feel worn out on Saturday
afternoon in San Antonio, wondering which session I ought to attend. I chose to
support a friend who was giving his first session at an ATA conference.
Christos Floros was speaking on one of his areas of subject-matter expertise,
translating for the gambling industry. It had an intriguing title: “Going All-In”.
I don’t gamble and have no intention of targeting translation clients in that
industry but I do live in Nevada where general knowledge on the subject is
remarkably useful. And I do like to support people who are brave enough to
offer a session at these conferences, especially when, as is often the case for
a first-timer, they are stuck on a Saturday afternoon, when audience size
begins to tail off.
Christos is a well-established English into Greek translator
based in Athens, who works with this wife Catherine Christaki. He began his
session by applying gambling concepts to the ATA conference’s session review
forms. Using the flip chart, he dashed off a quick explanation of the odds of
winning a prize if we completed a form after every session. This was an
entertaining and relaxing way to begin. What’s more, he showed us that the odds
of winning something if we completed a form for every session were surprisingly
Next Christos got down to business and introduced us to the
obvious division to keep in mind when thinking about this industry: off-line versus
online gambling. He said that the off-line gambling market is limited and hard
to break into. For instance, it would include translation of themes and labels
on slot machines. Online gambling products and services are where Christos
believes freelancers can more easily create a niche. He gave us examples of the
big players in the market, many of which are British companies, largely due to
the nature of the history of gambling in the UK. Christos showed us examples of
how online gambling works and how the multilingual user interfaces operate. He
used a fun example of freelancers playing poker together in several different
languages to demonstrate this. He also explained the rise of games such as
Texas Hold’em, which have only become popular with the advent of Internet
an example of a website offering localized
From there Christos gave us some background into the world
gambling market, including trends, and he told us why he likes to ‘go all-in’
in this field: partly personal interest as he’s been a gambler for about 20
years, with exposure to many markets, and partly because the volume is there to
make it a worthwhile specialization. Christos lived for years in the UK where
the ‘bookmaker’ system prevails and he visits Las Vegas, his favorite vacation
destination, regularly. He’s clearly a subject matter expert of the first-order,
having practical expertise from those two markets.
Christos then moved into telling us our how we might gain background
knowledge on this subject, referring to some popular Hollywood films and books
as beginners’ resources. Then he showed us how online gambling sites have an
area for practicing, i.e. gambling with play money. He recommends that anyone
who wants to get into the field practice there.
Another topic Christos covered was correct use of
terminology. This portion resembled any subject matter expert giving us
examples of words that anyone but a subject-matter expert would frequently translate
incorrectly. He also discussed localization issues related to this market.
People with accounts in online gambling websites will routinely receive seasonal
specials, weekly offers and the like. Those are usually themed around the home
culture’s festivals. As a localizer Christos must decide whether to attempt to
transfer a concept or whether to completely rewrite and make the special offer
about something entirely different. He has established customer relationships
over time so he knows the degrees of freedom he has for each client.
The visuals in Christos’ session were top-notch: they were
slides that added to the comfortable, conversational presentation that he gave,
that were full of light-hearted jokes and pleasant cultural touches. I think Christos
did a great job helping attendees learn how to get started in this field.