Translation Services: A Study in Quality Management

One service our team is proud to offer to the federal government is translation of foreign documents for American readers, and vice versa. We live in a small world (that’s getting smaller), and our government can’t afford to let language barriers hinder its relationships with the international community.

The thing about translations is they need to be perfect. “Lost in translation” isn’t just an expression– it’s a very real, literal thing that can happen with even the slightest error in interpretation. So how do you prevent it from occurring? Simple: treat a translation order as you would any other job and run it through the full gamut of quality control. The process we go through with every translation is exemplary of the kind of quality control procedure you should have in place for any kind of project.

1) Choose the right person or team for the job. In the case of translation, this means not only selecting a native speaker of the language, but one well-versed in the subject matter of the documents to be translated.

2) Bring other experts in for review. For translations, at least one if not two speakers of both languages besides the original translator should complete a thorough review of the documents to ensure there are no errors.

3) Before returning to the client, the final product should be reviewed by a dedicated Quality Assurance person and the Project Director. The more eyes, the better!

That’s how we work translations– but the process applies no matter what your project is. Don’t sacrifice quality for a quick and easy job!

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The Neurological Effects After Chemical Nerve Agents Exposure Workshop

Pic for blog

It’s been quite the week for us here at Strategic Results! Last Wednesday and Thursday, we were lucky to support the Neurological Effects After Chemical Nerve Agents Exposure Workshop for NIH CounterACT in Bethesda, MD. The program focused on exploring the availability and validity of studies on the effects of chemical nerve agents on both human and animal subjects. We planned logistics, designed the program booklet, and provided support onsite for the event.

Needless to say, it’s programs like these that our meeting planners enjoy the most. We witnessed some truly insightful discussions involving leading neuroscientists and physicians from NIH, FDA, DHS, and top universities across the country. Dr. Tetsu Okumura traveled from Japan to share his experiences treating sarin gas victims of the Tokyo Subway Incident, and Dr. Buckley made his way all the way from Australia to talk about pesticide poisoning, which in many ways models the effects of nerve agents at a smaller scale but is still a serious threat in its own right. Nicole Lurie, MD, MSPH, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Emergency Response, DHHS, introduced the second day’s program.

This was no regular, lecture-based conference. Participants actually participated, both by filling out worksheets provided by the organizers, and by answering questions with Audience Response Devices. If all goes as planned, white papers will be developed from the proceedings to guide future research.

Check out our pictures from the workshop here!

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Instructional Design: Reaching Your Goals Through the ADDIE Model

We’ve talked about knowledge transfer– now let’s talk about instructional design. You can think of instructional design as a means to achieve knowledge transfer; it refers to the development of learning experiences and environments to promote the acquisition of knowledge and skills. Specifically, these are technologies and materials developed for organizations like businesses or higher learning institutions that guide students to the right learning activities and help them process the information they need to know.

The key to good instructional design is to follow the ADDIE process: Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate. These steps break down as follows:

  1. Analyze: Gather information about your audience, the tasks to be completed, and the project’s overall goals. Classify the information to make the content more applicable and successful.
  2. Design: Begin to create the project using information gathered from the analysis phase in conjunction with the theories and models of instructional design. Start with writing a learning objective. Then, identify and break down tasks. Finally, determine the activities required for the audience to meet the goals.
  3. Develop: Assemble the blueprints from the design phase and develop the planned technologies/materials.
  4. Implement: Test all the materials to identify if they are functional and appropriate for the intended audience.
  5. Evaluate: Ensure the materials achieved the desired goals. Because the ADDIE model is an iterative process, at each stage, the designer can assess the project’s elements and revise them if necessary.

And that’s the basics of it! Of course, the ADDIE model is just a framework; you’ll need to flesh it out to make it appropriate for your needs. If you are interested in learning more, let us know, and be sure to check out these great resources on instructional design:

http://www.umich.edu/~ed626/define.html

http://www.instructionaldesigncentral.com/htm/IDC_instructionaldesigndefinitions.htm

http://mdavidmerrill.com/Papers/Reclaiming.PDFhttp://mdavidmerrill.com/Papers/Reclaiming.PDFhttp://mdavidmerrill.com/Papers/Reclaiming.PDF

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Why Knowledge Transfer Matters

Do not underestimate what a well-executed plan of knowledge transfer can do for your company. It’s easy to think of knowledge transfer as something that sounds more complex than it really is. After all, we’re just talking about training, aren’t we?

Actually, we aren’t. Training is an aspect of knowledge transfer– a critical one– but it should comprise only a portion of your knowledge transfer strategy. With knowledge transfer, you have the opportunity to develop and maintain an internal, accessible network of knowledge. Through effective sharing mechanisms and tools, your organization can overcome complications such as tacit knowledge, internal conflicts, and disparate levels of expertise. In the end, you’ll maximize company coordination and efficiency while minimizing knowledge barriers.

Strategic Results has managed knowledge transfer processes both internally and for other organizations. We bring our experience to the forefront in offering knowledge transfer services, including:

  • developing strategic knowledge transfer plans
  • conceptualizing, developing, and testing tools and materials
  • implementing plans for knowledge transfer tools
  • targeting populations using a variety of strategies and tactics, and
  • developing and collecting metrics.

Among our largest and most frequent clients is the NIH, and currently we are applying for an NIH SBIR grant based on providing knowledge transfer tools to new PIs. We think the idea’s a winner– but that’s a topic for another post!

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The Best Online Resources for Freelancing and Outsourcing

Last week, I wrote about the services Strategic Results provides in staffing and administration. But what if you just need some freelance support on a project? It may be preferable to take advantage of one of the many freelance networks available online.

That said, we know from experience that it’s not always easy identifying which of these sites will meet your needs. Here are a few we like to use whether we are looking for some quick assistance, or otherwise looking to develop longer-term relationships with professionals.

Amazon Mechanical Turk: An online marketplace where businesses can set up tasks for any worker to complete; designed for the things a computer can’t accomplish.

Elance: Probably the most well-known site for freelancers, and with good reason– this is a great way to post your jobs and connect with the best people in their fields.

SkillsHive: A freelance network that is organized based on skills– the skills you have, and the skills you need.

Odesk: A great resource for hiring low-cost, international engineering talent.

Freelancer: An outsourcing market for small businesses.

GroupTalent: A good place for hiring technical developers and designers.

Incidentally, we are also working on building our own online professional marketplace– one which will take advantage of the ever-intriguing promise of Bitcoins. Look for more details on the upcoming beta release in the next few months!

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The Five Steps Towards Flawless Staffing

Welcome to the first iteration of a new feature for this blog: Strategic Results Services. This is the beginning of a broader effort to revitalize the Science Meetings blog. In the coming months you will see more regular updates detailing the Strategic Results suite of services and profiles of different projects we are working on. But don’t assume it will be all about us– with every post we will offer added resources or information that could help you with your next project. Let us know what you think in the comments!

The first service we will cover is administration and staffing support. Achieving your goals as an organization means having the right personnel matched to the right tasks, ensuring that their administrative, technical, and management skills and experience meet the specific contract personnel requirements. Your criteria for success here are stability, high performance, and employee satisfaction. The key is to adhere to the five-step staffing methodology:

  • Resume Review – Resumes are evaluated to ensure skills and experience meet the company’s standards.
  • In-Person Interview – Qualified candidates are evaluated through an intense in-person behavioral interview.
  • Thorough Evaluation and Screening – Each qualified candidate’s skills and abilities are tested, including personality evaluations and any relevant skill and software testing.
  • Background Check – A complete background check is conducted for all qualified candidates that are selected for the position.
  • Reference Check – A complete reference check and confirmation is completed for all qualified candidates.

It is through variations of these steps that we accomplish all our staffing support, providing personnel of various disciplines from administrative and support staff to support in budgeting and accounting, contracts, human resources, program management, operations, and technical support in IT, engineering, and scientific professions.

Next week, we will look at the other side of the coin: freelance staffing, and what are the best resources for finding freelancers online.

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Pictures from the ICCC New York Conference

We reported recently about our delight in being one of the lucky small businesses to receive an invitation to the ICCC Conference in New York. Unfortunately, our representative at the event, Joe Awni, was unable to take pictures of the proceedings.

The good news is we’ve received pictures from their organizers! Click here for the link to the full flickr set. This much business acumen in one room is definitely something to behold!

The ICCCs are truly a great opportunity. We hope to continue our involvement in the future.

 

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