Lost in Translation No Longer: Data Translators Bridge the Gap to the Mission

Lost in Translation No Longer: Data Translators Bridge the Gap to the Mission

Lost in Translation No Longer: Data Translators Bridge the Gap to the Mission

Two main types of problems can make it difficult to make data-driven decisions: technical and cultural. Technical difficulties could include data that is messy, incomplete, or split between different departments or components. Cultural factors might include a resistance to change, an environment that favors trusting your instincts, or a belief that things are fine the way they are.

A good data translator overcomes these technical and cultural challenges to provide insights that help leaders understand complicated information. They then present that information in a way that will inspire action and help leaders make the right choices for their agency.

A Data Translator is a person with a blend of data analysis and communications skills who can help bridge the gap between decision makers, program analysts, and technically-oriented data analysts. While data analysts focus on crunching numbers, data translators provide context, point out important insights, and use their communications skills to make the implications of data analysis clear in the context of the mission.

A great Data Translator has domain- or mission-specific knowledge that helps them develop visuals and language their audience understands. There’s more to data translation than simplifying scientific terminology – good data translators understand how the data will help the stakeholder and know how to make them listen. They also have skills in ‘wrangling data’ – pulling it out of systems and normalizing it so that it can be compared and analyzed to indicate meaningful, mission-oriented trends.

Data translator need specific skills to provide value to any agency:

  • Mission knowledge to speak the agency’s language and gain credibility with stakeholders
  • Analytics knowledge to communicate with data scientists and understand their findings
  • Drive to help others understand complicated information
  • Communications skills to bridge the cultural gap between quantitative specialists and those used to look at the big picture
  • Creativity to consistently innovate and try new approaches
  • Persistence

Transforming data in the context of the complexities of government agencies is essential to make the right decisions for the mission. By blending communications skills, mission knowledge, data skills, and technical understanding, they can help agencies make strategic and operational decisions quickly and then communicate these throughout the organization.

About Arc Aspicio
Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. As a rapidly growing company, Arc Aspicio has a bold strategy for 2016-2018 that drives growth through new capabilities in strategy, design, human capital, data analytics, information sharing, cybersecurity, and strategic communications. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude – for its clients and its great team. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.

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Samantha Monk |

Samantha Monk is a Manager at Arc Aspicio. Samantha previously spent two and a half years as a Sr. Proposal Analyst for Digital Management, Inc. (DMI). She has Bachelor's degrees in French Language and Literature and Journalism from the University of Maryland, and is currently studying for an M.A. in International Affairs at American University.

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