The ITA Conference -- Other measures of success

By now many of my learned colleagues have posted their impressions of the ITA conference on their blogs and websites. For example, you can read Linda Yechiel's report (English); Inga Michaeli's story (Hebrew), Ruth Ludlam's very comprehensive report (English), and several others, which, if they're not actually available yet, doubtlessly will be within the next few days. So you don't need a blow-by-blow description of the lectures from me.

Which lets me off the hook, freeing me to address the conference from a different angle.

1. From a woman's point of view, one of the main measures of success or failure is: Have I gained or lost weight? No matter if a woman is stick-thin and told by her physicians that, for her own good, she'd better gain a few kilos, or if she's perfectly average weight-wise or bulging from her clothes, it's always the same: have I managed to gain/lose?...

2. Sifting through the business cards. Sorry to say that this year I gathered only a small number of cards, and gave away very few from the big, heavy bundle I brought with. Then again, this could be a direct result of the happy circumstance that I already knew many of the people there and they know me and we know how to get in touch with each other! The one person whom I really wanted to meet – a distant cousin I last saw years ago – didn't seek me out and introduce herself! I kept my eyes peeled, but didn't see her. Hey, cousin M – where art thou? Then there was a young woman whose name (on her name tag) seemed very familiar, but I couldn't place her. I thought of walking up to her, introducing myself (that is, pointing to my name tag), and waiting to see if any light of recognition dawns on her face. But I didn't, and I'm sorry, because once at my desk-top at home, I realized she's one of my mentees! Shame on me. I apologize.

3. What did I learn? In less-than-useful terms, I learnt:
  • Being a famous professor does not necessarily mean that you can hold a tired audience spellbound
  • Being "an actress" doesn't mean you can act; I suppose just as being "a translator" doesn't mean you can translate
  • Being timid-looking and soft-spoken doesn't mean you can't be engaging and pleasant and informative
  • Many translators seem scared stiff of the idea of having to take an exam (to become certified)
  • There are lots of companies out there who want to sell me expensive stuff, be it a subscription to a work-providing spot (no thanks) or a thingy to rest my forearms on as I type. (I'll ask the raffle-winner if she likes it before even considering such an expensive contraption.)
  • Jonathan Franzen has a way with words
  • Rami Saari's command of languages is amazing
  • Managing your online presence, web content, and online self-marketing is a full time job. I guess we're expected to do the actual translation/editing work as overtime…
  • Some people become better and better speakers with experience.

4. In truly useful terms,I learnt:
  • Mitzlol means alliteration
  • Tamsir means handout
  • "People-first language" is a pain… an example of a creditable idea gone overboard. See, for example, the helpful(?) chart provided by The National Inclusion Project. Yeah, some of it is sensible and civil. And some of it is, well, come on, people!
  • But at least my assisted-living client knew what he was talking about when he insisted I refer to the residents as "older adults" (as opposed to "elderly", "senior citizens", "golden agers" and so on.)
  • In your blog or website, if quoting a source, limit it to under 250 words, or else Google will hold it against you.
  • There are some charming people whom I only get to see once a year, at these conferences. Which as far as I'm concerned, is in itself a good enough reason to continue coming to these conferences.
  • Whoever you are – the person who donated his copy of The Light Fantastic to the used-book fair – Thank you, thank you, thank you! Our copy has been missing for years, and our Terry Pratchett collection was incomplete without it.
  • In terms of my own presentation – careful preparation pays off; an appreciative audience is a blessing.

Joking aside, it was – like all my blogging colleagues pointed out – a wonderful conference, and left me in utter awe and admiration of the organizers, especially the unpaid ones, the ITA volunteers who worked hard to make it happen. Thank you all.


Linda said...

Loved your insights. But you didn't reveal how many kg? Were you there the first day? The afternoon coffee break was good for at least a few!

Nina Rimon Davis said...

1. I arrived just in time for the chocolate extravaganza...
2. Haven't dared weigh myself yet :-)

Nachama said...

1) . . . and what about that 11am break on Tuesday ?!? And....and...and...
2) Great post, Nina!

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