Wonderful ITA Conference - Day One

The 2015 ITA Conference, which took place at the Jerusalem Crowne Plaza, 16-18 February, was wonderful, for more reasons than just its content. And there's no reason to go on and on about the truly varied content -- it's all in the program. If you've been to the conference, your program is probably well-worn, having been consulted over and over again in your attempt to decide which session to attend. I cherish my post-conference programs, with my notes scribbled inside. But even if you haven't been to the conference, the program is still available online. There you'll find also bios of the speakers and summaries of the lectures, in English and in Hebrew. See Hebrew program here, and English program here.

Day One of the conference traditionally features super-useful, hands-on workshops which I never attend. I have no intention of learning to use computer-aided translation tools (Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast and others) at this point in my career. If I change my mind, those companies will be only too happy to sell me their products. Some of the other workshops are for beginners, which I am not. And some are business-oriented, which is Very Important, but not relevant for me at this point, when I am trying to spend more time on being a Good Granny than on being a good business woman. There was one workshop that I'm sorry I didn't attend: Translator as Author: Advanced Translation Workshop, by writer Roni Gelbfish (in Hebrew.) Of course, I can follow her blog, attend her ongoing workshops, or I can just read her books. As Dorit Rabinyan said in her excellent talk, the one just before the chairman's closing remarks in the afternoon of Day 3. Dorit, whose carefully crafted novels have been translated into many languages, also gives creative writing workshops, but says that she feels a bit of a fraud for doing so. Because, she says, you can't really teach anyone how to be a creative writer. If you want to write a novel, you've got to read, read, read. Read good novels. Read the ones which fascinate you over and over again, to get the hang of it; to see what makes them work.

As I've said before, I can't stand reading the Hebrew translation of an English book, because my mind is constantly doing "back translation", trying to guess what the original sentence was. What I do sometimes do, is take the same book in Hebrew and in English, and compare the translation with the original. Fascinating -- if the translation is good; infuriating, if the translation is lousy.

Oh, by the way: Just because I don't feel like leaning CAT tools doesn't mean I've stopped learning. My colleague Lior Bar-On just posted on FB the following quote: "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing you can do is keep your mind young." - Samuel Clemens / Mark Twain".  We're all agreed on that, right? Which is why I plan to take up Russian. Anyone know a good teacher in Rishon LeZion? Possibly in return for English conversation lessons?

But I digress. Back to Day One of the conference. What I try to do is arrive in time for the 3:30 coffee break before the end of the workshops. Great opportunity to say my first Hi to colleagues, and sample the cakes. Which I did, in the company of veteran translator and editor Helene Landau and others. At 6:30 everyone gathered in the lobby, all bundled up in winter coats and scarves as advised, for the short trip to the Gala Event at the Bible Lands Museum. Suffice it to say that I found the museum interesting; if you're interested, go visit -- the website or the place itself. However, most of us translators are not in the peak of youth, and standing around in a museum can get tiring. Luckily, people found some plastic stools, which they carried with them from room to room.

The after-dinner speaker was the inimitable Simcha Jacobovici, and believe me, there's so much stuff about him and his work on the Internet, that I had a hard time deciding which link to use! If I recall correctly (I didn't take notes), he spoke mostly about Jesus from a historical and archaeological point of view; see, for example, his blog post Jesus' Marriage to Mary Magdalene: A Historical Fact! My mother would have loved it. You see, one of her nephews kept asking her whether she'd "found Jesus" yet. To which she'd reply sweetly that she's not looking for him, and as far as she knows, he was a nice Jewish boy.

Okay guys and dolls -- today's lecture is over.
Do come back for the next installment.


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