Translators Conference in Jerusalem, Feb 2016 - Day One

... so here I was, once again, at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Jerusalem, in mid-February, at the Israel Translators Association Conference. And as always, happy to be there. Happy to see familiar faces of colleagues I see only on such occasions. Happy to get to meet for the first time colleagues with whom I'd only been in touch online. Happy to sample the delicious bits of confectionery concocted by the hotel's elite kitchen team. (I use "sample" here as a polite understatement.)

As usual, I did not attend any of the workshops which take place on Day 1. But my cousin Gila Brand, for instance, a highly skilled translator, emerged from Avirama Golan's workshop on translating children's literature with an inspired glow on her face. My colleague Inga Michaeli, who led a hands-on workshop on making social media work for you ("you" = the translator/editor), was initially surprised that most her attendees were veteran translators, whereas she expected to see more newcomers to the field. But, truth be told, many newcomers to the field balked at attending the entire conference, and seemed to think that the workshops wouldn't be that helpful. Other workshops aimed at giving translators and editors technical tools which make our work easier and faster: Trados, MemoQ, MS-Office tips and tricks, and so on. Personally, I think those translators were making a mistake.

Well then, if those workshops are so great, why don't I attend?
1) Because two full days of lectures and presentations are the limit of my attention-span; by the end of Day 3 I'm in overload. So I prefer to start with the first night's after-dinner talk.
2) At this stage of my career, when I do more babysitting than translating, these workshops are not my top priority.

The after-dinner presentation this year was given by Dr. Tal Pavel, in Hebrew with simultaneous translation by the accomplished Ruchie Avital. As it turned out, the title of the talk -- The Language of Internet Terror -- was a bit misleading. It led the listeners, as well as the organizers, I suspect, to expect a talk that was more concerned with language in its basic meaning -- words. Whereas the talk focused on visual language: online psychological warfare based on manipulating existing photos and video clips. Plainly speaking, our enemies go through huge databases, select photos and clips, then photoshop them and present them in a misleading way. Or else, even without editing the item itself, just giving it a totally false title (and relying on the short memory and/or ignorance of their target audience), thus taking it out of its original context and converting it into a nasty slur on Israel.

Such disinformation, coupled with anti-Semitic motifs, have been rampant in the current Intifada. Their target audience, explained Dr. Pavel, is threefold: To the Arab audience, they convey strength, bravery, glory. The "message" is intended instill fear in the Israeli audience. And to de-legitimize Israel on the international level.

Needless to say, the gory photos of destruction, injury and death were grim in themselves. But to see and hear how such photos were expertly abused to incite murderous hatred in, say, the Palestinian population, and to glorify hell-bent terrorists, was disgusting and disheartening, to say the least.

Oh well. As far as I recall, I didn't have any nightmares.

Next post: Conference, Day 2 -- Told you there'd be a link when I've written it :-)


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