Translators Conference in Jerusalem, Feb 2016 - Day Two

... so it came about that on the second morning of the conference, right after breakfast, we had three visiting speakers from abroad*.

First among them was Andre Lindemann, President of the BDU - German Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators. I'm sorry I don't remember exactly what he said. I think my colleague Ruth Ludlam wrote about it in her post about the conference. All I recall is that he'd been asked to speak in English, which is not his mother-tongue, and he has a beautiful, deep voice.

Second was the sprightly Stefan Gentz (originally from Germany I believe), full of energy and pizzazz, with a presentation entitled The Future is Now. Creating a good presentation is an art in itself, which I, for one, have not yet mastered; my slides are far too wordy. Gentz could teach you how it's done: his slides were short on words but loud and clear on message. And as I've said before, a good speaker should be a bit of an entertainer. Translators, apparently, have become but a footnote in this huge, world-wide industry with a turnover of Lots and Lots of Money. Customers expect us to come up with innovative solutions to their needs. The industry is far from dead; it has a future, but as it evolves, we have to change too. Why don't you just go to SlideShare and enjoy Gentz's slidewhow.

Third was Andrew Morris with his talk, Standing Out: Changing the Game. This talk could probably have benefited from a slide show, just to help make his point and give the audience an additional something to focus on. Morris spoke mainly about the good and bad aspects of social media, as it applies to us translators. Israelis are addicts of social media. (I can't say exactly how they compare with other nationals.) We know only too well how [some] users get carried away with ranting and raving, creating the website or app they're using into an arena seething with foul language and hatred. As translators and wordsmiths, we seek excellence, success, enjoyment. The last thing we need is that sort of filth and stress. Acting on this conviction, Morris created an online safe haven, much like our own Agenda and Members of the ITA forums on Facebook. That's where we consult each other, help one another, joke around, and enjoy what we do.  Morris also spoke of the need to be open to change. But each of us has to decide what type of change is best for them, since every decision, every change, entails its pluses and minuses.

Coffee break, with all those mouth-watering cakes. And time for agonizing over the huge choice of lectures. I had to go by process of elimination. So, with a heavy heart, I gave up the Business Track, the Technical Track and the Specialized Track. I don't mind much having missed "10 New Ways Your Smartphone Can Help You in Your Business and Life", because I'm trying to cut down on smartphone time, as well as on my business. I'm trying to get on with other important aspects of my life. But if any of you, dear readers, went to one of the Business Track lectures -- do tell.

Similarly, I skipped the Technical Track: I've stopped using Babylon because it seemed to me to get less user-friendly and more annoying with each new version; I don't do enough work to warrant the use of Translation Memory software; and I have live-in tech support who rescues me when disaster strikes. On the other hand, I suspect I might have found the panel on assessing translation quality interesting, even though it's something I've been doing rather intuitively for dozens of years.

I always give the Specialized Track a miss, since I've never seriously dealt with legal, medical, or financial translations. Not my expertise, neither in this incarnation nor in the next. (I've applied for "ballerina" in my next incarnation, but...)

Mazal tov, I've landed in the Jericho/Masada Hall, for the Academic& Other Track. But by this time you're feeling this post has gone on for too long already, right? So I'll tell you about it next time. See you soon!
P.S.  It is now "next time" :-)  Here's installment #3.
* This annual conference is not merely a local thing. Some of our leading translators -- Sarah YarkoniInga Michaeli, to name but two -- are active on the international scene, submit papers, go to translators' conferences abroad, make friends, tie ties, and invite foreign professionals to come visit us. That is, to attend the ITA conference, give talks and workshops.

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 :-)