ZOA House - Not Just Conferences

I've been going to the Israel Translators Association conferences for over 10 years, and treating the event as a vacation, time off for good behavior. I'm used to signing up for the entire event, including two nights at a pleasant hotel far from home. "Far" being a relative term, of course. To an Israeli living in the country's central region (Gush Dan), a trip to Jerusalem or Haifa, about an hour's drive away, can feel almost as adventurous as a journey to where-the-wild-things-are.
So Hubby and I would arrive on the afternoon of the first day, dump our stuff in the hotel room, and go downstairs to mingle with the Workshop crowd during their coffee break.

This year, several things changed drastically:
No hotel. No faraway city. No sense of adventure. Why? Long story. As a member of the ITA's Audit Committee, all I can say is that the change in format was well thought out, with the idea of reaching out to translators who found the usual hotel-based format too expensive and time-consuming. Most self-employed translators, especially those with families and tight deadlines, can't just escape for two and a half days.

Searching for an alternative wasn't simple. Committee members researched the options, made phone calls, received price quotes, considered everything from travelling time to cakes and ale (okay -- cakes and soft drinks) and everything in-between, and settled on the ZOA House on Ibn Gabirol Street, Tel Aviv. An aside: I am disgusted that their website is in Hebrew only. But have added the link because the pics are pretty and give you an idea of what it's like.

Spoiler alert: Sentimental mush below.

Ah, good old ZOA House! It means so much to me! See, once upon a time I belonged to The Tel Aviv Drama Circle, which then became TACT - Tel Aviv Community Theater. A group of amateur actors, singers, dancers, directors, set designers and what-not. My mother was among the early members, and soon enough so were my father, myself and my kid sister. By the time my firstborn, Daria, was about 7, she, too, got roped in; first in a musical evening; and later in a drama. I won't go into the whole history of this group. Suffice it to say that it was a wonderful hobby, and doing musicals was the best. Many of our rehearsals and most of our performances took place at the ZOA House. It was my second home. At the time I lived in Tel Aviv, not far from the Hilton Hotel, and could easily walk to and from rehearsals.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum @ZOA, 1981. Nina as Tintinabula

The Boyfriend @ZOA, 1980. Nina in red Tshirt

In addition, I took various courses at the ZOA House. Leather-work, Esperanto, and god knows what else. Later, when we needed a venue for a family occasion, ZOA was the obvious choice. And in recent years, the ITA has held a few events there. I gave a talk there in July 2014 called How to Work with Translation Agencies.

So in many ways, I was pleased the conference would be taking place there. I feel at home there; it holds sweet memories.
On the other hand, it was a bit of a let-down. Unexciting. Like having the conference at the neighbors' next-door. Hubby and I pass by the building twice weekly, on our way to help out with the grandkids. Skipping grandkids duty for the sake of two days at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Jerusalem feels acceptable; but for spending time across the street (practically) at Good Old ZOA?... [Shrug. Pout. Raised eyebrows.] Oh well. [Acceptance].

The Pyjama Game @ZOA, 1979. Nina standing on the right

My Three Angels, w/Johnny Phillips, 1977

What Retired Translators and Editors Do

"See you next year!" - That's how I blithely ended my fifth(!) post about last year's (2016) Translators' Conference. And what have I written in this blog since? Nothing. Zilch. Nada. How come? Do I simply live from one conference to the next? Surely not. Was I so darn busy working that I had no time for writing? Have I not had any inspiring insights about reading, writing, translating, editing, worthy of sharing with you, for an entire year? - Rubbish! So what the ...?

Enough with the soul-searching. I'll leave that for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. But I will provide a few explanations, and if you're bored already, just skip to my next post, where I actually start reporting on the conference. [Link to be provided as soon as said post is written.]

I'm officially retired, and glad of it. I love my profession, but -- as most translators will agree -- dealing with clients can be irksome, and running our business is a chore and a bore to most of us. So, once officially retired, I was freer than ever to pick and choose what projects, big or small, to take on.
I've been lucky: people call me. They tell me about a novel, say, that they wrote in Hebrew. They want it translated into English. I glance at it and, for the most part, roll my eyes. I no longer have the patience. I might find the text long, wordy, lacking focus, flowery, or just plain not my cup of tea. So I give the writer some tips and suggestions, along with the names of trustworthy colleagues who will perhaps be willing to undertake the job. I have done this for Ella, Simona, Tali, Gili, Lihi, Haim, Sigal, Lilach, Yossi, Tamar, and others. Sometimes the text is not bad in itself but is just well-nigh untranslatable.
I take this seriously. I know that the writers put a lot of time, thought and effort into their "baby". I admire them for having the determination and persistence to sit and write. What's known in Yiddish as "sitzfleisch": The ability to endure or persist in a task. So I treat my feedback with all due respect, which takes time.

Then there are the books, or manuscripts, that I do undertake. Not to translate, but to help in other ways: To read and give my opinion, to edit to a certain degree, to offer some criticism and helpful suggestions. Two writers whom I'm pleased to say I helped recently in this way are Dorothea Shefer-Vanson and Shmuel David.

On a daily basis, I get a kick out of adding my 2 cents' worth to discussions on Facebook's translators' forums, especially Agenda, which is my favorite. And when I encounter translators in distress, particularly those who are relatively new to the field, I send them one or more of the glossaries I've compiled and/or accumulated over the years.

Oh, and for the past year I've been on the ITA's Audit Committee. Not that it takes up much of my time; after all, I'm not a professional auditor. But I try to follow what's going on in the Executive Committee and be part of the discussions and decisions, to the best of my ability.

What with three [adorable, of course!] grandkids and a wanderlust-driven hubby, I find myself roaming distant lands on the one hand, and exploring Tel Aviv and Rishon Lezion kids' playgrounds on the other hand. May I take this opportunity to recommend Gan Hamoshava in Rishon, mainly because that's where my parents took me when I was the age of my grandkids... My favorites in central Tel Aviv are Ginat Dubnov and Gan Meir.

What else does a retired translator/editor do in her free time?
- Yoga, twice a week. That's pretty demanding, for a short-limbed, non-flexible person like me.
- Mentor kids from disadvantaged families at the local public library, once a week.
- Struggle to maintain three blogs, one of which includes a section dedicated to my mother's memoirs.
- Maintain correspondence with lots of penpals... (Er... do the youngsters among you even know what that means?)
- Try to read another chapter in one of the books on my night-table, while my eyelids still obey me.
- Try in vain to keep cleaning my In boxes, upload pics to my Flickr account, glance at LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest; not spend too much time on Facebook; not watch depressing news and scary TV series. I'm being good to you and not adding links to the above sites.

Et maintenant, que vais-je faire?.. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW6QiI7hHGA]
I'll just collapse in front of the idiot-box with a nice cuppa tea and some chocolate.