ITA Conference 2018 - Short and Sweet

In case I haven't mentioned it before, I'm a notebook freak... Give me a unique or pretty notebook, and I'm yours forever -- or at least until the next attractive notebook comes my way :-)
So the moment I presented myself at the ITA desk on the second floor of the ZOA House, and received this notebook (and pen!)
With thanks to Sarah Yarkoni, Semantica
in addition to my name-tag and program, my face glowed with pleasure. Add to that warm hugs with friends and a buffet with beautifully cut fresh fruit, and the day was already deemed a success. Even though the bus from Rishon LeZion to Tel Aviv took about an hour -- as long as getting from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv during rush-hour -- and by the time I got there, it was almost time for the first session, leaving me very little time for initial schmoozing and fruit-nibbling.

So I was a bit late for the keynote speaker's presentation -- missed the first few slides, but caught on pretty fast. John Di Rico of Wordfast was speaking about Selling Your Translation and Interpreting Services. He was not only speaking and presenting slides, but also asking us questions and trying to get his audience involved. As you can see from his online profile, and as one could tell from his presentation, he is indeed experienced in and comfortable with teaching adults.
My only reservation about this lecture was that it was not suitable to the Israeli market. The type of interaction between translator and potential customer described by Di Rico is nothing like the typical interaction we translators (and editors) are accustomed to, and which goes something like this:
- Customer calls: "Hi! I have a 30-page document about Mechanical Elves. Need it translated from Swahili to English. By tomorrow. Can you do it? How much do you charge?"
- Bewildered Newbie Translator: "Er... um... I'm not sure... Is it in a Word document? Can it be by the day-after-tomorrow? Is 50 shekels a page okay?"
- Blase, Experienced Translator: "Sure, for 150 shekels per 250 words in the target language, plus 30% surcharge for a rush job, and if you pay 50% in advance and the rest by the end of this month. Who did you say your target audience is, by the way?"
- Tired, Semi-Retired Translator: "Yeah, in your dreams!" [Click. Disconnect.]
I totally agree with Di Rico's basic assumption that people love to talk about themselves, and so we -- the "customercentric sellers" (i.e. translators eager to eke out a living) -- should be patient and listen. But as far as I know, most of us prefer to communicate with our customers by email. Otherwise, they'll never remember all the info I need them to know. And besides -- I'm telephobic...
When it comes to writing -- sure, no problem! Di Rico provides these guidelines for summing up the conversation between Customer and Seller:
With thanks to Gila Ansell Brauner
My own emails may not follow this "Champion Letter", but I do take them seriously and they have been effective. (Examples available upon request, just give me a chance to browse through my folders...)

Coffee break. The instant coffee and the "botz" were blah, but the ZOA coffee counter offered acceptable Cappuccino, I am told, at no extra cost.

Next there were several sessions that were irrelevant to me, (being retired, as I've mentioned before) e.g., the one about tax deductible expenses. I was, however, curious about Strategies for Overcoming Literalism in Translations, by Avi Kallenbach, bless him. How can I not admire a young man who enjoys the same books as my own kids do, e.g., The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Catch 22, books by Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, and many more. So I didn't learn any new strategies, but I think he's on the right track.

Keith Brooks
The other session I joined and enjoyed was Keith Brooks' Faster Translations Start with a Faster Computer - a very fast and entertaining presentation, which ain't to be sneezed at, considering Brooks was speaking about some very annoying situations, wherein your PC or laptop is driving you crazy and you do your best not to kick it. Calling it names is acceptable, though not helpful.

Pics thanks to Gila Ansell Brauner
I'm a lucky PC-user, in that my husband has been my live-in tech-support ever since he introduced me to computers, way back circa 1986. But I want to be able to fend for myself, to a certain degree at least, and I'm sure Brooks' numerous presentations, available online, will be of help to me. Besides, he has a great sense of humor, which is one of the most important attributes a person can have.

Last session, a panel entitled The three Points of the Triangle: The customer, Translation Company and Translator. I have worked in the past with three out of the four agencies that took part in the panel: Quality Translations, which later became MGSL; Transnet; and Rina Ne'eman.
I have spoken and written about working with agencies, from the translator's point of view. [See here]. So the discussion itself wasn't an eye-opener in any way, but as always it was good to see and hear the actual people behind the names. I hadn't met Emanuel Weisgras before, but it was a pleasure listening to him, especially because he has a sense of humor! (Click the above link and see for yourself.)

Just for the fun of it, and for the sake of my fellow notebook lovers (I know you're out there!), here's a pic of a few of my fave notebooks: