Conference snapshots

My ITI Conference was jam-packed with impressions; here are some short snapshots of events I attended.

Karen M. Tkaczyk provided a thorough and knowledgeable insight into one strand of her work, editing non-native English. As in all areas of this business, managing customers and their expectations comes into play. Karen finds it useful to ascertain whether the writer she’s editing is likely to welcome – and learn from – her explaining the corrections she makes. This saves time all round, as she doesn’t explain to people who won’t listen, but does benefit when receptive customers learn not to make the same mistakes in their next paper.

Alison Hughes provided many helpful ideas for the translator faced with a creative text, including an emphasis on lateral thinking. Flow and style are paramount, and liberties may therefore need to be taken with the individual words. Thus you might end up searching for the right-sounding word, or one that fits with the other words used: there are websites to help you find rhymes or words starting with a certain letter.

Alison’s co-presenter Adriana Tortoriello helped me think of a creative text as multisemiotic, a combination of verbal and visual meaning. In this context, the visual aspect of the words is also important: you might say that in an advert, typeface is to text what intonation is to speech. And tone of voice is key to conveying the ‘personality’ (e.g. brand) which the source text embodies. Again, translators need to ascertain the level of work customers want – a new lick of paint for their vehicle, or a complete overhaul?

I was intrigued by the idea of the ‘TED-style’ talks, new to Conference this year. I heard Richard Davis speak about whether agencies (like his, winners of the ITI Corporate Member Award) are ‘servants of the dark side’. He deliberately defied expectations, and showed the added value agencies provide from an unexpected angle or two. After asking the audience what they thought the ‘point’ of agencies was, Richard explained his view.

I found it interesting to note that agencies build up experience through the sheer volume of jobs they handle, and that experience is retained even when individual employees move on. This enables them (in theory) to foresee and help pre-empt problems. Similarly, agencies with several in-house employees can dedicate resources to managing terminology and other repositories of knowledge which can help achieve the best translation.

I was a Singing Translator once again this Conference. For anyone who missed the show, a video is available here (or search for ‘ITI Conference Day 2 916’ on YouTube). Please note the pun inherent in the choice of song: ‘Memory’ from the musical ‘CATs’!

– This material was originally written up for the ITI French Network newsletter. You can find out more about the French Network here. –