Celebrating Translation and Interpreting at the ITI Conference

Embracing change, emerging stronger: this year’s ITI (https://www.iti.org.uk/) Conference theme lived up to its billing. With over 400 participants from around the world, the options were to attend in Brighton or online and even both, three quarters choosing to attend in person. The Hubilo app enabled delegates to join virtual lounges, contact others online and view the programme on the move or from the comfort of their PC at home. Sustainability was key with attendees encouraged to bring their own water bottles, paperless maps and programmes along with returnable lanyards. Most presenters were on site in the auspicious Grand Hotel on the seafront, but some also presented remotely.

A colourful sign at Brighton Station

Welcome drinks, networking meet-ups and the Gala Dinner created a celebratory atmosphere for those of us attending in person. The seaside venue also provided a holiday spirit as did the pleasant sunshine. Fringe events included guided walking tours, running, yoga and singing. I wondered whether online delegates could sense they were missing out. Perhaps, the online option was a bonus for those living remotely or with a busy half-term week.

Held from 30th May – 1st June, presentations ranged from practical business tips to learning a new specialism or language and the nitty-gritty of translation itself. Award-winning writer, editor and translator Daniel Hahn shared highlights of his recent real-time blog. Translation normally being an invisible task, in “Extreme visibility – on sharing a translation process” Daniel revealed his iterative method, spending months transforming a contemporary Chilean novel into English. He described some drafts as looking like “explosions in a multilingual nonsense factory” and sounding “like a badly tuned radio” before issues were ultimately resolved.

Brighton’s West Pier

Lloyd Bingham emphasised the need to switch from offering training in soft skills to mentoring new translators in core translation skills, as so little in-house experience is now available to provide them with vital feedback. We also need to reach out to translators beyond professional associations. Dot Roberts and Kelsey Frick showed us how to have fun disrupting LinkedIn. Starting her freelance translation career alongside the pandemic, Dot launched her “Meet the Translator” podcast – an alternative source of CPD and networking in remote times. Subtitling specialist Kelsey uses TikTok to showcase snapshots of her working life in a humorous way. Oliver Lawrence recommended translators consider the sound and rhythm of their text to create melodious and, consequently, attractive copy. Naomi Porter demonstrated how song translation can offer gains, shifts and creative choice resulting in a song worthy of performance.

Brighton’s Palace Pier

In these changing and hybrid times, embracing, and also making, changes will bring new positivity to our profession. We can emerge stronger by adapting, showing joy in our work and being cheerleaders for our colleagues.

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