For me, translation conferences and events are a great excuse to travel. This year I decided to start by taking that long overdue trip to Barcelona and attending Together, the new event organized by Elia – European Language Industry Association that brings together freelance language professionals and companies, trying to establish/strengthen this relationship that, as we all know, can become problematic every now and then. These two sides have different opinions on countless matters concerning this industry. And there seems (or seemed) to be an endless feud between both. Even though this dichotomy was present throughout the whole event, harmony seems to be the key concept in all sessions, inspiring (or at least trying to inspire) the attendees to adopt such practices as respect, cooperation and valorization.
If I had to sum up what I brought with me from this event, I would use the words of Ana Hoffmeister, a consultant at docConsult GmbH who, when she referred to ISO 17100 certification in the TAILORED CERTIFICATION AND TRAINING FOR FREELANCERS BASED ON ISO 17100 AND THE ROLE OF LSPS IN TRANSLATOR CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD) panel, left one last piece of advice for all attendees “Don’t be afraid”.
- Fear of change – Resistance to change is a common factor among professionals in a wide range of fields. There’s this comfort in the old methods and processes that makes us fight new things, whether they are new tools, rules, methodologies, etc.. But is stagnation really that comfortable? What about the eternal question “I wonder if there is an easier/faster/funnier way of doing this?” Or, to quote Ana Hoffmeister again, “do we really have to change the whole world or just adapt to it?”
- Fear of technology – DO WHAT YOU ARE GOOD AT – TRANSLATION – AND LET YOUR TOOLS TAKE CARE OF THE REST was the title of the presentation by Balázs Kis, one of the founders of Kilgray Translation Technologies. With a background in Engineering, Balázs couldn’t help but make constant analogies between human beings and machines. But he left us with a final thought that the best technology is the one that goes unnoticed, i.e., the one that does not replace professionals but instead becomes an extension of them.
- Fear of communication – Stephen Lank, vice-president of Cesco Linguistic Services, Inc. and keynote speaker at the opening session STRONGER TOGETHER: REVITALIZING THE AGENCY-FREELANCER RELATIONSHIP said somewhere in his speech that the lack of communication in an industry where everybody is (allegedly) a good communicator is astonishing. He also says that a message is only successfully transmitted when we are sure the receiver understood it. In this fast-paced, increasingly demanding and complex industry, the number of misunderstandings, conflicts and aggravations is huge and could easily be avoided with some empathy and communication.
So, (and this is my advice to you) say what you need to say, say it once and for all and say it nicely.
Barcelona, see you again soon!