Monday, February 20, 2012

What do Translators do in their free time? The ITA conference 2012

I have just come back from Israeli Translators Conference in Jerusalem on February 13-15. The question that may come into mind is what exactly do translators do at such a conference.
The banal answer is what everybody else does: talk, eat, complain, and drink coffee.  However, due to the nature of the audience, the entertainment is a bit difference.  Of course, there are the nuts and bolts seminars on converting PDF’s, CAT (Computer Aided Translation) tools, and pricing (I and my partner Tzviya Levin gave the last).  There were discussions on translating Alice in Wonderland, personal names into Hebrew, Jewish place names, the Hebrew word davka, to name just a few. While most translators do not need to know those, they are far more interesting than the more practical lectures.
Finally, there are the special events in my mind.  This year, we learnt about translating Mozart’s arias into Hebrew and even got to listen to opera singers perform them. We heard the woman who actually chose to translate Shakespeare’s sonnets into Hebrew.  We even received interesting historical surveys of Israeli film and Pashkevil, the ultra-orthodox version of popular newspapers.
However, fundamentally, the conference represents the annual opportunity to leave our little caves (granted with computer windows) and interact with real flesh and blood human beings.  It is a pleasure to meet the faces behind the email addresses and see the variety of people who choose to make translation their profession. 
Of course, after three days, all the translators were extremely tired of constant social dialogue and were quite happy to return to their caves and get back into word games.
If you want more information on the ITA and/or the conference, go to the ITA site.
I’ll be visiting the states for two weeks, but will go back to writing when I get back.

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