I just returned from my 5th Israeli Translators Convention. Attending such an event requires a significant investment of money, time and energy. Many people, translators and non-translators alike, ask what the return on this investment is.
The most obvious benefit is knowledge, whether immediately practical or not. Dubbing, subtitling and faction translation are not even a marginal part of most translators business, all of which were explained in a wonderful clear manner, Yet, I feel somehow richer understanding the requirements and challenges of those fields since it expands my vision.
Of course, there were numerous technical workshops on various translation tools, including the MemoQ and SDL CAT tools (Computer Aided Translation), Abbyy Fine Reader and Word. The concentrated and immediate access to experts is invaluable and really only available at conferences.
Of course, there were countless niche-specific presentations. For those involved in the specific niche, the lecture provided priceless information.
Finally, the conference was blessed by fascinating speeches from non-translators, ranging from Simcha Jacobici (the Naked Archaeologist), journalist Eetta Prince-Gibson, a Jerusalem based reporter, and Israeli writer Dorit Rabiniyan.
Other areas of presentations included business, literary and cloud based translation. Sometimes, it felt very frustrating only to be able to attend one lecture at a time.
The other major benefit, one that personally reinforces my energy and desire to do the best job possible, is the added proof, if one were necessary, that translation matters. It affects how people understand the news, interpret the Bible, learn about other cultures through foreign fiction, cook a dish, understand a disease and defend their rights in court, to name just a few. This often invisible part of the document production cycle is in fact no less important than the writing of the document itself. In other words, even in some translators feel isolated and even neglected in their modern computer-equipped caves, we do indeed make the world better.
So, it is back to work with a renewed understanding of why I read the small print of insurance contracts and articles of association. We are relevant. That confidence by itself is more than adequate compensation for the price of the conference.