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Feb 5, 2014

Cambridge conference - Getting Language Right!

One of the phrases best known from the Monty Python is "And now for something completely different!" This could be applied well to the conference at Cambridge (UK) next month (March 24th), which one leading conference planner and industry insider noted does not feature the "usual suspects" :-)

The sameness of conferences in the translation profession is wearing. Same topics, same speakers most of the time, perhaps a change of venue. What I find most distressing is that most (or all) of these conferences that I can recall off-hand are insiders talking to insiders. Chris Durban and others wisely advise participation in professional meetings and conferences related to one's specialties, but there are few venues where businessmen and other professionals gather to deal with issues of language that are important to good working translators, and the best opportunities for networking are generally at events where language and translation is definitely not the focus. One walks the trade fair floor for a day, mingles at event happy hours and pans the silt of interactions for the few nuggets that might be found with care.

The conference Communicating in Business – Getting Language Right features speakers involved in domestic, EU and international business, law and diplomacy and some translators working at high levels of public and private service with direct clients, who all share a deep understanding of what goes missing when we waste too much time fussing over technologies and forget that these are merely the form - irreplaceable human knowledge and skill in communication are most often the content that matters, especially so when one deals with the most important services, products, legal, social and political issues.

It's nice to see the rigid, repetitive mold of yet another Are You Ready for the Future of Translation Technology? event replaced by one that offers substance, nourishment and useful interactions for those who do not aspire to the compromised communication practices of the anonymized bulk market but instead concern themselves with carrying messages most effectively to those who want and need them.

I am a strong believer in good technology, properly applied, but private reports of a recent major translation project where all the processes worked perfectly, with translation memory tools, terminology review, planned workflows, etc. delivered an absolutely flawless format, perfect consistency and all of it perfectly unusable because the most important element was left out: the real communication specialists, the expert linguists who know the subject matter to be translated and how best to express it for another culture in the language needed. That's what the Stridonium conference is about - sharing best practice and working together as true partners in communication to stay on top of the top of the game.

Riccardo Schiaffino's About Translation blog has details of the conference, which can also be found on the Stridonium events pages.

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