Sep 6, 2012

TM-Europe 2012: managing translation, not memories

Last year I attended the annual international translation management conference in Warsaw (TM-Europe) for the first time. Other than a guest post on the XLIFF symposium, this event wasn't mentioned on the blog, because shortly after the event my dog nearly died of babesiosis from a tick bite, and I had other things to think about for a long while, so many other tidbits, such as My Dinner with Andrä (well, lunch, actually) never made it to publication at the end of 2011.

Despite the silence, there was much worth telling about the event in Poland. I went on a lark because I had never been there before and wanted to see a few of the attendees I knew, and I was greatly surprised by what was possibly one of the most personally interesting conferences for translation I have ever attended. Despite the word "management" in its title, the presentations and discussions were very relevant to my freelance business as well as to agency and corporate attendees.

One of the highlights of the conference for me wasn't a presentation, but a conversation with one of the great creative developers for translation tools, Daniel Benito of Atril, whose insights and ideas on terminology mining still have my mind spinning with fascinated speculation on their feasibility and potential. Yves Champillon, the creator of WordFast - a product I don't like much at all - gave a presentation so fascinating that I actually found myself testing that suite of products again and developing interoperability solutions for agencies in my consulting clientele. The quantitative research on MT post-editing presented by Indra Samite was excellent, though I thought the conclusions overly optimistic and unsupported by the data, which rather spoke for itself. Paul Filkin's presentation on SDL Trados Studio 2011 was absolutely superb and helped me to understand an environment with ergonomics that often leave me baffled. The networking opportunities were superb, with leading experts, developers, professional organization heads, corporate language specialists, translation agency personnel, freelancers, consultants and others from around the world mingling and sharing ideas in a personal atmosphere.

The 2012 conference has the future of translation and localization as its theme. But don't expect the future vision of dark, Satanic post-editing mills propagated by the Common Nonsense Advisory and TAUS acolytes. Like last year, machine translation is part of the program, but here there will be an open discussion about whether its role is not being oversold just a wee bit, with MT advocates trading polite, professional blows with skeptics such as Miguel Llorens who see the future as having more of a human component. Freelance transcreator and consultant Chris Durban will speak on the mass market versus the premium one and why you should care about the difference for your future.

Mark Childress of SAP will speak on the future of terminology management. Given his deep expertise in that field, I would go to Warsaw on a bicycle to hear him. Fortunately, my carpool arrangements in a colleague's van newly converted to LPG promise to be more fun and comfortable. And my dog hates riding piggyback on the bike.

Have a look at the event program for 2012 (with information still being added). It has a good balance of presenters from all sides of translation and localization and promises once again to be an excellent forum for exchanging ideas to do our business better.

Early bird conference registration closes tomorrow (September 7th - not the 5th as stated on the web page... the organizers do an excellent program, but the written pre-conference communication this year has been a little confusing sometimes). However, registration is possible until the event itself as far as I know.

The conference will be held from October 4th to 5th; on October 3rd there will be a pre-conference workshop on project management and an evening welcome reception sponsored by Kilgray.


  1. It would be great if there was an option to follow the conference via the web for the ones who unfortunately can't make it to Poland - ATA's conference next October has this option.

    Perhaps next year! Until then, we're depending on your report! :-)

  2. Maybe there will be one, who knows? I don't think the AV always works out so hot for such things, however. Kilgray broadcasts and records the memoQ conferences, but with my hearing impairment I can't make much sense of most of the recordings later. There was a fairly active twitstream last year. But all the virtual stuff misses out on the part I get the most from: talking to the attendees. Of course I saw a lot of familiar faces there, but it was the unfamiliar ones who often surprised and pleased me the most. A random seat at lunch introduced me to Microsoft language experts with fascinating insights. It was sort of like two days of early Christmas for me without the holiday dread. And I'm looking forward to the Mexican restaurant I was introduced to about half a kilometer from the venue when I was in Warsaw to consult two months ago. With Mark Childress talking terms and a good burrito (reminds me of good food where I grew up) - what more could I want? OK, world peace and a billion euros perhaps....

  3. This year, Daniel Benito and Yves Champillon are not among speakers/attendees, or have I misread the program?

  4. I'm not sure, Valerij. Corporate sponsor presentations ran on a separate track I think, and I don't think these are listed at the moment. As I mentioned, some of those were really superior and taught me respect for tools that I am otherwise not overly enthusiastic about. This year the web site information has been a bit slow with updates and suffered a little date confusion, but I know the organizers have been having one of those Multitasking Summers from Hell. I ought to be more on top of the details myself, but I've been buried in other stuff like finishing the draft of my book. But I've seen enough already to know that it will be a worthwhile road trip across those great new Polish freeways that aren't mapped in my navigation system (tip to anyone driving: be very sure to update your maps, as everything changed in mid-summer... I spent several hours after midnight trying to find an onramp not closed by construction as I returned to Berlin from Warsaw....)


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