I encountered a veritable rogues' gallery of linguistic sausage shoppers at the summit days, discussing plans to conquer the world. As GALA board chairman Robert Etches put it, controlling 1% of content translation is not enough, the elite cabal of translation technologists must march boldly forward with an army of cyborg post-editors and their purely electronic betters and take the 99% by storm, as the 1% have taken control of the rest in society at large.
|Photo courtesy of Stefan Gentz|
|Photo courtesy of Stefan Gentz|
Thanks to the heroic efforts of Portuguese paramedics I was able to return to the scene of the crime, where I fought to stay awake and alert to survive the journey to the L10n Den that awaited.
Shore 'nuff, there was an orgy of celebration for the Power of Machines. Not only do they do translation that way, but at the 5-star Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento the 1% Masters have even done away with the baristas (is that why the roses bloom so well?) and replaced them with Nespresso machines to make the coffee. I kept myself alert throughout the three days of the meeting with milky triple ristrettos. I considered the evil in store for Third World babies with that technology as the caffeine hit my veins and I buzzed from one point of innovative disruption to another.
|The Wonderful World of Disruption in Translation|
|This photo is the only thing that isn't sharp with this perceptive language and training consultant|
Ms. Sanchez mercifully spared me the public execution I deserved for my insistent error and waited until the knowledge-sharing roundtable later that day to explain the unique costing model applied by Nova in serving their cash-poor startup clientele in the Barcelona area (innovative - check!) and then went on to explain patiently that the "disruptive" character of the innovation was that it entered the lower end of the market where there was in fact no choice, for financial reasons, but to accept quality compromises. Usually when I hear such arguments, they come from the mouth of some bulk market bogster which I am tempted to punch, but with Ms. Sanchez and another Nova associate at that table what I heard was a tale of respectful partnership with aspiring new businesses. And a very profitable one at that. Hut ab!
Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned at my first GALA event was that, although the lighted stage and multimedia extravaganza might be dominated by the rapacious and somewhat idiotic one-percenters of the corporatist translation world and their acolytes, who comprise perhaps another four to nine percent, the vast majority of translation company CEOs who attend are sincere partners of the language service providers (translators and interpreters) they depend on, and they earn my respect in stride. I asked myself why some of my long-term, struggling agency partners were not represented in the crowd of 370 attendees and thought perhaps that might be why they were struggling. The information shared by so many presenters and by the mingling participants was worth far more than the four-figure cost of registration.
|After a quarter century of not speaking the language, I still give a shit about Japanese!|
The short, easy bus ride back home after the GALA event ended got a little complicated when the border zone resentments of the Spanish against their Portuguese betters were visited upon me in a practical joke that left me stranded for an extra day in Badajoz, where I took a 2 am kick in the ribs from a pugnacious little station minder who was frustrated to learn that I had done the impossible and bought a ticket for the 4:15 am bus that he had told me I was not allowed to board. It was interesting to learn that my Portuguese has improved to the point where the Spanish think I'm a native and as I near the border hate me accordingly. Just as I learned in Germany years ago, sometimes there are advantages to keeping a foreign accent, and, alas, I always end up the loser with any language I learn.
In the final kilometers between Estremoz and Évora, where I faced another two-day gauntlet of memoQ lectures and workshops at the university with my interns, I reflected on the lessons of my nine-day translation business odyssey, the high points such as, in the middle of an excellent presentation of the Open Source application translate5, the brave and honest call by Marc Mittag for Germans to forgive the debts of suffering Med countries as they were forgiven their far greater debts after the horrors of the Second World War, after which they experienced their foreign-financed Wirtschaftswunder, to those moments of bulk market bogster idiocy, calling for us all to drink the shitstream of the worldwide content firehose. Mr. Etches can take his 99% and the consequences thereof; my glass is more than half full :-)
|Notes from a silly discussion of the need for greed.|
will MT his way out of a job.
Being a fool,
he forgot the old rule
that the 1% own the whole mob
In Moreslavia's quality check,
the meaning can just go to Heck.
In the LQA game
Renato's the name
of the guy who is stacking the deck!
Let the corporates trumpet success
and disrupt the whole holy mess.
With speech recognition
we'll pay our tuition
and unequal pay then redress.