Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas 2015

Dear blog readers,

Merry Christmas to you and very best wishes for a healthy, peaceful and happy new year!

As a minimalist, I have made a donation to UNICEF UK in lieu of sending Christmas cards this year. More information is available on the UNICEF website.

Monday, 30 November 2015

ITI German network Christmas party 2015

With the festive season fast approaching, around 25 members of the ITI’s German network gathered at the Kipferl Kneipe and Kitchen in London on 28th November 2015 for Gernet's annual Christmas get-together. The Kipferl is an Austrian coffeehouse in North Kensington, slightly tucked away in a side street off Portobello Road. It has gained a fine reputation for its excellent food and Viennese coffee varieties, served in a contemporary Austrian setting.

Kipferl Kneipe and Kitchen in North Kensington, London

It had been decided, after many years of meeting at the Barley Mow pub on Horseferry Road for this occasion, to try a new venue for this year’s event. Personally, I think the Kipferl was a great choice: the (German-speaking) staff were welcoming and friendly; the food was delicious; and the surroundings were both comfortable and stylish. Good company and conversations made for an enjoyable afternoon, with conversation topics ranging from the challenges involved in translating a novel via cycling in London to the availability of real Advent wreaths in the UK. And since we had the whole restaurant to ourselves, it was (relatively) easy to mingle and circulate around the room.

Given that most of us work in isolation, this get-together provided another wonderful opportunity to connect with fellow professionals in person and exchange work-related or other experiences. There was ample time to share tips on working habits, compare notes and talk in a relaxed social atmosphere. And I even met a couple of translators whom I had previously only known as Twitter names!
It’s true that quite a lot of us translators – due to our natural temperaments – tend to prefer smaller “doses” of socialising; so events of this kind can be energy-sapping. I, for one, am certainly not used to chatting for many hours. However, I definitely think it was worthwhile making my way into the capital for this meeting: it was a convivial afternoon that offered a chance to spend quality time with like-minded people.

Sadly, the afternoon drew to a close quite quickly, and at around 5 o’clock it was time for us to leave – after the 5 hours had just flown by. I love walking through London and enjoyed my walk back to Paddington Station afterwards to catch the train back home to Bristol. The experience of meeting at the Kipferl was enhanced by Twitter interaction as it allowed us to stay in communication for a while longer even as we were making our way back home.

Walking back to Paddington Station

By the way, you can keep up to date with the latest news and stories from the ITI’s German network by following @ITIGerNet on Twitter or by liking GerNet on Facebook. Do join us there!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

How successful women make the most of their time

"So, how are you?" When people ask me how I am, how things are going, I often catch myself replying: “Busy, as usual.” Do you find yourself doing this, too?

In her latest book I Know How She Does It, Laura Vanderkam describes, and draws conclusions from, the strategies that working women employ to create space for their priorities. It contains numerous examples of how women with full lives structure their days to have it all. “Having it all” is defined by Laura as a life involving professional success as well as enough time for personal pursuits.

Combining professional success and personal pursuits

The book obviously is again set in an American context. The women who recorded their time for one week as part of Laura’s "Mosaic Project" had to fulfil the following criteria: a) They had to have an annual income of more than USD 100,000; and b) they had to have at least one child under the age of 18 living at home.

Laura has been criticised for the controlling rigidness of her approach to time management. I, too, had felt slightly put off by her tenet that "a life is lived in hours" and that we should plan carefully how to spend the 168 hours that are available to us each week. With her new book, Laura demonstrates there is indeed nothing rigid about a disciplined and thought-through approach to her time management strategies.

The book sets out not just Laura’s favourite time management strategies, but also offers fantastic ideas on how to seize quality time, how to always hunt for the positive, and generally how to maintain a relaxed approach to life. They are practical ideas that are instantly applicable to everyday life – amidst all its craziness – and in particular when you combine work with raising children.

Just how much life really can get away from you when you’re juggling work and young children became clear to me a couple of years ago when at a get-together with former work colleagues from Bristol’s tourist office, I was told – to my absolute amazement – that Jessica Raine, who had previously worked with us, had, in the meantime, become a national film star.

I hadn’t been aware of this at all as I’d been so busy with work and my young children that I hadn’t met friends or colleagues, let alone found the time to switch on the telly over a prolonged period. I have since, of course, caught up on watching (most of) the “Call the Midwife” episodes. It felt surreal to see Jess on the TV screen! I am so pleased for her, as this is the career Jess had dreamed of!

I know I tend to have trouble carving out time for leisure or to decompress, so I found I Know How She Does It insightful and refreshing. I have drawn a lot of inspiration from it. Next time I’m asked how I am and how thing are going, hopefully my answer will be a bit different: "Busy – but less busy than usual."

Saturday, 6 June 2015

ITI WRG IT & CAT Tools Day

I've just returned from the ITI WRG's IT & CAT Tools Day, which was held at the Watershed on the harbourside in Bristol. I would like to take this opportunity to extend a huge thank you to Sandra Mouton for organising this workshop with such superb efficiency and good humour!

In the morning, Kevin Flanagan gave a presentation on sub-segment recall in translation memories, the theme of his PhD research. Based on this research, Kevin has developed a new functionality called "Lift", which will be incorporated into SDL products in the future. For more information check out the demo video here.

Four of the presenters: Elisabeth Hippe-Heisler, Mark Elliott, Sandra Mouton, Will Helton (from left to right)

In the afternoon, five WRG members (including myself) demonstrated specific translation tools that they find useful in their work. These tools included MemoQ, Dragon Naturally Speaking, CafeTran, Trados, OmegaT with LibreOffice and LF Aligner. My demo was about IntelliWebSearch. There was also ample opportunity to share software-related ideas and best practices in a relaxed social setting.

As announced in my demonstration, here is the video on IntelliWebSearch that I found on YouTube this week. It is presented by Michael Farrell, who developed the application.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Speech by Chris Durban: From frugality to prosperity

Chris Durban FITI, co-author of "The Prosperous Translator", delivered a thought-provoking, much anticipated and entertaining presentation on "Budgets and you" at the ITI Conference in Newcastle-upon-Tyne last month.

Here is another one of her must-watch speeches, which I happened to find on YouTube the other week. It was published following the PEEMPIP event "Shaping our common future" in Athens in October 2014. Enjoy!

Chris Durban:

"In translation there is not one market; there are hundreds of market segments."

"The demand for high-end, truly specialised translators is on the rise."

"Our profession is certainly one of the best in the world."

"It's not easy to be a translator; it's a hard job. You have to be pushing yourself all the time to do it well."

Monday, 27 April 2015

ITI Conference 2015

The biennial ITI Conference, the biggest translation and interpreting event in the UK, was held at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead from 23 - 25 April 2015. Once again, it attracted translation and interpreting professionals from all over the UK and beyond.

View from the Gateshead Millenium Bridge in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

The buzz around this year’s event was enormous. Not only was it declared a complete sell-out weeks in advance, but the conference hashtag #iticonf15 on Twitter immediately became the no. 10 trending hashtag in the UK on Friday, the first day of the conference.

I had booked for Saturday only, but arrived on Friday just in time to join the impromptu ensemble, coordinated by Ben Jones. Thank you to local cellist Penny Callow for lending her cello to Kari Koonin and thanks, too, to Louisa Fox for collecting at such short notice the keyboard from Anne Greaves for me to use.

I should point out that we had never played together before, although we had had the opportunity to practise a little at home. Everyone who was involved in the music-making enjoyed it, and the people listening evidently enjoyed it too. Parts of our music experiment were actually not too bad!

The impromptu ensemble

Making music together ex tempore in the hotel lobby was certainly far less daunting than the thought of my upcoming appointment with photographer Jules Selmes for a professional photo shoot the next morning…

Jules Selmes was on site to take professional portraits of attendees for their online profiles. I am glad to report that this, in the end, was far easier than expected as Jules really put me at my ease. If you’re looking for a professional photographer, I highly recommend his services!

Conferences are a wonderful platform for the exchange of profession- and industry-related tips, experiences and knowledge, and the Hilton was the perfect venue. As always, I’ve tremendously enjoyed the company of other translators and interpreters, both new and familiar.

The event was marked by a relaxed social atmosphere, but at the same time had the usual polished, professional feel to it, which is typical of ITI conferences. Talks by high-profile speakers and encounters with other professionals made for a worthwhile and enjoyable event.

Photos in conference tweets

I was especially interested in William Cassemiro’s talk on how a machine translation tool – he uses ProMT – can be integrated into CAT tools. I agree with William, who doesn’t view machine translation as an enemy, as many translators do, but rather as a mere tool.

The enthusiasm over his session was still palpable during our fringe dinner at Panis Café in the evening. I am always on the lookout for new ways of bringing more efficiency to my workflow, so I have made a mental note to definitely check out ProMT.

I would like to express a huge and heartfelt thank you to the conference organisers – and Anne de Freyman in particular – for making the ITI Conference 2015 such an efficiently organised, successful and memorable event!

Claire Cox, Jennifer Whiteley, Kim Sanderson, Oliver Lawrence, Ellen Worrell and YTI have also blogged about the conference:

- Claire Cox: Window on the Tyne – my view of the 2015 ITI Conference in Newcastle

- Jennifer Whiteley: Appreciating Bridges

- Kim Sanderson: When is a square not a square?

- Oliver Lawrence: Reflections on the 2015 ITI Conference 

- Ellen Worrell: Review: ITI Conference 2015

- YTI: ITI Conference in Newcastle 
Claire Cox has written another excellent conference blog post, which is entitled "An introvert's guide to avoiding conference overload". You can find it here.

Finally, you may also like to listen to this year's "Singing Translators".