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".

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Book recommendation: “Someone Else’s Conflict” by Alison Layland

If you like to lose yourself in a really good book, I highly recommend the thriller “Someone Else’s Conflict”. It was written by fellow ITI German network member Alison Layland, who I met at a workshop in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago.

I’m not into reading novels in general (I prefer newspapers and non-fiction books), but I admit I found myself completely absorbed in this thriller while on holiday in Germany over Easter. “Someone Else’s Conflict” is an engagingly written, skilfully composed novel and a real page-turner!

Engagingly written and a real page-turner!
The following review by Ros Mendy appeared in the March 2015 edition of the ITI German network’s newsletter:

Someone Else’s Conflict is a new novel by fellow GerNet member Alison Layland.

The story switches between past and present – between the Balkans of the 1990s, torn apart by the Croatian War of Independence, and the Yorkshire Dales, where the biggest problems are the weather and poor mobile phone coverage. The main character, Jay, is an itinerant storyteller with multiple identities who is haunted by the ghosts of Yugoslavia. Marilyn is a local artist, newly single and keen to assert her independence. The arrival of a third character – an illegal teenage immigrant called Vinko – is the catalyst that brings the echoes of the Yugoslav conflicts to the Yorkshire Dales. As Jay’s past catches up with him, his blossoming relationship with Marilyn is put to the test and they find themselves caught up in a dark, scary world of murder and revenge.

The book is described as a “gripping crime debut” and a “fast-paced thriller”. It does have plenty of mystery and suspense and builds up to a fast-paced finish, but it is far more than a thriller. Someone Else’s Conflict is an intelligent, character-driven novel that deals with language and identity, belonging, immigration, trust, guilt, the search for love and the lasting effects of war. The characters are believable and engaging, the descriptions evocative and the dialogue realistic. I particularly enjoyed the storytelling aspects, and even learned the origin of the word “cravat”.

Someone Else’s Conflict was picked as the January 2015 debut of the month on

(reproduced with kind permission by Ros Mendy)

Visit Alison Layland’s website here or follow her on Twitter @AlisonLayland.

As a minimalist, I enjoyed reading “Some Else's Conflict” as an e-book, but it is also available in paperback.