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Contact Conference for Translators

I already wrote in my blog about four translation conferences I attended in 2018-2019. May 2019 saw me adding another one to my collection: The Contact Conference, organised by LinguaContact Translation Company.

Even though this event did not target merely interpreters, my colleagues and I learnt a lot.
Pros of the conference:
  • Pretty clear timing, though only up to a certain point. We were let out for lunch 45 minutes late, when the restaurant in Vega Hotel had already closed. We had to go to the next building for lunch and ended up being late for the presentation of Irina Alekseyeva, Director of the Higher School of Interpretation.

  • There was enough room for everyone, no one had to stand, as sometimes happens.
  • Presentations were one after the other; you did not feel like rushing from one hall to another, torn between different sessions, thus running into friends in the corridor and stopping to chat with them. Usually, when there are several lectures at once, I tend to spend half of them in lobbies and corridors.
  • Nice coffee break
And now I'd like to talk about the presentations that I found most memorable.
Dmitry Ramitsin spoke about making a video CV. Why do you need it? For the sake of clients' convenience: on the video, they can clearly see your manner of speaking, articulation, and whether you are camera-shy or not.

I think this is a very good idea. After all, voice quality, articulation, pronunciation are really a big part of the "product" we offer. I've been meaning to put a sample interpreting piece on my website for six months now; maybe a video CV would be even more interesting.

Tatiana Yaroshenko talked about the interpreter's code of ethics, which she has been developing for several years (more at http://translation-ethics.ru/). I didn't know, for example, that there was a community on Facebook called the Interpreter's Code of Ethics where they discuss various controversial aspects of our work.

Nikolai Duplensky had 23 tips for aspiring interpreters.

He mentioned that simultaneous interpreting washes out working memory, i.e., if you do a lot of simultaneous interpreting, it is harder to memorise a lot of phrases at once in consecutive mode.

Pavel Dunaev, senior translator of Sportmaster, shared his opinion on the three qualities in an interpreter that a client requires.

In his opinion, these are:
— easy interaction,
— high-quality result,
— reasonable price.

Interestingly enough, easy interaction (how quickly the interpreter responds and whether they are flexible in case of any additional conditions) comes first. Respond promptly and try to make the client's life easier in various small things (if the client says you need to order your own ticket—then do it without hesitation; if they require equipment—have it at hand to rent to them). He also said the following: "Personally, I wouldn't give a job to anyone without a free test translation." This is quite a controversial point and this is a matter for debate, but he is talking about translation, so won't go into it here

Fedor Kondratovich shared a list of the ten best online workplaces for translators. I personally stay out of the freelance workplaces, although I actively used proz.com about 8 years ago. Fedor believes that the high level of competition, the long time it takes to find a job, and the complexity of the algorithms - because you have to understand how each of them works separately - are the main problems with freelance workplaces.
I thought the most interesting part of the conference was the workshop given by simultaneous interpretation legend Pavel Ruslanovich Palazhchenko.
Hats off to the two intrepid volunteers who came on stage to let the master break down their interpreting in front of the entire audience.

A few quotes from Pavel Palazhchenko's comments:

"Never comment on your own interpreting (i.e. don't apologise for yourself.)"

"It is unacceptable to leave book titles untranslated (the book in question was The Jungle Grows Back.) He recommended giving any translation (Dzungli Vozvratschayutsa (The Jungle Returns), for example), regardless of whether you know the official translation or not)." This came as a surprise to me.

"English is more laconic, so I use it in shorthand when interpreting into both languages, but you can do as you wish."

"Listening, and in case of a consecutive interpreter, memorising, is the main skill of an interpreter. Make sure your notes are simple and rely on your young memory!"

"A simultaneous interpreter should look through at least two news websites in their languages every day. Don't you read the New York Times every morning?"

Nadezhda Korobeynikova spoke about the 15 most incomprehensible terms of common law. For example, drag along right, arm's length, pre-emption rights, indemnity. By the way, I think it is great that Nadezhda's presentation, as well as all the others were sent to the conference participants afterwards.

The last talk I listened to was from Anna Zaitseva, the 'goddess of oil and gas translation'. It was devoted to animalism and animal names in the oil and gas industry. There are so many animal references in oil and gas terms! Pigs and dogs are the most popular animals there, by the way.

Anna recommended the following books and movies about oil:

Daniel Yergin's The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power (Pulitzer Prize)

There Will Be Blood and
Deepwater Horizon.

Anna said some very poetic parting words: "I wish you happiness in your translation search and translation finds".

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