Alicante conference on financial translation, June 27-29

Preparing for the III Congreso internacional de traducción económica, comercial, financiera e institucional in Alicante has been a learning experience, not least because most (but not all) of the presenters in Spain will be academics—not my typical audience profile.

Fortunately I was privileged to be invited to the launch of ITI’s new Research Network on June 16, which was a distinct push in the right direction. Make that: a kick in the seat of the pants (so many facile stereotypes out there!).

And I naturally signed up for a few websites publishing academic work to peruse past and current research papers in the field, all the while sorting out issues related to a practitioners’ event focusing on financial translation that will take place in Brussels from July 4-6. (That’s SFT’s 9th Université d’été de la traduction financière, or UETF.)

All of which has shaped my contribution to the Alicante conference: “Dichotomies, differentiators and predictors. What mystery shopping can teach us about successful corporate translation”.

At this point, I’m particularly interested in under-reported predictors of (1) successful translation and (2) successful careers in translation, which I assume academics will be as interested in as practitioners.


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ITI’s “One day in… Gray’s Inn” (June 16, 2018)

It was a great pleasure to see so many friends, old and new, in London on Saturday, and an immense honor to receive the Institute’s John Sykes Memorial Prize for Excellence.

The same morning, ITI celebrated its Research Network Launch and Faraday Discussion. This was attended by two dozen academics and practitioners who discussed the big picture, the details, and their druthers—starting with how associations can actively promote research that will benefit the entire profession.

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Earlybird ends in 24 hours—UETF in Brussels, July 4-6

More on this biennial event designed especially for French>English and English>French financial translators and interpreters at a later date. For now I simply want to point out that registration at the earlybird rate ends tomorrow, May 15, at midnight Paris (and Brussels) time. Full details at — in English and French, no less.

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Golden notes in Porto on May 19 (Aptrad)

Now for something completely different: a back-and-forth for two voices against a backdrop of golden notes.
At Aptrad’s conference on May 17-19, Allison Wright and l will zero in on money issues facing freelance translators, including a million-dollar question or two.
The first golden notes were literally that: ideas and insights scribbled on bits of paper. These grew into advice offered in presentations, into the Fire Ant & Worker Bee column (with Eugene Seidel), and later into “The Prosperous Translator”. Translators took their own scribbled notes away from all three.
On May 19, Allison and I will be thumbing through the more interesting scribbles on those scraps of paper, and deciding which ones are worth focusing on in the decade ahead. C_Users_Allison Wright_AppData_Local_Packages_Microsoft.SkypeApp_kzf8qxf38zg5c_LocalState_52560601-5a50-4adb-85c8-1b86e7a6338d

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Pricing in Athens on May 6

Lots of travel in the air this spring, starting with BP18 (Vienna) and NETA (Boston) at the end of April. I hope to see many readers at these events.
On May 6, it’s on to Athens for a hands-on workshop following PEEMPIP’s AGM. We’ll be looking at pricing, using a very concrete example and following up with some scenarios worth pondering.

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“Dealing with shades of grey” at BP18 in Vienna (April 20)

On April 20 I’ll be speaking in at Csaba Bán’s endlessly enticing BP18 event in Vienna, zeroing in on revision. “An exercise in sado-masochism?” asks one attendee.
Not necessarily.

From my shades-of-grey blurb:

Most experienced translators have been called in at least once to give their opinion of an existing translation. The requester may be earnestly curious, mildly suspicious, or actively seeking expert help to turn a bad situation around.  Enter “quality”, “subjectivity” and, say some, “nitpicking”. Or possibly indignation.

How, precisely, should a serious and ethical professional translator respond to the client’s request, judge the first effort, explain her assessment to the customer, and, if necessary, deliver the (revamped) goods? This presentation looks at the process, the questions, and the obligations on all  sides—including the client and the original translator.

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For experienced translators only: Business Acceleration Masterclass in Cambridge (Mass.) on April 29

While in Boston for the New England Translators Association’s 22nd annual conference, I’ll present a masterclass for experienced translators intent on taking their business up a notch. Note that this is not for beginners or part-timers.
Registration is now open, including a two-for-one offer until February 16.
Full details here.
(And be sure to contact me directly if you have any questions:

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April 28: Filthy lucre in Boston at NETA’s 22nd annual conference

I’ll be discussing translators’ fraught relationship with money in the endnote session of NETA’s 22nd annual conference, to be held on April 28 in collaboration with and at UMass Boston.

From the blurb: How much should translators charge? What is “fair”—or is that even relevant? When does pricing (up or down) get arrogant or (gasp) abusive? And does the mere act of bargaining devalue our status as intellectual service providers? (So tacky! So… capitalist.) All this when most translators are simply looking for a way to make the case for the value they create with ease, grace—and success. Why is that so hard?

Note: I referred to an early version of this talk in my presentation on working with direct clients at a language conference in Washington, DC in October 2017, commenting that my proposal had been refused by a (nervous) association. That association was obviously not NETA (go NETA go!).

Experienced translators interested in taking the discussion a step further (and ramping up their own practice along the way) may be interested in a new session of my Business Acceleration Masterclass for Translators & Interpreters the next day, hosted by the Cambridge Center for Adult Education near Harvard Square.

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XISU (Xi’an) in winter

From 23 December to 5 January, I visited XISU in Xi’an (PRC) to give two lectures and teach a class of motivated undergraduates. The talks addressed translation, censorship & power, then specialization. Teaching focused on the dynamics of real-life jobs performed for a demanding client base in France—introducing students to some of the issues they will have to deal with if they enter the premium end of the market. Much food for thought; more on this fascinating experience in a future post.

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Nov. 25 at OMT’s San Jerónimo 2017

Reporting late on this (for me) voyage of discovery: on November 25, I gave a pre-conference workshop at “San Jerónimo 2017”, the 21st International Translation and Interpretation Conference of the Mexican Translators Association (OMT), followed by a talk on the importance of asking questions at the conference itself. And returned home impressed by the impeccable organization, including the OMT team’s savvy decision to hitch its wagon to the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), the world’s second largest book publishing event. Year after year, OMT attracts a large, highly motivated group of professionals to its parallel sessions—hats off.


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