I have plenty of time before my flight at the airport in Amsterdam. Plenty of time to reflect about my experience as speaker at the Rotterdam Proz.com Translators’ Conference.
#1 – It is not easy to talk to other expert professionals about an “unpleasant” topic such as proofreading and preferential changes. Anyone had at least one bad experience with proofreaders or complaints. The most difficult thing for a “situational introvert” like me was to speak in a foreign language because I cannot use humour and irony as I usually do. However, I am glad I fought against my fears. If other translators are ready to share their experience with me, why not sharing mine? Our profession should benefit from cooperation. Translators have probably less visibility and consideration than they deserve. I really liked Gary’s comparison for a rough translation: “Come on, you do not roughly cut your hair before going to a professional hairdresser to have it fixed! When you find the right hairdresser who can advise you to choose the right cut every time, you will not change!”
#2 – When you are preparing a talk, a webinar, a lecture for the benefit of other professionals, you learn as well. It helps you focus on processes, aspects of your work you have never thought about, possible doubts and questions. It makes things clearer to you too.
#3 – Most translators do not like finance and economics. Financial translations are too complex and too tricky is the usual comment, when I introduce myself as a financial translator. Probably it was a good idea to talk about proofreading instead of financial translations! Maybe next time I will try to convey another message, that financial translation is so vast, with so many sub-sectors, that is not boring at all. It may be profitable and interesting, since you must keep constantly up-to-date what is going on in the world.
#4 – Energetic people always attract my attention. If you are frustrated or negative, people will notice. If you are passionate about your job, people will notice. Social events at conferences are always one of the best part of the package. You can find inspiration and, as Allan said during the powwow last night, you have a clearer idea of what is your place in the business.
#5 – You learn tips and tricks to make your life easier. Fernanda’s and Sameh’s technology-oriented speeches were a success for me because that’s what we need: practical valuable tips to simplify our busy stressful working day.
The theme of the conference was Supporting each other, Learning from each other. Continuous learning is the best of your profession. Do not complain that clients do not understand us, that editors proofread our jobs unprofessionally. We translators are not the best, we are human beings trying to do the job we love at our best. Let’s communicate better what we do and what we are.
Let’s share what we have learned and it will be a better world for translators.