Man vs. Machine? The FIT World Congress 2014

It’s been a hectic summer for me, and it’s shaping up to be an even busier autumn. I won’t bore readers with details of what has been keeping me occupied lately (although I will include a few links at the end of this post for friends and family curious to know what has caused me to drop off the map). But at some point amid all the list-making and juggling this summer, it occurred to me that either (a) I manage to find a way to balance blogging with my busy schedule, or (b) it may be time to close up shop on the Diaries altogether. And since I’m not quite ready for (b), here is my attempt to get back in the blogging saddle.

 "Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".


“Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

I’d like to ask you all to cast your glances ahead to August, 2014. Just under a year from now, the International Federation of Translators (FIT) will hold its XX World Congress in Berlin. The topic for the 2014 congress is Man vs. Machine? The Future of Translators, Interpreters and Terminologists. Over three jam-packed days, there will be a trade expo, a job exchange and plenty of opportunities for networking, not to mention around 100 different presentations, panels and workshops held around the following four sub-themes (as listed on the call for papers):

• Translators, interpreters and terminologists – careers demanding a diverse range of expertise (e.g. translation technology, terminology work, research expertise, business competencies, translation and interpreting in a wide range of specialist disciplines, literary (book) translation, intercultural competency, post-editing, audiovisual translation)

• How translation and interpreting contribute to safeguarding human rights (e.g. community interpreting, intercultural understanding, court interpreting, medical interpreting, interpreting in crisis and war zones)

• Professional practice and the rights of translators, interpreters and terminologists (e.g. professional ethics, standards and norms, fees, copyright and intellectual property, security and freedom of expression for translators and interpreters, crowd translation, transcreation)

• Teaching and research in the field of translation, interpreting and terminology work (e.g. didactic methods, general education vs. specialist education, CPD, IT tools in training, TRAFUT, language industry studies)

Why am I telling readers about the FIT event almost a year before it is scheduled to take place? Because now is the time for prospective attendees to vote for their favourite presentations, panels and workshops from the list of all the proposals submitted. Only the top submissions will be invited to form part of FIT 2014, so the voting process is key to the success of the event!

I have to admit I’ve got a bit of a vested interest in getting people out to vote. If you scroll way down the voting list, near the end under the heading “Teaching and research”, you’ll see one proposal that bears my name. It’s for a panel discussion entitled “The future is now: Virtual learning environments and the digital revolution in interpreter education” and if all goes according to plan, I’ll be joining Suzanne Ehrlich of the Univeristy of Cincinnati in the United States, Della Goswell of Macquarie University in Australia, Andrew Clifford of York University in Canada, and Kim Wallmach of Wits Language School in South Africa to address this very hot training topic. Together, we’ll offer perspectives from around the globe on how virtual learning has been embraced in interpreter training.

But that’s not all there is for interpreters at FIT 2014. A quick look at the list of proposals reveals a wealth of potential sessions that could be of great interest to those in our industry. Here are just a few that caught my eye:

– a workshop on the use of smartpens in interpreting (Esther Navarro-Hall, aka @MmeInterpreter)

– an introduction to iPads in the booth (Alexander Drechsel, aka @tabterp)

– theatre improvisation techniques as a professional development tool for interpreters (Matthias Haldimann, aka @matthaldimann)

– a panel proposal called “Interpreting 2.0: Exploring the interface between interpreters and technology”  bringing together Navarro-Hall, Drechsel, Nataly Kelly (@natalykelly) Barry Olsen (@ProfessorOlsen) and Thomas Binder

– a presentation on interpreting in the European Parliament (Juan Carlos Jiménez Martín)

– a paper on Edupunk (Jonathan Downie, aka @jonathanddownie)

– A review of EU Directive 2010/64 on the right to interpreting and translation in criminal proceedings (Liese Katschinka)

– A panel on technology and interpretation at European and international Courts and Tribunals (Liese Katschinka, Christiane Driesen, George Drummond)

…and there are plenty more. The good thing is, you can vote for as many proposals as you want! So, if you want to support ongoing dialogue in the translation and interpreting community – even if you don’t think you’ll be attending FIT 2014 in Berlin next summer – please cast your vote for what you see as the hottest topics in our industry today (if you submitted a proposal on an interpreting-related topic but don’t see it on my shortlist, please tell me in the comments section and I’ll add it). If you think you can fit it in, try to plan a trip to Berlin for next summer. I hope to see you there!

———–

…so what have I been up to this summer? In addition to putting together this proposal for FIT 2014, I attended a summer school for researchers, co-planned and ran a CPD course for young interpreters, prepared two courses for the fall term of my favourite online MA program, co-designed and held a skills upgrade course for practitioners, and am currently busy putting together a seminar for trainers in Africa. If you’d like to find out more about any of these initiatives, just let me know! 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Man vs. Machine? The FIT World Congress 2014

  1. Michelle,
    Thanks so much for the shout out for my FIT 2014 submission! Apparently the idea for an interpreter improv workshop was not perceived as completely crazy… It got accepted! If I’m not mistaken, your panel got accepted, too, right? Well, see you next year in Berlin! So excited!
    Matt

  2. Hello! My name is Melissa Delli, i’m a public interpreter (English-Spanish and Spanish-English) certified by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Justice of my country, Venezuela. I’ve been trying to do some research regarding job opportunities abroad, as well as opportunities to study more and become a Conference Interpreter with worldwide validity or at least in the United States or Europe. The reason i’m writing you this comment is that i like your blog very much and you seem to have an incredible knowledge of the processes to become a Conference interpreter and also about how to enter interpreter associations and conferences and in there is not much information from other interpreters (just to not say there isn’t at all) the interpreters i’ve reached out to are unable or unwilling to help or to give advice to hopeful beginners like me and i just want to be able to get recognition for my work and be able to enter the appropriate organizations of interpreters whether in Latin America, USA, Europe, etc.

    I apologize in advance for disturbing you, i’m sure you must be incredibly busy but i just wanted to reach out to someone that could understand where i’m coming from and maybe shed some light on how to embark in this venture/adventure. my email is meli.jlo85@gmail.com if you ever read this super long comment! thanks in advance and a big hug!

    • Dear Melissa,

      Thanks for your kinds words about my blog. I’m glad you find the information here useful. I can’t help you much on Venezuela, but I do know a few doors you might want to go knocking on to find out more:

      – try AVINC (a Venezuelan conference interpreters association). I did an interview with AVINC on this blog several months ago that you might want to read as well.

      – why not the website managed by VEGA, AIIC’s network for new interpreters?

      Hope this helps,

      Michelle

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s