Because the American Translators Association celebrated its 50th anniversary conference in New York City, I was able to take time away from my office without too much trouble to attend some sessions and visit with colleagues and translators.
Overall, I found the conference excellent, and the turnout extraordinary. Over 2,300 attended and at times, it looked like translators had entirely overtaken the Marriott Hotel.
Although I was not able to attend as many sessions as I hoped, I wanted to mention a few I found to be particularly well done and engaging:
- Grant Hamilton held a pre-conference session on untangling the linguistic knot that is administrative French. His steady hand as a translator nudged us all in the direction of extracting the meaning, leaving behind the structure, and feeling the freedom to rephrase into beautifully readable English.
- François Lavallée’s session on translating slogans from English to French was not only amusing, it was unexpectedly informative. Unexpected because I was doubtful one could codify something that on the surface looks as instinctive and spontaneous as slogans. But François’ careful observation of French and English slogans over the years uncovered many underlying “rules” for slogan writing. I might also mention François’ comic timing, which made the hour fly by.
- On a more serious note, the session on legal translation presided over by Steve Kahaner, Thomas West III, and Alejandro Garro, was packed with useful information for the legal translator striving to develop the requisite experience to master this challenging translation field. And with Steve and Thomas both heading up well regarded translation agencies specializing in law (i.e., the competition), it gave me a chance to reflect on how to improve our offering here at Yndigo Translations.
While not all conference events and sessions were equally interesting or fruitful — as can only be expected at such an enormous event — the four days were, from my point of view, an overwhelming success.