Some thoughts on Interpreting the Future Conference, BDU 2012


Almost 3 months passed since the Interpreting the Future Conference, organized by BDU this September in Berlin, but I’d love to share some impressions, mostly for my Russian colleagues, who were not there. This year BDU Conference and TFR 2012 had the same dates (28 till 30 September), so it was a tough choice. By the way, you can read a wonderful blog post on TFR 2012 from ReinhardSchaler’s blog.

So, the BDU Conference… It was the first time for me to attend the conference organized by BDU (Germany’s Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators), and I’ve got a very positive impression. The conference was held at a very professional level, including the web-site, number and spectrum of presentations and level of speakers. There were many talks on business matters, freelancing, terminology, technical translation, working with direct clients (inimitative Chris Durban!), need for specialization and getting the expertise in specific field, standardization and many, many others. The exhibition was not as big as I’ve used to see at medical conferences, but there were a lot of local companies, software developers and translation agencies, that are not so well known at ProZ or other big translator aggregators.

The people who attend the Conference were really different from what I’ve seen in Russia at TFR 2011. The latest was attended mostly by young translators and interpreters, seeking for wisdom and knowledge from their senior colleagues (and there were many gurus from Russian translation industry to learn from). At BDU Conference, on the contrary, there were significantly less young people, and more middle-aged professionals, working on their goals in continuous education.

It was amazing for me to see a bunch of presentations on sign interpreting, included in the Conference agenda, and actual sign interpreters were working on the opening, interpreting the speech of the officer lady from German Ministry of Education. Great to see that sign interpreting in Germany is considered a part of interpreting profession, and this service is highly evaluated.

Along with presentations, panel discussions were of a great interest, held by outstanding experts. However, to feel comfortable one should possess a good command of German to follow the lead. Conference agenda included equal amounts of English and German presentations, and many German presentations were interpreted into English (great job done by volunteer conference interpreters). However, panel discussions were live, and I had to use all my knowledge of German to follow the course of discussion.

The section on medical translation, where I was involved as a speaker, was not so big, holding only 3 presentations, but full of attendees, and we had a lively discussion. My presentation on the study in medical translation performed by medical doctors and linguists was a bit of surprise, since the phenomenon of medical doctor migrating into translation field in Germany (and in many countries outside Russia) is exceptional, and the number of such translators is close to zero. But it was great to share the Russian experience with German colleagues, and to get some insight into German medical translation field.

Three days of intensive networking and professional education made a great experience, and I’m happy I’ve had the opportunity to attend this event. If you ask for my recommendation, whether to attend the next BDU Conference, I will say ‘yes’.

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