The 3rd-5th of August saw Brisbane host one of the most distinguished events for translators and interpreters worldwide.
The International Federation of Translators (Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs, FIT), occurs once every three years, making this opportunity a must-attend.
Hosted by the Australian Institute for Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT), the 21st FIT World Congress explored the theme “Disruption and Diversification”. The industry of translating and interpreting is deeply embedded in the crosswinds of global change, so it is hard to imagine a more fitting and relevant topic!
As Polyglot’s Language Solutions Coordinator, I jumped at the opportunity to attend this year’s event (especially with it being right on our doorstep Down Under!). What’s more, The Polyglot Group is also a proud board member of the Australasian Association of Language Companies (AALC).
Due to our commitment to AALC, The Polyglot Group was invited to AALC’s pre-conference networking event. This enriching experience allowed us to make new contacts and meet other language service providers (LSPs)… what a great way to kick off the FIT!
“The industry of translating and interpreting is deeply embedded in the crosswinds of global change.”
Getting Down to Business…
After a very warm (and completely mind-blowing) welcome from the Nunukul Yuggera Dancers, we got down to business. Over the course of three days, we heard from academics, freelancers, professionals, as well as government and judiciary bodies.
These industry specialists presented incredible findings, which resulted from years of research and a vast amount of practical experience. The topics explored were limitless. From the impact of sign language interpreting on the deaf world, to the very latest in translation and interpreting technology; all aspects were put on the table.
The Fascinating World of Interpreting
Interpreting garnered a lot of attention at the conference. This topic was kicked off with an eye-opening account of the Aboriginal Interpreter Service in Australia, which lead to other conversations about positive disruptions. There was no shortage of astounding anecdotes! We heard about interpreting for on high-profile police cases, as well as interpreting for international criminal court cases.
Dr. Glenn Flores also gave a fascinating talk about interpreting within the healthcare industry. At large, he addressed the way in which language barriers impact healthcare, and the serious danger of unqualified interpreters (such as family members). Due to his chill-giving stories, I’m sure his hashtag #InterpretersSaveLives resonated with everyone.
A Brighter Future with Tech
Technological advances in modern translation and interpreting was another hot topic. We heard about remote interpretation technology showcased, by the Swedish interpreting portal Tolkeportalen and our very own Aussie Congress Rentals/Iipher. Iipher followed-up with a practical demonstration of a simultaneous interpretation app, highlighting some of the latest practical solutions to assist with remote simultaneous interpreting.
As expected, machine translation and the development of AI received a lot of attention from scholars and practitioners alike. FIT carefully examining such topics as the quality of machine translation between Arabic and English, French and English, building artificial intelligence with new translation tools, and big data-driven cloud-based translation.
“Machine translation and the development of AI received a lot of attention from scholars and practitioners alike.”
New Developments in Australia
Day three looked at the national standard on working with interpreters in court. The Council of Australian Chief Justices has approved the ground breaking Recommended National Standards for Working with Interpreters in Courts and Tribunals.
The presentation included an overview of the recommended standards and model rules and discussed their importance. It was clear that this new development will have a huge impact on the judiciary and interpreting profession.
The other new development discussed was, of course, the future of T&I Certification in Australia. Presented by NAATI‘s CEO Mark Painting, this discussion looked at the plan to roll out a new system of certification in the next year (with the plan to standardise the awarding of credentials). These changes will undoubtedly affect many practitioners and language service providers and have a significant impact on the way LSPs participate in government tenders.
These changes will undoubtedly affect many practitioners and language service providers and have a significant impact on the way LSPs participate in government tenders.
Project and Terminology Management
It started off with a presentation called In Termino Qualitas by Rodolfo Maslias, Director of the EU Terminology Coordination Unit in Luxembourg. In his talk, Rodolfo examined the approach to terminology and translation quality adopted in the EU Parliament.
This topic intertwined with a WIPO panel, led by Geoffrey Westgate. WIPO Pearl is a free terminology portal, which represents a human-generated, multilingual collection of scientific and technical terminology. It is incredible to know how much knowledge is actually available for free in the public domain!
The topic of terminology management concluded with a session on the importance of terminology management in a corporate setting, presented by Silvia Cerrella Bauer. Silvia shared her knowledge practical tools which enable terminology management for businesses. This incredible tool facilitates the preparation of a project plan, right through to project execution.
T&I Continues to Evolve…
Overall, the FIT Congress clearly showed that the world of T&I is complex, as well as ever-changing. As someone who has personally experienced the constant new challenges within this industry, I believe these events could not be more important. As such, I would like to say a huge thank you to the organisers, and all the participants.
If you would like more information on this year’s event (plus more industry insights), check out the 2017 FIT App!