GALA joins forces with Brazilian Association at the 7th Abrates Conference
From June 3 to 5, GALA attended the 7th International Abrates Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Brazilian Association of Translators and Interpreters (Abrates) is a GALA partner and organizes an annual conference that is considered one of the largest in South America. The city that will host the 2016 Summer Olympics in a couple of months welcomed more than 600 translators and interpreters from all around Brazil and other countries like Argentina, Portugal, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. The wide variety of presentations is already known by its attendees, but this year in the two days of the conference they had to choose from seven simultaneous tracks and more than 100 presenters.
The conference actually started on June 2, with a pre-conference workshop that attendees could purchase separately. This was followed by a pre-conference happy hour organized by myself, and Abrates Board members Dayse Boechat, First Treasurer, and William Cassemiro, Second Treasurer and recently elected President. There were other courses in the morning and afternoon of June 3, while the official opening ceremony happened in the evening.
Cora Rónai, Brazilian journalist and daughter of the late Paulo Rónai, a Hungarian-born Brazilian translator, philologist and critic who was one of the founders of Abrates, was interviewed by Vice President Renato Beninatto. A very moving session, it paved the way in great style to the best Abrates conference so far. During the opening toast, kindly offered by GALA, attendees could start to network while sipping a glass of a lovely Argentinian wine and enjoying some great finger food. What a fantastic way to start a conference!
The first day of presentations kicked off with topics that ranged from Brazilian movies translated into English to machine translation (MT) technology, by guest speaker Kirti Vashee. As a US-based MT consultant/expert who has written several articles for Multilingual and the ATA on the subject, Kirti’s presentation entitled “MT as a Corporate Utility and the General MT Technology Landscape” provided many interesting insights and figures on the subject. Kirti mentioned that in languages like Portuguese and Spanish, MT is getting better over time, and according to a study by Google (2012), Portuguese is the most suitable language for MT. He also mentioned the fact that human feedback can raise MT’s raw output to previously unseen quality levels, and understanding its quality is key to determining the value of such opportunities.
Other equally fantastic presentations followed, touching on varied topics, such as dubbing, lexicography, Code of Ethics, editorial translation, balance between personal and professional life, interpreting, history of translation, on-line training resources, literary translation, personal and professional budgets, subtitling, sign interpreting, the work with translation agencies, marketing for translators, and much more. All this before noon on the first day! Not to mention the special room for CAT tools, where Wordfast, SDL Trados, Matecat, memoQ and Memsource presented demos throughout the conference.
After the lunch break, at GALA’s presentation, “Economic Crisis at Home? The World is Yours – How to Overcome Obstacles When Selling Abroad,” Fabiano Cid (Ccaps) and Lilian Alves Mautone (LocHouse), from Brazil, asked Eugenia Echave (SpeakLatam) and Gabriela Morales (Rosario), from Argentina, how they dealt with the Argentinean crisis. The main lesson learned was that we should not ignore we are in the middle of a crisis, but we should rather discuss it and find ways to prevent it from causing us more damage. As strongly pointed out, increasing inflation is an issue, and we should not wait until it reaches its peak.
Some ways of overcoming the crisis, according to GALA members, are as follows:
- Invest in technology that will make us more productive and will allow us to save money.
- Focus on healthy clients and ditch toxic, high-maintenance ones.
- Diversify your portfolio and avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.
- Look for clients in other countries.
- Renew your service offering and revisit prices.
- Find the right people to help and learn to delegate.
- If you want to grow, you need help; if you do not know how to do something, find someone who does and focus on what you are good at.
GALA concluded its presentation talking about the benefits and visibility it offers to members. As an umbrella association, GALA’s affiliation serves as warrant in times of crisis.
Followed by the enlightening GALA presentation, the Abrates Mentoring Program was presented to attendees by Steering Committee members William Cassemiro, Adriana Sobota, Mônica Reis and yours truly. It was a very pleasant talk where current mentors and mentees had a voice and spoke about their enriching experience. To sum up a day full of interesting talks, there was a round-table on machine translation with Kirti Vashee, Ricardo Souza, Ronaldo Martins and Marcelo Fassina, followed by a fun dinner organized by the conference.
On Sunday, we were all back with another day full of talks on a variety of topics, such as sworn translations, translation corpus, translation studies, machine technology, LSPs, Translation Office 3000, technical translation, translation of children books, literary translation on the web, game translation, technical drawings, translation quality, and more. It was also my turn to present on how to use Facebook to create a positive image of your on-line presence.
Just before the official closing ceremony, there was a round table offered by the Brazilian Translators Union (Sintra) on literary translation and copyright with Heloísa Martins Costa, Ernesta Ganzo, Daniele Petruccioli, from Italy, Renata Pettengill, Lenita Esteves, translator of The Lord of the Rings into Portuguese, and Petê Rissatti. The closing ceremony was extremely emotional with the surprise visit of renowned actress Vera Holtz, a dear friend of Liane Lazoski, who is concluding her second term as Abrates president this June. Vera entered the stage to announce that the association had reached 1,000 members, one of Liane’s promises when she started.
To wrap it up in style, the local networking event organized by GALA took place at Pub Escondido, in Copacabana, to where we all headed for burgers and craft beer. A great way to close the best Abrates conference by far. The gathering allowed us to say goodbye to our lovely colleagues from all over the country and abroad. The combination of quality presenters, experienced CAT tool representatives, knowledgeable translation agencies, great sponsors – GALA especially! –, promising networking events, amazing learning opportunities and a great deal of fun was unparalleled.
I hope to see you all next year in São Paulo!