ITI Conference 2019 – Reflections

Last week I attended my first ever ITI Conference. What an incredible experience! I have talked to lots of people, danced my heart out to the Accoustic Angels and learnt so very much from some truly inspiring people. Here are some of my highlights from the Conference as well as some recurring themes that cropped up for me.

Inspiring speakers

With so many to choose from, many of the talks I decided to attend followed the literary translation strand of which there was plenty to enjoy. Lucianda Byatt’s talk on the translation of nonfiction texts reminded me to not to overlook this important area of literary translation and offered tips about working practice and liaising with publishers. Carolina Smith de la Fuente chose translating the illustrated book as her topic, a fascinating look at the challenges involved once you add illustrations into the mix. I found David Warriner’s talk hugely encouraging as he spoke on his five-year journey as an emerging literary translator – it is possible to live the dream! Daniel Hahn entertained the room with his whirlwind run through a week’s translation workshop condensed into half an hour. One comment I take away from that session being that we learn so much, if not more, from looking at and discussing other people’s work, not just having our own work looked at. Also noteworthy were Oliver Kamm’s keynote speech and an oh-so-important discussion from Alison Hughes on outreach into schools, universities and businesses.

Parenting as a recurring theme

As a mum myself, I found it interesting to hear how many times it was proven that becoming a parent has such a massive impact on people’s lives and careers. The Hoxby Collective’s Lizzie Penny stated this as her turning point to carve out a new path with her career. David Warriner was inspired to move into literary translation to line his daughter’s bookcase with the legacy of “books translated by Dad”. And there were numerous conversations with others like me who have turned to translation as a flexible career after children.

The importance of supporting each other and building your network

Through membership of the East Midlands Regional Group, walking into my first Conference felt far less scary than I had imagined. I knew that among these new faces, I would also find several people who I now class not only as translation colleagues but also as friends. The Gala Dinner was not simply a “work do”, but a hugely enjoyable social gathering as well. Knowing people in advance of the event was also a huge benefit when meeting new people – to be introduced to a new contact by an existing contact was great and much less terrifying than having to constantly approach new people.

I was really surprised at the apparent success of my tweeting over the last year. I lost count of the number of people who upon hearing my name replied with: “I think I’ve seen you on Twitter”. From the day not so long ago when I reluctantly signed up after my mentor Ellen Worrell suggested it, I am now a huge advocate of its use. It has helped me to build my network and allowed me to be in contact with people I would never otherwise have heard about.

Awards

I was very pleased to receive a special commendation from ITI in the Best Newcomer (Freelancing) category. Having been informed of my commendation some weeks ago, I was intrigued to discover who had pipped me to the post and won the prize. The winner was announced Corrine Harries, a fellow student (former student in her case) on the Bristol MA course. I know how hard I have worked over the last year to get to this point and I take my hat off to Corrine for having won this award. I am, however, very proud of my own achievement and my certificate will take pride of place in my office.

Thank you so much to the team at ITI for creating such a varied and interesting programme. I can’t wait for the next one!

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