Just over a week ago, I was lucky enough to attend the MedTranslate Conference organised by The Alexandria Library and GxP Language Services in Germany. The conference was specifically designed for medical and pharmaceutical translators, making it one of the very few specialised translation events.
I’m by no means a conference pro, I’ve not been to many of them, but I do follow a lot of the events on twitter, and what struck me about MedTranslate was the level of professionalism shown by all of the attendees. There was very little complaining about rates, agencies or other issues that seem to be frequently discussed on various fora and blogs, but rather a clear feeling of being there to learn more about different aspects of medical translation.
One thing that really stood out for me was the calibre of the speakers and the topics they chose to present. For each of the presentations I attended, the presenter was clearly an expert in the topic, and had a lot to teach us.
Of course, there was also a great deal of networking to be done, and it was lovely to meet some of the people I know through twitter or email in real life, and to meet a huge number of very interesting colleagues who share a similar vision for the translation profession in the future. I think it speaks very highly of the conference that many of us travelled quite a long way to get there (some even crossing the Atlantic for the weekend!), which definitely suggests that there is a gap in the market for more specialised translation conferences.
In amongst all of the information I picked up over the weekend (and wow, was it intense), I think there is one key area which we all felt needs further work – increasing the visibility of truly professional translators for clients. Siegfried Armbruster’s new idea of a faculty for medical translators was discussed at length, and it’s going to be really interesting to see whether it can fulfill his vision. Only time will tell!
Overall, I came back from MedTranslate feeling incredibly positive and inspired, full of ideas for the future. Hopefully this will mark the start of more specialised translation conferences, as it makes a nice change from the more general ones I’ve been to previously.
Other reviews of the conference (I’ll add more as I find them!):