Last week, I spent Thursday and Friday in Brussels at the Translating Europe Form, a conference mainly geared towards those in the early stages of their translation career. I wasn’t really sure how relevant some of the presentations would be, but it seemed like a great opportunity to review some of the basics of my business and see/meet colleagues in one of my favourite cities!
One thing I particularly liked about the way Translating Europe was organised was that most of the sessions covered several topics at once – each grouped into overarching themes like ‘the journey from language enthusiast to young professional’ or ‘a palette of skills for a 21st century translator’. These bitesize presentations meant that we could cover a huge range of subjects in a fairly limited amount of time. A number of interesting ideas were presented – one I particularly liked was Gent Vertaalt – a professional network based in Gent and which could certainly be adapted for other cities with a large number of translators.
The full-length plenary sessions were some of the highlights of the conference for me – the speakers had obviously been chosen with great care, and it was great to have another opportunity to hear Marta and Valeria speak. I know some people are very disparaging of “motivational speakers” (often said with quotation marks inferred) but I found both of Joy Ogeh-Hutfield’s presentations inspiring and thought-provoking, and they certainly provided some of the most ‘tweetable’ quotes of the two days!
After the conference ended on Friday, a group of us went for lunch at a very chic restaurant down the road, and discussed various business-related things – the perfect way to end a very inspiring few days!
So, was it worth going?
While I didn’t really learn anything ‘new’ from the conference, it has really prompted me to take a look at my business and whether I am where I want to be – and I’ll be making some changes as a result! It can be all too easy to get bogged down in an everyday routine and sometimes it’s good to take a step back to see the bigger picture. I’m not sure I’ll go to the same event next year, but I would certainly recommend it to any new translators out there.