Thursday, 18 February 2016

Elia Together Conference

Pic of Venue of Elia Togeither 2016 in Barcelona

Barcelona extended a warm welcome to the first Elia Together Conference last week. It was the first European conference bringing freelance translators and Language Service Providers together. Over 350 participants gathered at the World Trade Center from 39 different countries.

Bringing everyone together in such numbers for a new initiative was an achievement. Difficult subjects were broached and discussed openly. The atmosphere remained pleasant and constructive to a previously unprecedented degree.

Some may argue that only the converted attended. Maybe so, but word travels fast in the translation industry.  Freelancers’ voices from the end of the “food chain” have been heard. The food chain collapses if plankton die out. The human translation chain risks dying out if conditions become too “acidic” for freelancers.

The planning committee chaired by Arancha Caballero and Manuele Vecchi put on an interesting series of presentations to address current challenges. The conference had three tracks: 
  1. Relationships - moderated by Jost Zetzsche
  2. Growth - moderated by Iwan Davies, ITI's Chair
  3. Technology - moderated by José Blanco Pérez
The conference team was also supported by Danilo Monaco.

For the most part, I attended the Relationships track. Regular reports kept us informed about key points discussed in other tracks.

In the keynote address, Stephen Lank drew our attention to some incredible ironies in the translation world:
  1. We facilitate communication for clients yet the translation industry has internal communication problems.
  2. Communicating across cultures is our job – yet we have a cultural communication problem. Most communications are not in a native language. We fail to make the same allowances as we would for clients in similar interactions.
The various presentations will be available on the Elia Together website shortly, so I will not summarise them all here. I felt that there was a new atmosphere and a new energy at Elia Together. It is for us to shape our industry. At the end of the day, all sides desire the same: professional respect and trust.

This two-day conference promises to transform our maturing industry. Bullying is out for example. Whether by LSP or freelancer, it will be no longer be tolerated.

Elia already has a series of dates in the calendar to drive the discussions and strategy forward. Project managers were described as the stress sponges for all sides. The December dates devoted to them seem a particularly welcome initiative.

Elia Together will reconvene in Berlin in 2017. See you there?

Future Elia Events:

21-22 April - ND Focus, Elia's Networking Days for Executives, Mallorca/Majorca, Spain

October 2016 - Elia's Networking Days, Brussels, Belgium (exact dates to be confirmed)

December 2016 - ND Focus, Elia's Networking Days for Project Managers, Barcelona, Spain (exact dates to be confirmed shortly)

February 2017 - Elia Together, 2nd Conference, Berlin Germany (call for papers and exact dates to follow)

More about Elia

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