Translate in Québec City

I seldom go to conferences. In fact, I think the last conference I went to was Translate in the Catskills, four or so years ago. There was a follow-up event, Translate in the Townships, very close to home last year, but we’d just had a baby and it was easier to stay in bed at home. This week, though, Translate in Québec City is a very short city bus ride away so there seemed no excuse. And after Day 1, I’m so glad I went.

There was a useful discussion between Chris Durban and Ros Schwartz, each answering questions as an interested audience slowly picked their translations apart. Of particular interest to me was Ros Schwartz’s defence of a longer sentence or two for reasons of rhythm. Like me, it seems she doesn’t slavishly follow the rule that shorter is apparently always best. (Quite why, I’ve never understood.) I don’t think it’s a coincidence that, like me, she writes in British English.

Grant Hamilton gave the mother of all hands-on talks as he armed us with hundreds of possibilities the next time we find ourselves falling into lazy, knee-jerk translations of innocuous words like pertinent, dynamique, and confirmer.

After lunch came an eye-opening session on translating season’s greetings cards, followed by a game-changing talk by David Jemielity on deixis (which involves, among other things, why we should think twice before writing this or that… literally this or that).
Sure, the hotel setting can’t rival wandering over to the old library for a talk in the Catskills, but I haven’t felt as inspired and as happy to be a freelance translator (especially having seen some of the texts other people are forced to tackle on a regular basis) in a long while.