Thursday, October 3, 2013

ITA Lecture Evening October 2013

Yesterday I attended the ITA's lecture event, held at the Leonardo Basel Hotel in Tel Aviv. This time a new format was introduced: Instead of two long lectures, there were ten lectures of ten minutes each. I think this was a good idea. Expressing yourself concisely is an important skill, and the lectures probably benefited from the time restriction. Having many short lectures also ensures that there will be something of interest to more people.

Doron Greenspan discussed the form of address in Hebrew, as used in instruction manuals and cookbooks. Because the Hebrew verb distinguishes gender and number, translators into Hebrew have to decide which form of the imperative to use, or whether to use an impersonal present tense verb.

Michal Schuster presented the world of interpreting in mental health, when the therapist does not speak the patient's language. The interpreter has to contend with an extremely emotional experience, in addition to the usual linguistic and cross-cultural issues. This seems to me a particularly difficult branch of the translating profession.

Ofra Hod explained the Poetrans project, a wiki catalogue of translations of poetry into Hebrew. This is useful when a translator (or anyone) encounters a poem (or part of one) in another language and wants to know if and where it has been translated into Hebrew. The site lists books and the poems translated in each, with the title in the original language and the Hebrew translated title, and of course mentions the author and the translator.

Innes Moldavski gave examples of sexism in language and discussed the ways that translators with an awareness of feminism and gender issues can create a more neutral text.

Shakhar Peled gave an entertaining talk about distractions and procrastination, the two occupational hazards faced by translators.

Ury Vainsencher presented the work of translators in the United Nations and its various institutions. He noted the six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish, and explained that the interpreters (spoken translating) and translators (written translating) work in separate departments. The work seems technical and challenging.

Debi Yehoshafat told us about the phrases in Portuguese that originated from football, and in some cases noted the differences between Brazilian Portuguese and the Portuguese of Portugal.

Alan Clayman discussed financial translating as a highly specialized field. Just as in any area of specialization, the translator must have a complete understanding of the material and awareness of the technical terminology and style used in both source and target language.

Mark Levinson presented a case study of song localization, showing the differences between the lyrics of a song in the American original version, the Hebrew version, and the French version.

Judith Rubanovsky-Paz discussed the role of explication in translation. In some cases, translators add notes and additional explanations to make a text more comprehensible to the target language culture. However, in some cases there are explanations that are redundant in the target language, and she made a convincing argument for omitting these types of explications.

I highly enjoyed the lectures, and hope the ITA organizes another similar even soon.

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