Friday, February 16, 2018

2018 ITA Conference

This week I attended the 2018 ITA conference, held at ZOA House, Tel Aviv. This year the conference was a one-day event, with two parallel tracks.

The conference opened with a plenary workshop by John Di Rico, entitled "Selling Your Translation and Interpreting Services". The focus was on customer-centric sales, how to respond to an initial inquiry with a phone call where the translator learns the customer's real needs and can thus offer a service that meets these needs.

I attended mostly lectures in the business track rather than the professional track. Arie Rotem, CPA, gave details about tax-deductible expenses for self-employed professionals, and Tzahi Riefer explained how the new law making it compulsory for self-employed professionals to save for a pension works. These were both useful lectures on issues translators may leave to their accountants and not fully understand themselves. Then Anat Krauz discussed negotiations and conflict resolution by thinking outside the box, basically encouraging the awareness that things are not "either-or" and there are many different solutions to be found, and that it's up to us to decide how to respond in any given situation. This was a rather inspirational lecture and lacked practical examples of how actual conflicts were resolved using this non-adversarial thinking.

After lunch, Inga Michaeli discussed various aspects of professional development, including specialization and adapting how we present ourselves on CVs and in social media to the sort of work we do and want to receive. Then I went to a presentation by Ofek Ron of Software Sources about ABBYY Fine Reader software, which involves OCR and various options for working with PDF documents. Some of the features are useful for translators, depending on the sort of documents they receive and produce.

The conference concluded with a plenary panel discussion. Representatives of four translation agencies, Inbal Amir Cohen from MGS, Rina Neeman from LegalTrans, Emanuel Weisgras from WeisWords, and Neta Ziv from Transnet, answered questions from the chair, Eliezer Nowodworski regarding how they work with their freelance translators. It was interesting to hear their perspective, though it has been many years since I worked with translation agencies. They agreed on many things, but had slightly different approaches on some issues, such as working with new translators and training them on the job.

While this conference was smaller than those of previous years, the quality remained consistent. I hope the ITA will be able to return to larger events in the future.