Thursday, December 12, 2013

Guest post: a report from Trikonf 2013

We all know that CPD and networking are an essential part of a freelance translator’s professional life – and they can be really enjoyable on a personal level, too.
I am happy to post a Conference report from a colleague who, like me, enjoys keeping in touch with other translators and sees them as team mates instead of competitors.

Nelia Fahloun is a qualified English and Spanish to French translator, specializing in legal and marketing translation. She runs her own business Babeliane Traductions.
At Trikonf13 she was also a speaker, presenting a seminar about the freelance translator’s working environment and network.

Thank you Nelia for your report!

It has been a few weeks since I came back from the Tri-National Translation Conference, or TriKonf, which took place on 18-20 October in Freiburg em Brisgau, Germany. 
Elisa and I connected on social networks a few weeks before the TriKonf and then started chatting on Skype on a regular basis. Elisa then offered me to write a guest post reporting on my experience of the conference, and I am happy to oblige her! I should add (as I did during the conference) that my Skype exchanges with Elisa prior to the conference were a great moral support as I was struggling to find time to actually write my presentation, so kudos to you, Elisa!

My experience at the TriKonf can be summed up with a few words: it was brilliantly organized, the sessions were diverse and inspiring and most of all, the participants were friendly, open and all willing to network. 
The TriKonf was a unique conference in many ways:
- sessions were held in three languages: German, English and French
- the organizers managed to obtain support from major European professional associations of translators and interpreters
- the event attracted around 140 participants from Europe and beyond, which is admirable considering that it was privately organized.

The conference was organized in a single location, the Historisches Kaufhaus, which is worth seeing in itself. 
The actual conference took place on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 October, with masterclasses in English or German organized on the Friday. 
I would have loved to attend the Friday masterclasses, but due the long travel hours, that would have meant leave home on Thursday morning.

The programme catered for all tastes and specializations and I think the luckiest ones were attendees who could understand English, French and German as they were able to choose among all sessions. You cannot imagine how much I now regret not learning German during my school years!

Attending this conference has confirmed what I had previously noted at previous translator events: even if the travel is long and the programme packed with sessions, even if I come home physically tired, I enjoy every minute of it and have the impression to go back to work with a newfound energy. Everyone I met at TriKonf has been very positive, and also eager to learn and happy to connect. Some people see other translators as competitors, but I don't. I may be naive, but all I saw in Freiburg was a great bunch of very intelligent people with a lot of experience, diverse opinions, backgrounds, language combinations and specializations and so much to give to the translation community, be they speakers or participants. 
There was discussion over the term of "translation industry" and I have to admit I have no ready opinion on whether we are part of an "industry" as such. I like the word "community" a lot better.

For photos and archives of TriKonf 2013, feel free to visit The next TriKonf will take place on 9-11 October 2015 and the website will be updated in due course.

By Nelia Fahloun - Babeliane Traductions