Recap of the 2017 DVTA Summit, a Second Perspective

By: Kristin Lynch

The DVTA held its second annual East Coast Translators and Interpreters Summit at La Salle University on May 6th, 2017. The event drew a number of professional linguists, industry speakers and students of translation and interpretation from across the greater Delaware Valley. I attended the first DVTA Summit as a recent graduate of La Salle’s Hispanic Institute, and had the pleasure of attending this year as a translation project manager.

After colleagues networked over coffee, the Summit kicked off with a Morning Eye Opener, where industry professionals offered their perspectives on the fields of translation and interpretation.  Jiri Stejskal, CEO of Cetra Language Solutions, approached the translation and interpreting industry from a global perspective and offered his view on how current economic and technology trends may affect the work of translators and interpreters. Jaqueline Ortiz, Director of Language Services at Christiana Care Health System, stressed the importance of developing cultural competence and providing accurate language services to reduce disparities amongst limited English speaking patients within the U.S. healthcare system. Interpreter administrator for the PA Court System, Osvaldo Avilés, spoke about the role that legal translators and interpreters have in assuring that limited English proficient individuals have access to the judicial system. The talks were followed by a question and answer session before attendees parted ways for their morning sessions.

Morning sessions covered a wide range of topics from the art of subtitling and new trends in translation technology to the structure of the Philadelphia court system.  I attended the session “What’s New in Translation Technology” given by Kenneth Farrall of MTM LinguaSoft. In this session I learned about new cloud-based CAT (computer assisted translation) tools that help streamline the translation process by facilitating collaboration between linguists.  As a project manager I work with CAT tools on a daily basis and have always been fascinated by their impact on the translation process.  With his strong background in cross-cultural communication and electronic media, Ken provided a thought-provoking and detailed introduction to neural machine translation, CAT tools, translation memory, and quality assurance tools like Xbench. He stressed both the advantages and disadvantages of working with these tools, and suggested ways that linguists can learn and adapt to new technology instead of being disrupted by it.  Many of the linguists in the session had varying degrees of familiarity with technology and different levels of experience, so it was fascinating to hear their reactions to new translation technologies.

After lunch with a traditional music session by Javier Aguilar, attendees had the option of several sessions focusing on forensic transcription and interpretation, bias in the field of medical interpreting, and new terminology in the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy. My interest in sociolinguistics and prior experience as a Spanish-English translator drew me to Deborah Wexler’s session on the newest additions to the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy. Deborah, a Spanish translator and editor specialized in subtitling, compiled a list of all the new terms added to the latest edition of the Royal Academy with the hope that Spanish translators and interpreters would use it as a resource to increase their vocabulary. During an engaging and informative session, Deborah provided definitions of around 300 new terms. Needless to say, it was interesting to both see and hear the influence of the English language on many of these words, like jonrón (home run). I was also surprised to see how many new words related to professions were added, such as bloguero (blogger), fotoperiodista (photojournalist), and paleobiólogo (paleobiologist).

The Summit ended with an interactive panel on the secondary trauma experienced by medical and legal interpreters. Although not an interpreter myself, I was glad to see this topic addressed since I learned that many interpreters are exposed to trauma and need ways to cope. In all, the DVTA organized a great event with knowledgeable and engaging speakers. I am looking forward to next year’s Summit and am eager to see the DVTA continue to foster knowledge and expertise for professionals in the translation and interpretation industry.