FLD Activities and Sessions at the 56th Annual Conference of the American Translators Association

There’s so much to do at the 56th Annual Conference of the American Translators Association taking place in Miami from November 4 – 7, 2015. Make sure you schedule some French Language Division events into your schedule! 

  • Sign up for preconference seminar SEM-E about Source-Language Cultural Literacy for French>English Translators that takes place on Wednesday at 1:30 – 4:30 pm.
  • Visit with the FLD (and other Divisions) during the conference Welcome Celebration on Wednesday, November 4 at 5:30 – 7 pm
  • Come hear about what the FLD has accomplished this past year and where we’re going at the French Language Division Annual Meeting on Thursday, November 5 at 4:45 – 5:45 pm.
  • Enjoy an outdoor reception and indoor meal with colleagues and friends at the French Language Division Dinner on Thursday, November 5 at 6:30 pm at the Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita Restaurant.
    You must register and pay in advance for this event: more info here.
  • Attend French Language Division track sessions at the conference. Click here for a list of French-track sessions on the ATA’s conference website.
  • Tweet about your experiences, hook up with other attendees or share what you’ve learned at the conference using FLD’s own conference hashtag: #ata56FLD. Don’t forget to give a shout out to the FLD’s Twitter account when you do: @ATA_FLD
  • Sign up to write an article for À Propos, the FLD newsletter, about something you’ve learned at the conference or other information you’d like to share. Contact us at divisionfld@atanet.org.

And, most importantly, don’t forget to have a great time! See you in Miami!

À Propos: You Never Forget the First Time—A New Attendee’s Experience at the ATA Conference

ata-fld-newsletter-logowatch full movie Outras Estórias

As a first-time attendee, I thought I would write about my experiences at the ATA conference last year in Chicago. I am a beginning translator, so I debated whether or not attending the conference would be worth my while. It’s not that I didn’t think attending would be a good experience for me, but at times I wondered if postponing it until I was more established in the profession would be a better one.

In the end, I realized there were two main reasons for attending: 1) to make as many business connections as possible, and 2) to learn as much as I could about the profession. Once I officially registered, I began pouring over the conference schedule to select interesting sessions. This was a good idea, even though I ended up making a lot of changes later since some sessions were cancelled and new ones scheduled. The tightly-packed schedule often made it difficult to decide between two appealing choices.  Thankfully, the conference app offered speaker notes to fill in some of the gaps.

Fortunately, although I decided to attend the conference at almost the last minute, I was able to streamline my costs in order to make the trip as affordable as possible.

Upon arrival, I collected my conference badge and ribbons, including the one for first-time attendees. Some may frown on the practice of identifying ribbons, but I loved them. They helped to generate interest and conversation. I must admit, I tend to be an introvert, especially in settings with lots of people.  Having the ribbons, and a tag that said Canada, was a definite conversation starter, and it helped me to make connections with people – new colleagues and potential employers, alike – without  having to try so hard.

For me, the highlights of the conference were the Welcome Reception, the Brainstorm Networking and the Resume Exchange.  Spread out over different days of the conference, all three helped me to make a lot of important connections, which everyone needs when starting out as a professional.

I liked how the Welcome Party was set up: food and socializing on one side of the room, and Division tables on the other. I was a bit disappointed with the displays at the Division tables, however. With so much mingling and exchanging of information going on, I would have liked to have a handout to take away with me to read later on. [Editor’s note: Fortunately, Divisions will be offering handouts at #ata56 in Miami!]

The Brainstorm Networking was fun. The concept allowed language professionals to exchange business cards and discuss pertinent business practice issues with employers. I was able to meeting a lot of people in a short amount of time because we were “forbidden” from being at a table with someone we knew.

The Resume Exchange was also interesting – and hectic! I could see how a newbie could feel overwhelmed. If you don’t proactively try to reach out to employers, they will turn to the person who is trying to get their attention. A lot of translators gave up trying to speak with each employer and just left stacks of resumes on their language or subject table. At first, I thought I would prefer putting a face to my name and speaking to them, but I quickly realized that some employers were actually looking at those resumes. I ended up doing both.

As a first-time attendee, I wasn’t sure what to expect with respect to the sessions. I found that there was ample selection to choose from, but heard from others that there had been even more in past years. In reviewing the schedule, I noticed almost immediately that there didn’t seem to be many sessions for beginners. There were a lot of interesting topics that I wanted to attend but that were rated as advanced. After asking my mentor, Karen Tkaczyk, about it, I decided not to pay much attention to the assigned levels.

Being a beginning translator sometimes means that you are still developing specializations. Currently, I have three: medicine, finance and human resources. I found there was a vast array of choices for medicine, while sessions on finance were lacking, and those on human resources were non-existent. On a more positive note, this offered me the possibility of attending sessions relevant to anyone, regardless of level, experience or specialization.

It was surprising that there weren’t more sessions specific to French translation and interpreting. It’s unfortunate that the division’s invited Distinguished Speaker had to cancel at the last minute as I had been looking forward to those sessions. Apart from them, I had not planned on attending any other French sessions. I decided to focus on sessions pertaining to medicine and translation. In addition to learning more about translation and how to be a competent professional, I learned that those who are the most successful also give back a lot to the profession by being heavily involved in the organization and its initiatives.

[Editor’s note: Speakers at the conference are volunteers. We encourage all FLD members to consider submitting a presentation proposal for 2016. The more proposals received, the more likely that French-related topics will be well-represented.]

When I returned home from the conference I had a lot of work to do. I wasn’t about to put everything I had learned aside and slip back into my old routine. I spent the month after the conference following up with all of the people that I had met and planning my professional goals for the upcoming year.

Being at the Chicago conference gave me a fresh, new perspective on myself and my place in the translation industry. In the past year, I’ve definitely made the transition from seeing myself as a translation student graduate, to a translation professional. I’m looking forward to the 2015 conference in sunny Miami. I’ve been to Miami numerous times and won’t feel like a stranger there. To me, attending the ATA Conference seems like a great way to build on that and continue to grow.

Charlene Johnson

Charlene Johnson started her freelance translation business in 2014 and works from French and Spanish into English, focusing on medical, financial and human resource documents.

À Propos: Chantilly Translation Slam

ata-fld-newsletter-logoFrom August 3–5, 2015, over one hundred translators gathered in Chantilly, France, just outside of Paris, for Translate in Chantilly, the latest in the “Translate in…” conference series. Speakers from North America and Europe hosted seminars and workshops targeted to premium-market French<>English translators.

One of the most popular events was the translation slam, in which two speakers were given a text to translate prior to the conference and then revealed their work on stage side by side, with both translators seeing the other’s version for the first time along with the audience. The slam was an enlightening demonstration of how great minds can think entirely differently. The four speakers participating in the event (two working into French and two into English) turned out extremely clever translations. Direct comparisons revealed diverse writing styles, as well as differing assumptions about readers and the writer and what liberties could be taken. But perhaps most interesting were the discussions on the variants of English and French (Canadian vs. American English, European vs. Canadian French, etc.) and which expressions each “dialect” uses or does not use—debates that occasionally could not be settled even between two native speakers of the same variant!

On the last day of the conference, a suggestion was made for conference attendees to host their own translation slams upon returning home—a brilliant suggestion but a terrifying one for most translators. The conference speakers who took part in the translation slam are to be applauded, most obviously for their top-notch work, but more strikingly for their willingness to put their product on public display. A supreme level of courage is required to open oneself up to criticism from a hundred colleagues, despite years of experience and a high level of expertise.

Are you inspired enough to host your own translation slam? Write to FLD on Twitter at @ATA_FLD or email us at divisionfld@atanet.org and let us know!watch full Message from the King movie online

Andie Ho

Andie Ho is a French>English translator specializing in translations for the food industry.


À Propos: Du bon usage de la gymnastique en traduction

ata-fld-newsletter-logoIl est des événements qui tombent à pic. À l’été 2015, l’atelier d’écriture et de rédaction « On  Traduit à Chantilly », #OTRAC , fut l’un d’eux.
La promesse était alléchante, le résultat, remarquable.

« On Traduit à Chantilly », c’est révéler un tout nouvel univers, garni de voltiges syntaxiques. Mais c’est aussi évoquer ces choses que l’on connaît, sans savoir qu’on les connaît. Ces habitudes inconscientes, ces pirouettes instinctives, ces intuitions de traducteur.

« On Traduit à Chantilly », c’était aussi un vrai bol d’air pur. Une idylle de trois jours avec des traductions élégantes et percutantes, où l’on manie les mots avec adresse et gourmandise.

« On Traduit à Chantilly », c’est surtout, désormais, une furieuse envie d’exercer ma plume, ou plutôt mon clavier, sur des textes de haute volée.

Si vous me demandiez d’évoquer une seule astuce, parmi les innombrables enseignements de ce séminaire, voici ce que je vous répondrais :

Soyons créatifs et intrépides, souples et agiles.
Revêtons nos tenues d’équilibristes de la traduction.

Marc Lambert m’a ouvert les yeux sur un exercice qui ne nécessite ni barres parallèles ni cheval d’arçons, mais qui fluidifie et enrichit une traduction (l’usage de la barre fixe est un plus, au moins pour garder le cap).

Partant du principe que le français est une langue de référencement et de liaison, contrairement à l’anglais qui multiplie les « and », Marc nous propose d’éviter les cascades de « et » pour structurer le propos.

Pour ce faire, on peut utiliser des synonymes neutres (ainsi que, de même que), scinder la phrase, ouvrir une parenthèse, insérer une liste à puces, procéder à des regroupements logiques, etc.

Je rectifie ma position. Je redresse le buste. Je respire pour assurer une belle amplitude au mouvement. Puis, je me lance et soigne ma réception, avec un exemple anglais proposé par Marc :

« I had settled in Winnipeg for good and my Belfast partners were now in their 70s and decided to go back to Ireland, and then I was on my own, » said John Delfour with a measure of regret. »

Voici ma pirouette traduction :
« Alors que je m’étais définitivement installé à Winnipeg, mes compagnons de Belfast, désormais septuagénaires, décidèrent de retourner en Irlande. Je restai donc seul », regrette John Delfour. »

La gymnastique n’est pas si acrobatique, n’est-ce pas ?
Tout est question de souplesse.
Le traducteur, cascadeur de la syntaxe ?

Marie Girardin

Marie Girardin, traductrice-acrobate EN>FR (communication d’entreprise et marketing ; protection de l’environnement), installée en Bretagne.


À Propos: ATA President and FLD Member Caitilin Walsh Answers Our Proust Questionnaire


Find our more about our Proust Questionnaire!

Caitilin Walsh, CT, the current ATA President and FLD member, translates from French and German to American English. 

How did you get involved in translation? Like many, by accident: I wanted to teach language but after I earned my foreign degree, I was told I needed another two years of graduate courses in the US. A private language school offered me a job to teach certificated teachers enough French to pass their endorsement, so I decided to pursue translation full-time instead. The irony is that I ended up teaching after all—teaching translation!

What subject areas do you translate? I do a lot of geeky stuff (like software manuals or corporate IT documentation, and even a few games), and I love anything that lets me be über-creative, like marketing. I’ve done a couple of book-length food-related translations, and those are immensely satisfying, though I tend to gain weight when I work on them.

What is your greatest strength as a translator? My background is in the theater, so I’m good with creative problem solving, and my dad was an engineer who let us take things apart, so I’m pretty good at understanding how things work.

Please tell us something about one of the most interesting projects you have ever worked on. I worked on the French version of Trivial Pursuit as a question-a-day computer calendar. My job was not to translate, but to come up with three wrong answers to make the questions multiple choice. I dog-eared a copy of the Quid (this was before the Internet!). Every time someone called me, I would ask them a Trivial Pursuit question; if they got it wrong, that was one I didn’t have to look up!

Do you have a favorite word or phrase in French or English that you’d like to share? That’s a bit like asking me what my favorite book is—the others might get jealous. I do love the way French allows for neologisms and playing with the language, and take delight in reading new entries in the J.O.

Outside of works on T&I, is there any book (fiction or non-fiction) that you enjoyed reading that you would like to recommend to others? It can be in either English or French. I’m incredibly behind on my reading pile: ask me after I step down as President in November!

What is something about you that has nothing to do with translation that is interesting or surprising? I’m synesthetic. Everything I read, or hear has color or texture. A loud room is blinding, and playing in an orchestra is psychedelic. The real irony is that I’m married to a man who is colorblind: I’m seeing colors where there are none, and he can’t see the ones that are there!

What is your favorite quote? That’s a hard one. I love J.M. Barrie in Peter Pan: “When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.” There’s a lot of magic in life if you are willing to quiet your thoughts and listen to your heart. But on my more serious days (and when dealing with difficult people), I ponder Goethe, “Behavior is a mirror in which everyone displays [their] own image.”

Thanks, Caitilin!

public domain photo of Marcel Proust

Retro À Propos from Winter 1999


ata-fld-newsletter-logoTake a peek at the past with Retro À Propos!

Download and read a blast from the past: the Winter 1999 issue of À Propos.  While some information is a bit dated, much of it is still timely and useful even today. This past issue has reviews of several ATA Conference presentations from that time, tips for new translators that still hold up, tips for improving your translations from experts in the field, an article on teaching translation, information on French typography and more! Check it out!

For your reading pleasure, download our selected Retro À Propos from Winter 1999 in PDF format.


À Propos: La crème de la crème à Chantilly !

ata-fld-newsletter-logoCette année, l’édition européenne de « On traduit à » … réunissait plus d’une centaine de professionnels de la traduction venant notamment de la France, de la Belgique, du Royaume-Uni, de la Suisse, du Canada et des États-Unis et près d’une dizaine de formateurs chevronnés et passionnés. C’était un rendez-vous annuel où les domaines de spécialisation (droit, finance, médical, marketing, communication, etc.) n’avaient plus de frontières. Un seul but : monter la barre encore plus haut!

Chaque participant est reparti non seulement avec un bagage riche en connaissances et en nouvelles astuces, mais aussi avec une multitude de souvenirs de moments magiques partagés avec de nouvelles amitiés tissées soit à l’occasion du pot d’accueil (où l’on pouvait y savourer de délicieuses gourmandises dont les macarons au foie gras), soit autour de bonnes tables dans le cadre enchanteur de l’hippodrome de Chantilly, dans les jardins florissants du Potager des Princes ou dans l’ambiance festive – où fous rires fusaient de toutes parts – de La Cour pavée.
Style et élégance! Voilà qui résume On traduit à Chantilly.

Rendez-vous l’an prochain… à la Grosse Pomme?

Carine Trudel

Carine Trudel est une avocate et une traductrice agréée qui se spécialise en traduction juridique, commerciale et financière. Visitez le www.traductioncarinetrudel.com.

À Propos: On traduit à Chantilly 2015

ata-fld-newsletter-logoJ’attendais cette première édition européenne de la formation « On traduit à… », organisée cette année à Chantilly » avec une grande impatience et je n’ai pas été déçue. Voici ce que je retiendrai de ce séminaire passionnant.

Le partage : au cours des différentes sessions, les formateurs nous ont présenté leurs astuces, leurs choix de traduction, leur style et leur vision personnelle de notre métier. Lors du traduel (ou translation slam), ils ont accepté de dévoiler leur travail, avec humilité et en assumant des choix parfois audacieux. Toujours à l’écoute des propositions de la salle, ils ont encouragé chaque participant à s’exprimer et à faire part de ses trouvailles. Une table – fort bien garnie – était également à disposition pour présenter les réalisations des participants et laisser ses cartes de visite.

Les rencontres : plus de 100 personnes avaient fait le déplacement, en plein cœur de l’été, parfois depuis l’autre bout de la France, le Royaume-Uni, la Belgique, le Canada ou les États-Unis. Comme toujours, c’est l’occasion de revoir des collègues ou de rencontrer de nouvelles têtes. Les moments de convivialité ont été nombreux et riches d’échanges (et parfois de fous rires !).

L’envie de progresser et d’aller plus loin : de toute évidence, c’est le point commun à tous les participants. Pour ma part, j’ai pu revoir certaines techniques que j’utilise déjà (mais pas systématiquement) et découvrir de nouvelles astuces pour améliorer, au quotidien, la qualité des traductions que je livre à mes clients.

Rendez-vous est pris pour la prochaine édition en 2016 !

Nelia Fahloun

Nelia Fahloun est traductrice juridique et rédactionnelle de l’anglais et de l’espagnol vers le français depuis 2010. Membre de l’ITI, de l’ATA, de la SFT et de l’AITC, elle possède un Master de Traduction et rédaction technique de l’Université de Bretagne Occidentale.

Le présent article a fait l’objet d’une première publication dans le numéro de septembre 2015 d’Au Courant, la lettre d’information de la section française d’ITI.


New MOOC courses at FUN – France Université Numerique

Check out new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) at FUN: France Université Numerique, offered by unvirsities and institutions throughout France, on a wide variety of topics and for FREE!


If you take a French MOOC, be sure to let us know at the FLD. We’d love for you to write an article to share with our members for our online newsletterStreaming and download Inferno (2016)