Event reports

One Day In… an Inn! The ITI One Day event at Gray’s Inn, June 2018

Conferences move things forward. It’s as simple as that.

So when one hundred of the ITI’s keenest and most active members converged on the magnificent London location of Gray’s Inn, good things were likely to happen.

The ITI only holds its main gathering every two years. But while concentrating all their best content into a single event works well, there was clearly a desire for more.

This one-day event is a new format, with the idea being to bring together ITI members for an afternoon of inspiring lightning talk from members, longer lectures, awards, and plenty of time for networking.

We arrived to The Walks for a lunchtime picnic in the Inn’s exclusive gardens. A dozen tables buzzed with the sounds of new encounters and the reuniting of old friends. A few invitees to the launch of the ITI’s brand-new Research Network that morning also mingled among the crowd.

Next we were ushered into the hallowed halls of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, one of the four Inns where lawyers can undergo pupillage to become barristers.

Anne de Freyman welcomed us and quickly gave the floor to Chris Durban for her Wake-up Call, a one-hour tour de force on what we translators need to do better, why we should work with a reviewer, and some of the practicalities of reviewing work (either our own or the client’s writing).

Nine volunteers—myself included—then spoke about a recent job, an idea or a movement we wished to share with the friendly audience. Topics varied from how we could reward clients that treat us well, life as a digital nomad, translating crime fiction, and the value of a portfolio. My own talk was on the joys and difficulties of a website I translated recently for a Paris-based law firm (including how detailed discussion with the author led to a better final product).

Next up, Lynne Murphy delighted us with some lively differences between UK and US English. With examples taken from her book The Prodigal Tongue and blog Separated by a Common Language, the American author highlighted how language use can change once it crosses borders. For example, some US words take on a narrower meaning when adopted elsewhere. In the UK, cookies are only ever soft biscuits, so we’d never say “digestive cookies”. Or in one country “scones” always have icing on them (can you guess where?). This is something we can also see in Franglais or Spanglish, although conversely words often take on a broader meaning.

For me, the highlight of the day was getting to catch up with a wealth of colleagues from across the UK and meeting new contacts. I discussed developing my career with colleagues experienced in legal translation, and also spoke with ITI staff about giving a webinar and organising a Spanish legal translation workshop.

Could things have been better? For a new event, the organisers did exceptionally well. My only suggestion would be that the evening supper didn’t quite fit the venue, although I thought the catering excellent for the afternoon tea and cocktails.

For more on the programme and setting, please go to the One Day In… site. And, of course, the next not-to-be-missed event is the ITI Conference 2019 in Sheffield.


Photos courtesy of Paul Appleyard