Posted by: patenttranslator | May 31, 2015

See You at the 3rd IAPTI Conference in Bordeaux, September 4 – 6, 2015

I very rarely go to conferences of translators. In the 28 years that I have been an independent translator, I have been only to 2 conferences: the first one was the Second International Japanese-English Translation Conference (IJET 2) held in June 1991 in San Francisco. I was a member of the Conference Committee and the topic of the paper I gave during the conference together with Alex Shkolnik was “Translation from One Foreign Language to Another Foreign Language by a Native Speaker of a Third Language”.

I can’t believe it has been 24 years already. It seems like only yesterday that I was changing diapers (once in a while), but it has been a quarter century already.

The second conference that I attended, this time without being a speaker myself, was the 38th ATA (American Translators Association) Conference in November of 1997 in San Francisco. I see that the next ATA conference will be in San Francisco again in 2016. Maybe I will go to see again the places where I spent 19 years of my life when I was still full of life, vigor and illusions, before I became a decrepit, disillusioned old man.

I hear rumbles of discontent with the ATA as it functions now, and some of the discontent that I hear comes from people who are running for office because they want to change the way ATA functions now, namely for the most part as an incubator for “newbie translators” who are trained to become pliable, obedient workforce for translation agencies who have been running the ATA for quite a while.

If there is more information that that ATA Conference next year in San Francisco might be shaping out as an interesting place to be, I just might hop on a plane to San Francisco in 2016.

Back in the nineties, getting to the site of these 2 conferences was not a problem for me because I lived in San Francisco (during the IJET 2 Conference), or in the Wine Country (during the ATA Conference), only about 40 minutes north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge.

This time I will have to fly, although I don’t like flying too much. Not that I am afraid to fly – I usually visit Prague and my hometown of Český Krumlov in Southern Bohemia every 2 or 3 years, but because it is such a hassle, especially when you have to change planes at least a couple of times since I now start my trip from a small airport in Norfolk in Eastern Virginia.

I will start from Norfolk, then go probably from New York or Atlanta to Paris, and then change planes again in Paris, because this year I am definitely going to attend the 3rd IAPTI Conference in Bordeaux.

This time I have to go because I will also be one of about 30 speakers at the 3rd IAPTI Conference (you can click on the link if want to see the lineup of the speakers), and the working title of my presentation is “Threats, Challenges and Opportunities for Translators in the Modern Version of Corporatized Translation Industry” (click on the link of you want to see a summary).

IAPTI, which stands for International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters, was founded on St. Jerome’s day in 2009 in Buenos Aires, Argentina “by a group of professional language mediators as a vehicle for promoting ethical practices in translation and interpretation and providing a forum for discussing problems typical of the globalized world, such as crowdsourcing, outsourcing, bad rates and other abuse” (quote from Wikipedia).

It now has members in 70 countries, and most of its members are about half my age as evidenced by these photos from 2nd IAPTI Conference last year in Athens, Greece.

Among other things, I hope to also meet some regular commenters on my blog in person in Bordeaux. I hope it will not be a major disappointment for them to get to meet me in person. Or if it is, hopefully they will not let me know.

Even if you have just come across this blog post by accident, you may want to give a try to the 3d IAPTI Conference in Bordeaux at the beginning of September if you are a translator.

The problem that some translators have, even those of us who have moderately successful blogs where one can hear from many other bloggers and interesting commenters, is that we almost never get to meet other translators, unless we live in a place like London, or Paris, or San Francisco.

There are several bears in the neck of the woods where I have been living for the last 14 years, specifically in the Great Dismal Swamp on the border between Virginia and North Carolina. I have not met any of them yet, but the local newspaper said so.

It might be easier to meet a bear than a translator where I live. Since I have not met any translators here yet, and there is nothing about translators in my newspaper either, I am getting on the plane come September to finally meet some of them in Bordeaux.



  1. See you there Steve. I’m two conferences down. In 20+ years this will be my first translators’ conference.


  2. See you in Bordeaux! 🙂


  3. “as an incubator for “newbie translators” who are trained to become pliable, obedient workforce for translation agencies who have been running the ATA for quite a while.”

    Clearly, there are no true associations of translators. The agencies are omnipresent. This is so, because every translator wants to “ride” other translators and makes its own agency.

    “Riders” justify their betrayal (because this is nothing less than betrayal to their colleagues) by saying: “Everybody is doing the same” or “Translators are stupid (sic!): they allow to be “ridden” even by monolingual managers”, or “If I didn’t offer more languages, clients would never come back to me even for my language(s)”…

    Yes, clients want everything, and they want it in one place.

    That’s why every single agency is struggling to offer as many services as possible. But how can everyone offer everything? By using misleading (false) advertising, of course! You know, “We HAVE translators, editors and …” They don’t. No agency HAS translators. Even the so-called “corporate” ones.

    They have LISTS of translators (databases).

    Nobody knows what kind of translators are on the lists – whether qualified or not, because the lists are secret. Clients are deceived to believe translations are done by highly-qualified translators, edited, etc.

    In fact, god only knows who actually does the translations.

    That’s why translators are kept anonymous. For no other reason but for agencies to make profit by deceiving clients. Most translators are involved in this dirty business too. Only the newbies aren’t, maybe.

    In the end, there are too many “riders” and not enough “horses”. Here comes machine translation and the hordes of hungry, self-proclaimed translators – the inexhaustible resource for “riders” of all sorts: from “boutique” agencies to large “corporate” businesses.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Clearly, there are no true associations of translators. The agencies are omnipresent.”

    That was true only until St. Jerome’s day in 2009.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. “APTI is a civil association, legally established as such on September 30, 2009, in the City of Buenos Aires (Argentina), the legal registration of which is currently pending with the Office of the Argentine Inspector-General for Justice.”
    Why is IAPTI’s legal registration pending? Or has the info not been updated for years?

    Market Watch
    Co-Heads: Valerij Tomarenko, Kevin Lossner, Steve Vitek.
    What do market watchers do?

    On the EU 64/2010
    IAPTI …”expressing its concern for the Regional Government of Galicia’s decision to outsource T&I services to bidders based mainly on considerations of price (which by all accounts are well below market rates).
    This covers all the services guaranteed under the terms of EU 64/2010 and was published without consulting the professional and university entities directly concerned, threatening a replay of already-known previous scenarios of fiasco.”
    Any result?

    On the unilateral decision of Penguin Random House to lower the rates of its literary translators, March 5, 2015
    “It is with deep concern that we have learned of your decision to downgrade the rates of translators …”
    Any feedback?

    Slogan: “Say NO to exploitation!”

    I say NO. Exploiters say YES. Who’s the decision-maker?

    “Translation Back Office is a translation agency that is notorious in the professional translation community for paying low rates to ITS FREE-LANCE translators (rates that are totally at odds with those suggested by all major associations that group professional translators and interpreters, as well as those habitually paid on the local and international markets). It is also notorious for the low wages that it pays to its in-house translating staff.”
    Its free-lance translators?! Why should an association of translators treat freelancers as property owned by agencies? This is outrageous. And again no reply.

    IAPTI Forum
    Sorry, but you cannot register at this time because the administrator has disabled new account registrations.
    Enough is enough!


  6. It would have been a pleasure for me to meet you in Bordeaux, but, unfortunately, I cannot make it this year (I was in London 2013 and Athens 2014 – my only 2 conferences in 17 years business as a freelance translator). But I am sure there will be another possibility.


  7. Yes, it’s a small world, we will probably run into each other on some continent.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rennie, switch decaf!


  9. Looking forward to meeting you in Bordeaux!


  10. Moi aussi!


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