JAT’s annual conference (in York, the UK) was a “ripping” success!

What do you get when you bring some 130 Japanese/English interpreters and translators together for a two-day professional conference? A weekend of intense note-taking, friendly self-introductions, nostalgic reunions, and many exclamations of “Naruhodo!” In other words, you get a weekend of wonderful learning and happy discoveries.
That’s the best way I can describe JAT’s 26th International Japanese-English Translation conference, or “IJET.” JAT’s biggest annual event, IJET is held alternately in Japan and English-speaking countries. It hosts anywhere from 80 (as in Hakone and Dublin) to 500+ participants (for IJET-25 at Tokyo Big Sight). IJET-26 was held on June 21-22, 2015, at York St. John University in northern England, and offered 21 sessions based on the theme of “Translation: Art, Craft, Enterprise.”
This year’s top-notch IJET organizing committee booked us plenty of space at the university, a venue allowing participants to stretch their legs and get a taste of the fascinating history (and many pubs) York has to offer. The session lineup served both translators and interpreters, with discussions on pharma, patent, and literary translation for the former, and workshops/seminars for the latter. Presentations covered transcreation (recreating content for multilingual use), professional associations and accreditations, and boosting business profitability, while informative talks zeroed in on upping technology to improve productivity and ergonomic work environments to protect the translator’s most valuable asset – his/her own body! With many breaks (for cakes and treats), long lunches, and a networking dinner featuring traditional British fare and a ceilidh dance, there was plenty of time for the “matching game,” in which participants linked faces with names seen on online forums. JAT’s special interest groups also staged sessions on the Friday before IJET,  which were followed by a lovely cruise on the River Ouse for pre-conference networking and socializing.
In sum, IJET-26 was an invigorating weekend for translators and interpreters at various stages of their career, from energetic college graduates to seasoned industry sempai. As JAT president, I am proud to be biased, but these few testimonials from participants confirm all of the above…

Paul O’Hare, (Co-Founder, Head of Technical Translation at Translation Business Systems Japan (TBSJ)

First of all, as a representative of TBSJ, I am delighted that we were once again able to contribute to IJET and the Japanese-English translation community in general as main sponsor. York was a fantastic location, and I have nothing but fond memories of the city and its people. The organizing committee did an amazing job from start to finish. As a translator, I found it very difficult to choose between the sessions, from the unexpected—for example, York’s historical links to Japan—to perennial favorites such as entrepreneurship and the mixed blessings of new technologies. That said, I learned a lot from every session I attended. As always, it was great to meet up with old friends, but I was also struck by the number of young and aspiring translators in attendance. It was encouraging to see such fresh enthusiasm and passion for translation in our language pair. Finally, as a speaker, I would love to have had more time to discuss the future of the translation industry at the keynote panel discussion, particularly in terms of the increasing importance of cyber security for agencies and freelance translators alike.

間人(はしうど)友紀(第11回新人翻訳者コンテスト 第1位)

IJET-26 Yorkに参加して― 第11回新人翻訳者コンテストで1位を受賞し、 英国ヨークで開かれたIJET-26にご招待いただきました。翻訳者と名乗ることにまだためらいのある私は、期待と不安が入り混じった気持ちで参加しましたが、近くにいる人と自然に話が弾むような暖かい雰囲気のイベントでした。ネットワーキング・ディナーの他にも前夜祭、初参加者向けのランチ会など気軽に交流できる場が設けられており、現役の翻訳者の方、翻訳を勉強中の学生さん、エージェントの方などいろんな方々から貴重なお話を聞くことができました。

白幡真澄  (第11回新人翻訳者コンテスト 第2位)


Martha Elk (J-E translator; 1 year of experience)

IJET-26 in York was a wonderful experience for me both personally and professionally. The workshops and lectures were all incredibly relevant to my current situation as well as the industry as a whole. I was able to connect with a wide variety of professionals and several of those connections have already proved fruitful! I met several wonderful veteran translators I aspire to be like at some point in my career, and really reinvigorated my desire to better both myself and my craft.
By far, the session I like the best was Andrew Meehan's talk on translating at the Olympics. It was brutally honest, straight to the point, and did not sugar coat a single thing--and I really appreciated it. Too many aspects of business hinge on being the right person at the right place at the right time, and you give yourself hope that it can happen to you to...but not apparently with the Olympics. I learned that if you do not have specifically A, B and C under these highly conditional situations, it's not going to happen. And that was something that I needed to hear!
My favorite part about this year's IJET was really the people I met. All different people in the industry in different ways; it really broadened my view of translation as a whole and made me consider different avenues for my own business. This, for me, was the most beneficial part of IJET and what made me really glad that I had the time and the money to come. I'm already looking forward to next year's IJET and all the ways I will grow as a professional because of it!

Paul Koehler (J-E translator, 6 years; economics, current events, automotive, legal discovery)

The IJET conferences held by the Japan Association of Translators are among the most useful events I attend as a translator, and it was my privilege to be able to attend IJET-26 in York, England in June 2015. This is the third IJET I have attended, and I also had the benefit of traveling to the UK for the first time and meeting up with both old and new colleagues at the York St. John University campus.
Among the many benefits of attending IJET is the ability to meet both colleagues and potential clients face to face and share information with them. From a financial standpoint, the conference has already been a success thanks to new clients I was introduced to, and I also had a chance to meet with several colleagues that I hadn't seen since I moved back to the United States. Many people say networking is useful, and for freelance translators like myself it is essential!
For both translators new to the profession and veterans looking for new information or contacts, the opportunities offered by IJET are second to none. I look forward to seeing everyone at a similar event in the future!

Shivani Nandi, Ph.D. (J-E translator/interpreter, over 22 years; general areas, recently specializing in pharma)

For the past several years I had been ruminating on how to make the shift from a diehard generalist translator to a specialist entrepreneur with a hope to enhance the intellectual pleasure of translation as well as generate a reasonable income. Attending my first ever IJET conference in York in the United Kingdom was a way to seek inspiration, fun and intellectual stimulation and to meet in person a group of professional translators.
The IJET conference thus proved to be a valuable experience for soaking in the wisdom of veteran translators and interpreters, who love their work and yet are very successful in their respective specializations. The irresistible charm of the historic city of York, United Kingdom was everywhere even when walking to various networking lunches or dinners – a majestic view of the grand gothic spires of the York Minster, the cathedral, looming over the cityscape was impossible to ignore. The choices in the sessions ranged from special interest groups in medical and patent translations, to the impact of technology on the profession of translation, modern voice recognition techniques, literary interpretation, interpreting for Queens and Kings and the Olympics, and a couple of very useful panel discussions. Running through some of the sessions that I attended were stimulating and sustaining ideas which I brought away with me, along with a growing sense of confidence to turn my back on free trial translations meted out by fly-by-night agencies that blatantly offer humiliatingly low rates. The conference experience also helped me realize that it is important to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to translation agencies and at the same time persevere in the study and proficiency in this beautiful language.
It thus is evident to me that while the question of whether to be anchored to a specialization or not seems to be a favorite ground for debate, I believe that whichever direction one chooses to move into, there is absolutely no doubt that good quality translation will continue to be rendered by human translators and will never entirely be taken over by a machine.
For now though, I continue to puzzle over and yet be fascinated by the emergence of this new profit driven industry of translation and how it came to be where it is now…And of course, look forward to future IJET conferences!
Feeling like you missed out on a great opportunity? Fear not, as IJET-27 is already in the works and will be held in Sendai, northern Japan, on June 18-19, 2016. See you there!
Marian Kinoshita, President, Japan Association of Translators

IJET26_entrance lobby:

 IJET-26 participants carefully choosing which session to attend from the rich lineup on offer

IJET26 zenyasai:

Cruising down the River Ouse while networking and feasting on yummy meat pies

IJET26 organizing committee:

 IJET-26’s dedicated organizing committee

IJET26 Contest Winners:

Yuki Hashiudo and Masumi Shirahata, 1st and 2nd place winners of the 11th JAT Translation Contest (E-to-J category)