Reflections on the Future of Translation

Last weekend the University of Zaragoza hosted a symposium organized by the Asociación Aragonesa de Traductores e Intérpretes (ASATI) on the future of translation as a profession. A well-prepared group of invited speakers made presentations on a wide range of interesting topics and brought attendees up to date on several issues that have been of particular interest to professional translators and interpreters in Spain during the past year.

Margaret Clark, president of the Asociación Española de Traductores, Correctores e Intérpretes (ASETRAD), made a clear and cogent analysis of an ongoing attempt to peddle a completely worthless quality certification to translators working in Spain. A PowerPoint version of this presentation (in Spanish) can be found in the ASETRAD website. Fernando Gascón Nasarre, vice-president of the Asociación Profesional de Traductores e Intérpretes Judiciales y Jurados (APTIJ),   gave a witty, if somewhat depressing, presentation on the abysmal  government standards for court interpretation in Spain.

But as the future of translation cannot be all Sturm und Drang, other speakers at the symposium offered information on blogging, career options, and Internet sites useful to translators. Antonio Martín Fernández, president of the Unión de Correctores (UniCo) and director of Cálamo & Cram, a firm that specializes in professional editing services and training in translation, editing, and proofreading, recommended that translators broaden their services to include proofreading and editing. Martín Fernández also commented that he would like to change the title of “corrector” to something more appealing to a potential customer. I fully agree with him. In my bilingual professional website I use the term “revisión de textos” because it better reflects the deference that any proofreader or copy editor should always show to an author, an editorial project manager or communication director.

María Barbero, a member of the editorial board of the medical translation magazine Panace@ and the chief editor of ASETRAD’s magazine La Linterna del Traductor, provided a very interesting list of websites focused on translation and announced that La Linterna del Traductor will soon be available in e-book format.

Medical and technical translator Oliver Carreira and Pablo Muñoz Sánchez, who specializes in the English to Spanish translation of videogames and software, rounded out the program with presentations related to their very popular blogs Algo más que traducir and La Paradoja de Chomsky.