25 May 2021

Reflections on an online conference

Françoise Vignon MITI reflects on the ITI Conference 2021 and how, by the end of three days, rather than suffering from 'Zoom fatigue' she felt energised by the event.

When I booked myself on the ITI Conference on the 1st March, I did not give it much thought. I attend the conferences because I get so much out of it. A couple of weeks before, I checked the programme and doubts started creeping in: should I have left it this time? Three full days on Zoom or equivalent, was that wise? Like me, many of you are probably getting somewhat tired of these Zoom sessions. Yes, I know, they have been an absolute saviour in many ways, but...

Well, let me tell you, those fears were unfounded. ITI and Worldspan had it all sorted! I am so glad that I have not been put off by the conference taking place online. Virt-Us was the main event platform, Zoom was used for the presentations and Wonder for networking. It all worked much better than I had expected. Of course, it was not face to face, but as close to it as possible and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it.

Being a translator, I started my first day finding out about a literary translation summer school thanks to Sarah Bawa Mason interviewing Ros Schwartz. No wonder it is oversubscribed, it sounds brilliant. I then listened to Colin McKeand and to his top tips and techniques for building a network of connections to enhance my business relationships. Not something I devote enough time to, so it renewed my desire to do better in this area of my professional practice.

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Pricing for a sustainable freelance business: Susie Jackson

Susie Jackson gave a brilliant presentation on pricing our services, not always the easiest thing to do and Joy Burrough-Boenish had me thinking about interference, a theme which Ngaire Blankenberg revisited on the last day. I also got some great advice from Joachim Lépine on self-revision, a critical skill in my job.

Three sessions helped me to reflect on how efficient, productive and relevant I am: Gary King on being a freelancer, Edward Lamont and Emma Paulay on getting things done and Hannah Stacey on ensuring my services are relevant to my clients and prospects. I have saved the chats to these sessions too as they were full of advice on different apps used by colleagues.

It was not all work and no play though, I had a lot of fun attending the slam sessions moderated by Chris Durban and Hugh Keith, where Helene Tammik and Juliet Baur displayed their great skills translating from English to French and Paul Bothroyd and Janet Fraser from English into German. I missed the Spanish slam but will catch it up on the recording. Such talent!

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Office yoga with Francesca Matteoda

A few sessions were geared towards maintaining our well-being, particularly since the pandemic. I love yoga, so I could not miss the office yoga session run by Francesca Matteoda and picked up some great tips from Radhika Holmström, Eve Menezes Cunningham and Rebecca Seal in the health and wellbeing panel session. The session on dealing with imposter syndrome was an extension on that theme and I am truly grateful to Sarah Bawa Mason, Sarah Townsend, Dr. Kirsty Heimerl-Moggan and Karen Tkaczyk for their courage in sharing their fears with me and giving me some ways to fight that feeling.

And then, there were some sessions that gave me food for thought: the exchange between Jorge Díaz-Cintas and Adriana Tortoriello offered me some insight into the subtitling world, a facet of the translation profession which I know little about. Annette Schiller represented the European umbrella organisation, FIT Europe and outlined their work and objectives. Gitanjali Patel introduced me to Shadow Heroes and their action in schools, what great work!

And while I am writing about the conference, there are two more things I can't leave out:

-The ITI Awards Ceremony, I always find it so moving and inspiring.

-The Networking via the Wonder platform. I struggled at first to navigate but soon got the hang of it and enjoyed every single encounter I made.

Now I have 30 days to catch up on all the presentations I have missed, but luckily, they have been recorded. There has got to be an advantage to Zoom 😉.

Can’t wait for Brighton next year!

About the writer
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Françoise Vignon is a qualified English>French translator since 2002. She trades as Into French and is a member of ITI and CIOL with Chartered Linguist status. She specialises in legal, humanities and social science translations. She is joint-coordinator of the ITI Media, Arts and Tourism Network.

In her free time, Françoise enjoys seeing friends and family, visiting places when hiking, motorcycling or travelling abroad, and she likes to keep fit and to practise yoga.

You can find Françoise on LinkedIn.