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Vilnius University conference “Translation quality: changes and challenges”

On October 14, 2016, I, along with some of my colleagues, took part in the “Translation quality: changes and challenges” conference, which took place at Vilnius University. The conference was organized by the Lithuanian language unit of the Directorate-General for Translation at the European Commission and the Department of Translation studies, Faculty of Philology at Vilnius University.

In my opinion, the conference programme was well thought out. The presenters represented different sectors: official institutions (European Union institutions: the European Commission and the Council of the European Union and an official national language institution of our neighbouring country, Latvia), the translation business sector (a couple of local translation agencies) and the academic world. Not surprisingly, it appears that the concept of quality and the processes for its assurance are perceived both in a similar and in a slightly different way by all of these participants. The presenters emphasized that, in terms of quality, there should be a focus on processes, not only on the final product; they raised the question of whether there is a breaking point in terms of cost efficiency; they stated the importance of the notion of fitness for purpose (when it is suitable for its intended communicative use). In her presentation, the CEO of our company, Asta Rusakevičienė, raised the question of whether a high quality translation is a matter of pure luck, or the outcome of a well-managed process, and proved that the right answer has to be the latter case.

The presentations were followed by panel discussions, where quality was discussed further in various aspects: quality in university curricula, quality assurance tools and systems. The majority of the audience members were students, so a lot of the information was new to them or even came as a rather shocking revelation (e.g., the wide scale of translator competences as required by standard ISO 17100 or the statement by the European Commission‘s representative Ingemar Strandvik that translators are de facto drafters of European Union legislation). Therefore, I think that conferences like this one are important for future translators’ education. It familiarizes students with some important aspects of the translation sector and helps them understand it more clearly, and it contributes to the preparation of students for the realities of their future profession.

nuotrauka-vu

Aušra Šalčiūtė-Arbačiauskienė, Vendor manager.

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