Quintin Ridgeway and Bill Ashwell attended the 2014 Conference of NZSTI, which was held on 21-22 June at the Hotel Mercure on the Auckland waterfront. This year’s theme was “Communicating in a Connected World”. People attending the conference came from all around New Zealand from Awanui to Ashburton, and there were three speakers from Australia; one translator came from Saudi Arabia.

The keynote speaker was Dr Ignacio Garcia of the University of Western Sydney, who spoke about his research on the challenges posed to professional translators by developments such as machine translation and crowdsourcing. Another contribution from Australia was given by Sam Berner, a highly experienced translator of Arabic who spoke about the problems of using Arabic on the internet.

Peter Tuffley of the Christchurch branch gave a very interesting talk on “Virtual Collegiality in the Global Village”, looking at ways in which translators can post translation problems online and get solutions provided by other translators anywhere in the world, at all times of day.  Hyden Toonen spoke about the art of communication between clients, translation companies and contract translators, which is something we always need to keep in mind.  There was a valuable presentation by John Burton on translation strategies in technical translation, with all his examples taken from the field of hang-gliding.

One of the most entertaining presentations was given by Diana Clark, the manager of Language Line, which operates within the Office of Ethnic Affairs.  Diana once spent nine years in Saudi Arabia editing a medical journal, and spoke about language policy in New Zealand with reference to the latest census results.

The 2015 Conference of NZSTI is due to be held in Wellington.  This will provide a great opportunity especially for local translators to come along and meet translators and interpreters from all around New Zealand and overseas.  Conference is always well worth attending, and we heartily recommend that everyone does their best to come along.

Bill