At the end of September, I attended my first in-person translation conference, KTLC. As it so happened, it was also the first conference I spoke at. Organised in Warsaw, my hometown, it was the perfect place to test the speaking waters – especially, since I’d already presented on inclusive language before. This time around, the audience was to be much bigger and my computer camera was replaced by an in-person interaction.
Having run the conference online for two years, this was the first hybrid edition of KTLC. It also meant that some talks were being broadcast live. After more than two years of online events, I was eager to be back in the room with ‘real’ people. That’s why often my decision about which KTLC talks to attend was based solely on whether the speaker would be presenting online or from Warsaw.
Each day was jam-packed with hyper interesting talks and workshops, but
my three highlights were:
Monotasking as a superpower. How to stay focused in a world full of distractions
The Power of Poetry: Playing with words and rhythms
O wrażliwości w języku. Spotkanie z tłumaczką współczesnej literatury anglojęzycznej
(On sensitivity in language with a contemporary English-language literature translator)
For ages multitasking was being praised and presented as the only way to succeed in our busy world. I’m personally extremely glad that monotasking has been getting the recognition is deserves. In her talk, Dominika talked about the importance of deep, focused work (and recommended one of my recent favourite books, Cal Newport’s Deep Work). However, according to her, everything has time and place – including multitasking. It can be done, but only when the two actions are dissimilar, simple, don’t require plenty of attention (so running whilst listening to a podcast, or listening to music when doing the dishes or cooking). Dominika also talked a lot about non-digital breaks, creating a focus ritual and embracing a to-do list. This is just a short recap – there was truly a lot of useful information.
Ellen and Joanna's workshop
I attended Ellen and Joanna’s workshop on a whim. Virginia Katsimpiri’s LinkedIn workshop looked extremely promising, but in the morning I’d sat at a four-hour workshop that frankly fried my brain. Poetry it was then. I don’t really think of myself as a poet, so it was nice to unleash that part of my creative brain. Apart from theory, the speakers got our juices flowing by inviting us to write a few poems, including one in a shape of an animal (mine was an elephant). I had a lot of fun during the workshop and realised how important these kinds of exercises are for creative translators. Here’s my (very basic) acrostic poem:
Technically, I’ve done this for ever:
Reading out foreign signs
And buying you bus tickets when you visited
Nevertheless, now it’s not just a passion or
Studies that make me reach for a dictionary
Languages have always surrounded me
And isn’t it great?
Truly amazing, if you ask me. So,
Eagerly, I translate
Saturday, the only Polish-language day, was by far my favourite one. I found the programme most varied and a few times had to ponder which talk to attend. That’s also the day I was speaking. Luckily, it was in the morning, so I didn’t have to stress about it all day. Given my own talk was about inclusive language, there was no way I was missing Aga Zano at the conference. She’s translated more than 50 books at this point, many of which required a very mindful, empathetic use of language. In the run up to KTLC, I read her translation of Torrey Peters’ Detransition, Baby (“Trans I pół, bejbi” in Polish). Aga’s presentation was truly inspiring – I was happy there were as many as two talks about inclusive language at the conference. It just shows that this topic is extremely important.
Food for thought
All in all, I really enjoyed the conference. I think if I went again, I’d consider getting a ticket for networking drinks or dinner (or both). The only downside was vegan options at lunch: there was a huge spread available, but practically nothing for vegans. I hope that won’t be the case in the future.