Translation Village in Turkey – Review

See more photos here.

Most translation conferences are by big business for big business or by academia for academia. They’re pricey, boring, or both. And at more casual translator meetings in Germany, I’m usually by the youngest – at 32.
It doesn’t have to be that way, I found out at the 2nd Translation Village at Aziz Nesin Mathematics Village in Sirince, Turkey.
I found this self-organized event in Turkey by a lucky accident. The idea: translators, interpreters, researchers and off-duty business people get together in a historic Aegean village for a weekend. Of the 70ish attendees, I talked to almost everyone – I just couldn’t avoid it. When was the last time you enjoyed talking to a colleague or business partner? Ever heard of a conference where you can bring your family for a vacation?
Life for translators isn’t easy, so why make it harder? Unlike Germany, Turkish universities are opening new translation departments. So many translators are young, and there are no traditional associations from the analog era.
Still the job prospects are not amazing. Graduates can “make it big” and land an in-house gig at Amazon (conquering Turkey this year), if they can average 800 words per hour. Or, as Turkey has no cozy government sector as provided by the EU or the German courts, aspiring linguists can become Uber-ized dorks like me, which has its ups and downs, but mostly it sucks.
This is also a reason why multinationals like SDL & Lionbridge or Amazon’s own language department control a vast part of the market. Western translators are still discussing whether MT-PE will replace “real” translation, while post-editing is the only work a young Turkish translator will find. New technical developments and constant price pressure erode old models (booth interpreting, etc.) much faster in Turkey.
So whether you freelance or run a language company, you have to stick your nose into all emerging branches, including not just new translation/interpreting modes, but also teaching, research, volunteering or even politics.
There’s no easy way in and no easy way out. Many of us will be driven out of the market or into new fields and few will reach a comfort zone.
I loved being around so many experienced and aspiring colleagues, the dedicated organizational team, our amazing interpreters, and the back-to-nature spirit.
With 10 years in the business and a couple of conferences under my belt, I’m telling you: Don’t miss the next Translation Village! It’s planned for September 2018. If you’re a student, a researcher, a business person, this is for you. The flight & accommodation will cost you way less than the sign-up fee for any European conference, you’ll have a great time, meet great people, and may even gather enough energy to survive another year in this shady business of ours. You’re also very welcome to prepare a talk or other activity, be it CAT yoga or bread baking (no academic credentials required)! Or why not become a sponsor? The lira/euro rate is almost 5:1, so with a relatively average European income, you can make a big contribution.
If you have any questions on signing up or getting there, please contact me emal@germling.com

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