Matt Baird

A Con-shop or a Work-ference?

By Matt Baird

The following was published in the winter 2017 issue of INTERAKTIV, newsletter of ATA’s German Language.

This year’s fourth annual GLD Workshop in Germany, held in Karlsruhe on February 11, was in a category of its own.

The fourth annual ATA German Language Division (GLD) workshop was actually the sixth gathering of GLD members in Europe in so many years. After ATA52 in Boston, GLD member Karen Leube pointed out that some GLD members in Germany only get together “across the pond” despite living only a hop, skip, and a jump from one another.

So, she organized a lunch with several members in Wiesbaden a few months later. That led to a Kaffeeklatsch in Frankfurt the following year—coordinated to coincide with then-GLD Assistant Administrator Michael Engley’s trip to Europe. After that, GLD Administrator Eva Stabenow asked Karen to join the GLD Leadership Council as our official European Coordinator.

But we wanted more. Living in Germany, we all felt somewhat isolated from ATA. We not only wanted an opportunity to venture out from our home office caves, we wanted to network and learn from each other.

Karen—a self-described extrovert with a knack for organization—had the answer and the GLD Workshop was born—a full-day Tagung that has grown into somewhat of a mini-conference that includes everything from hands-on skills training to coffee-in-hand networking.

After twice meeting in Mainz and once in Munich, the GLD Workshop moved to Karlsruhe, where Cindi Klohr—a regular workshop attendee and resident of Baden-Württemberg’s second-largest city—offered to be our boots on the ground.

To keep costs to a minimum, past workshops have been fueled entirely by participants who offered to share their expertise. Whether it was accepting international payments or dealing with book authors, we’ve had plenty to talk about.

This year—with the group’s blessing—we invited a guest speaker to round off the educational program. Professor Christiane Nord encouraged us all to be bolder translators—a plea that is obviously music to my ears! Her presentation, Hürden-Sprünge: Ein Plädoyer für mehr Mut beim Übersetzen reminded us all that we are not only translators and writers, but cultural ambassadors. We are the experts who know whether a text will resonate with the target audience. Dr. Nord told us: “Zum Übersetzen gehört auch ein gewisses missionarisches Ethos.”

The 2017 workshop was divided into three sections: 1) quality in our professional association, 2) quality in our translation work, and 3) quality in our business. In the first section, we recapped ATA’s 57th Annual Conference in San Francisco, including several summaries of attended sessions. Then we listened to Dr. Nord’s inspiring presentation, followed by two breakout sessions (German>English and English>German) to put her plea for bolder translation into practice. Finally, participants shared their marketing secrets and learned how professional development opportunities are all around us.

The well-rounded day would not have been complete without ample time to socialize. In addition to generous coffee breaks, we enjoyed a fascinating brewery tour and a tasty rustikal meal—my favorite!—on Friday night, somewhat finer dining and fellowship on Saturday night, and a cultural experience at the Badisches Landesmuseum on Sunday.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive and planning for next year’s event—likely in Berlin about the same time—will begin soon. So stay tuned!

The GLD Planning Committee would like to thank all of you who attended. Your presence was a big part of why the event was such a success!

 GLD Workshop Planning Committee

Led by Karen Leube, the planning committee comprised Birgit Vosseler-Brehmer, Cindi Klohr, and Matt Baird. Hats off to Cindi for leaving no stone unturned. The entire weekend ran like clockwork. And many thanks to Elke Mailand, who serves as our treasurer but was unable to attend.

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