ITI Conference in Newcastle – our bursary winners write:

Catherine Wolterman

I was delighted to be awarded a bursary for the ITI Conference and I thoroughly enjoyed my day there. I arrived on Saturday morning, and it was immediately clear that the first two days of the Conference had been a success – the atmosphere was upbeat and everyone I spoke to was enthusiastic about the talks and workshops they had already attended.

For me, the highlights of the day were attending the panel discussion on British Sign Language interpreting and being part of the scratch choir “The Singing Translators”. I had known very little about BSL interpreting prior to this talk, but I came away with a much greater understanding of deaf culture and of the huge difference that high-quality BSL interpretation can make in theatre settings, to use just one example.

Being part of “The Singing Translators” was a fantastic experience that reminded me how much I enjoy singing as part of a choir.

Ever since I joined YTI, I have found the group to be enormously supportive of newcomers to the profession, and the decision to offer these bursaries is yet another example of that support.

Thank you, YTI!

Sarah Wells

I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend the ITI Conference on Saturday 25th April in Gateshead. Seminars ranged from the ‘Language of Chocolate’ (including a taster session!) to how to develop a ‘business buddy’ relationship. However, the particular highlights of the day for me were ‘Surgery was successful but the patient died’ and ‘Translating Innovation’.

The first, given by Siegfried Armbruster, started by admitting that translators aren’t perfect and proceeded to compare translation to the medical profession, particularly focussing on how quality is ensured in the two fields. Siegfried talked about the percentage of deaths and serious complications resulting from surgery and compared this to the number of ‘failed translations (those needing to be completely rewritten) and ‘poor translations’ needing serious revising. In order to improve their figures, hospitals have implemented a checklist, involving some very basic checks. This has notably reduced the number of deaths and complications. He has therefore started using a checklist for all his translations. This made me consider whether the basic checks I presume I am doing all the time I actually carry out in practice. Siegfried then sends a signed copy of his checks with his completed translation to the client. As he said, ‘taking responsibility for your mistakes incentivises you to resolve them’.

The ‘Translating Innovation’ talk, given by Peter Smith from WIPO, was the last of the day but certainly worth staying awake for! He talked about how few translators venture into technical translation, particularly patent translation, even though this field is steadily increasing. He mainly works with patent abstracts and patentability reports. In patent abstracts, around 50% of the words are specialised terminology (not for the faint hearted!) and Peter stressed the importance of reproducing this faithfully, but also maintaining ambiguity where it arises in the source text. Fortunately WIPO have recently launched a terminology portal called Wipo Pearl ( holding 15,000 records, all of which have been validated. I certainly look forward to using this tool to help in my terminology searches.

After a long, but thoroughly fascinating, day there was time for some networking and catching up with YTI members before heading home. Thank you very much YTI for enabling me to benefit from this experience and I look forward to the next ITI Conference in 2 years’ time!

Carmen Swanwick-Roa

I only attended the Saturday of this year’s ITI Conference but I was spoilt for choice with the number of interesting talks on offer. After reading her book “The Prosperous Translator”, I chose to go to Chris Durban’s talk on budgeting and found it to be motivating, amusing and thought-provoking. Her views on rates and investment have spurred me on to look more closely at my own practices. I also thought Siegfried Armbruster gave us a very important message in his talk on quality assurance: as translators, we need a good review and QA process to ensure our work is at the highest standard possible, but we should also understand that our work is not always perfect and neither are we. I saw this as a bit of a wake-up call for translators and the industry – if we want to ensure quality in our work, we have to admit our shortcomings and try to fix the problem from there.

Although I missed the main social events, it was great to be able to catch up with other YTI members as well as ITI members who I had met online, but not yet in person. Meeting experienced translators and networking is vital for newcomers to the translation industry and the conference was a fantastic way to learn from qualified, experienced colleagues in a relaxed setting. I would like to thank the organisers for an enjoyable and useful event, and the YTI for awarding me a bursary to attend the event.

Raquel Madrid

When I first read that the biannual ITI Conference was to be held in Newcastle in 2015 I saw it clear: It was then or never! So close from home, just a couple of hours by train and acquaintances living in town.

Then I found out that the YTI was offering 4 bursaries £100 each and it seems I met the criteria to apply for one. That was great news! I had already pre-registered for the Conference and wasn’t really sure if I would be able to afford it on my own. Luckily YTI came to my rescue!

Most of the talks were addressed to translators, so I decided not to miss any of the few ones thought for interpreters: “The new technology interpreting team”, “SimConsecTM: a new frontier in interpreting?” on Friday, and “Who’s afraid of remote interpreting?” on Saturday. I have never been such a fan of technology (always afraid that it would let me down when I most need it, and still trust my paper and pens). However, after this talks I feel more encouraged and determined to invest in technology that would ease my (hopefully) busy professional life in a future: light devices, synchronizing apps, multitasking keyboards and “magic” recording pens.

As you can see from my picture, I also joined the “Newbies and Buddies” programme. I was very glad to have somebody more knowledgeable as a reference to talk to during the breaks, to attend talks to and ask for advice.

I think I would have regretted it if I had missed it. The ITI Conference has now become a “must” in my professional-events list and hope to be able to attend following ones. Who knows how long it’ll take until I become a “buddy”!

Meal at Tharavadu, Leeds – Claire Vaux writes:

You might have heard it said that variety is the spice of life. Well, this lovely evening at Tharavadu restaurant on Mill Street in Leeds city centre was full of variety, spice and life. Let me explain…


I had been looking forward to this event, not only because I love curry but also because I was excited about meeting some new people and injecting something a little different into my weekly schedule. The restaurant was busy, which is always a good sign on a Thursday night! Unfortunately, this meant that there wasn’t much room for mingling, so I only got to speak to a few of the 22 attendees (the ones at my end of the table). Nonetheless, the variety of languages and the fields of expertise represented meant there was lots to talk about. In fact, our conversation ranged from fledgling romances to project management; from cycling to CPD events. There looked to be a good mix of age groups represented, too. That’s before I even begin talking about the variety of food and drink that brightened up the table throughout the evening! But perhaps that ought to wait for my next heading…


The incredibly efficient and helpful staff had made a list of our names and pre-ordered dishes, which they used when they took our drink orders. By doing so, they impressively managed to remember who was who, which made it a lot easier when they brought out the food. Being a group of linguists, I’m sure many of us would have had a good go at pronouncing the names of the dishes but I for one was unable to remember much more than the first letters of the dishes I had chosen over 24 hours previously, let alone recognise them when they were pronounced correctly by a member of staff at the restaurant (Charlotte kindly compiled and placed our orders in advance to speed things up).

Some of the dishes I spotted around the table included a tray of sauces and dips with bread and rice (see image above) and a fillet of fish wrapped up in a banana leaf (see the thing that looks like a green napkin in the image below). I also tried some of Linda’s Kadala Masala, an aromatic chick-pea and tomato dish.

The recipes used at Tharavdu originate in the Kerala region of southern India. Let me talk you through the dishes that my husband and I shared:

Vazhuthananga Curry

This excitingly named aubergine-based curry (I still have no idea how to pronounce it) had enough chilli in it to give me the sniffles but it also had aromatic coriander and it was slightly sweet, which balanced out the spice a little! We really enjoyed this dish, which was served in a metal bowl (like the ones you can see in the image below).

Vegetable Stew

The greenish sauce in this dish was similar to a classic Thai green curry, but with more of a salty flavour mixed in with the sweetness of the coconut milk. The sweet-salty combination reminded me of some Vietnamese food I tried a few years back. The Kerala cuisine dished up at this restaurant really does offer some completely different flavours to Indian restaurants representing the cuisine from other areas of India. Again, this dish was just right on our spice scale: not so mild that we forgot we were eating a curry in the first place yet not so spicy that we needed to order a soothing mango lassi and extra rice!

Lemon Rice

Sometimes rice is just a padder that fills you up and conveniently dilutes the spiciness of the curry. Not so with this rice. The lemon juice, curry leaves, mustard seeds and hint of chilli that were added to the rice gave it an attractive yellowish colour and made it tasty in its own right. This was the kind of rice that you would think twice about leaving on your plate at the end of the meal. Needless to say, there were no leftovers at our end of the table!

Karnavar Masala Dosa

Last but not least, the dosa, which was actually the first of our orders to arrive. Dosa is a sort of pancake bread that is made with fermented rice and lentils. The fermentation explains the slightly spongy, cake-like consistency of this flatbread. Ours was folded over into a semicircle shape and stuffed with mixed vegetables in a mild, tasty marinade. As the updated menu points out, this makes it gluten free. I think you can spot some dosa-tearing in the action shot below…


The photos speak for themselves here really, showing the lively discussions in the life-filled restaurant. On a personal note, as I am relatively new to the life of a full-time translation professional, I also found it encouraging to speak to others who have been at it for longer or whose backgrounds are different. I was given lots of advice and encouragement and was able to share some personal thoughts on the industry. It was great to share a couple of hours of life together around some truly vibrant food. I look forward to being able to attend more YTI events this coming year – long may variety, spice and life continue!