Greater than 3 minutes, my friend!
The process of comparing is an ongoing one. Even at conferences, which I shall be attending this year more often, this does not seem to stop. The post I wrote before this one got the attention of a translator colleague, who said that one should stop minding what others say or do, how they go about doing what you also do and proposed to find a niche, a certain nook or corner where one can shine without the rays being dimmed by other contenders. Niches may be found with time. First you must inspect, look about, thoroughly investigate the market and feel its pulse. A translator may be likened to a sly detective and many other very uncanny characters, who can only thrive if they are well ahead of others, following leads and trails at the start to venture on a more indefinite, but promising path later on. You can only rely on your senses and your self-discipline. If you are well equipped, you may evade certain difficulties. And this you can give you a good start.
After conferences I feel pretty worn out. Although some very handy and useful information are coming my way, I somehow feel fatigued. One must be prepared for trips and plan ahead.
The day before the recent conference in Vienna was pretty intensive, so it was pretty certain that the actual day of the conference would not turn out very productive. Not knowing how the day had started for my fellow translators (partaking of a hearing earlier in the morning at a court in Vienna), I opted to be present for just a few hours at the House of the EU in Vienna (http://www.eu-haus.at/), in time to hear several findings of translators about the education path, practices and requirements of translators, information on how certain personal documents (their document form) are commended to be drafted into more European languages to enhance quicker document management for administrative purposes, information on the EU Justice Portal and terminology databases helping future and present translators during search for an adequate transposition of a given term into a target language. It all lasted some 4 hours with small breaks, but my head had fairly recovered from the trip from Zagreb to Vienna. Small distance, but still, one must be mentally and physically fit in order to stay on top of all things. Having failed to do that, no “mélange” close to Stephansdom could remedy that. It really is a pity, because you should be able to extract something worth coming here for, and after the event all you are left with are some vague thoughts, trying to recall the most important details. As if you had been distracted from the get-go. What’s even worse, there it comes again, the comparison stage. Many translators under one roof, many nationalities and you among them. How you fit in, where’s your position and what you must do to excell and be better.
Almost everybody there was an expert in English. Maybe half of them were excellent in German. Then there were Slovaks, Czechs, Brazilians, Danish translators….and you also found Croats there. No surprise at all, Vienna is a close neighbour. It’s all very good when you have distant neighbours there, but seeing others from the same country abroad makes you instantly question how they are doing, do they have the same workload as you, maybe are not that fortunate or are even so successful that you can’t evade not feeling envious. I say it’s better not to start having such conversations and try to engange in topics somewhat distant from your actual business and then head gradually into the core of your interest. Otherwise, it’s the famous curiosity killed the cat.
So, high on the priority list when attending conferences is this: have a decent rest the day before and when on site, be attentive! Or the time spent there won’t be of any use at all. I guess the biggest problem wasn’t the fact that I was too tired, but that I didnt choose well when to set the headphones on (there was simultaneous interpreting GER-ENG). I decided to do it at the beginning when the participant were greeted and the talk was about the conference and not when it was most needed – when the talk was about interpreting done in court settings and legal interpreting in general. This is also very important- knowing when to analyse contents in two different languages, differentiating between what is useful and what not to your own benefit in business.