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Translating Europe Forum 2019

The 6th edition of the Translating Europe Forum on 'translation all around us' brought together around 500 professionals from the language industry, academia and the public sector in Brussels on 7-8 November 2019. Many more followed the event online via live web-stream.


The keynote speech by David Jemielity on day one addressed the added value translators bring to business. The keynote speech by Farid Tabarki on day two highlighted how society is changing and how we can adapt to these changes.

The panel discussions looked into various areas where translation plays an invaluable role, such as health care, crises and disaster relief, tourism, entertainment, to name but a few.   

Furthermore, there were sessions on trends and developments in in this sector and ‘self-help translation’. A panel on empowering people gave an overview of how translation improves political participation, participatory decision-making and social integration.

In his welcome address, Commissioner Günther Oettinger underlined the importance of translators for the European project.

The by now traditional 'Networking Village' featured stands where participants could find out more about specific initiatives and continue the discussions from the various sessions.

The main take-away: there is a future for high-quality professionals in the translation sector, while new skills and technologies are an indispensable feature of the profession.

Recordings of all sessions are available.

For the discussions on social media during the conference see: #2019TEF


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  • 7 November: 08.30 - 19.00 (Europe/Brussels)

    DAY 1 – 7 November 2019 (THURSDAY)

    Please note:

    indicative timing in the programme may still be subject to change.

  • 7 November: 08.15 - 09.15

    Registration and welcome coffee

  • 7 November: 09.15 - 09.25

    Welcome and introduction live video

    Aminda LEIGH (journalist, AMROS Media Solutions) and Nicolas FRŒLIGER (University Paris Diderot - EMT network)

  • 7 November: 09.25 - 09.50

    Speech by Commissioner Günther Oettinger live video

    Commissioner for Budget & Human Resources, European Commission

    Introduction of Commissioner Oettinger by Rytis MARTIKONIS, Director-General, Directorate-General Translation (DGT), European Commission

  • 7 November: 09.50 - 10.20

    KEYNOTE SPEECH live videopresentation

    A blueprint for creating higher added value in corporate and institutional environments — and projecting that added value to decision-makers

    In an age where technological change, most notably the recent rise of neural machine translation (NMT), has The Economist referring to translation as “a profession under pressure,” how can translators maximize the added value they create for their organizations and clients? And how can they project that added value, getting management and other decision-makers to buy in? Drawing on his experience with an in-house team that developed innovative answers to those questions, the speaker will argue for an ambitious process/product model for our profession—a model that raises the bar for translators but also ensures that “NMT” won’t ultimately end up standing for “No More Translators.”

    David JEMIELITY - Senior English Translator and Head of Translations at Banque Cantonale Vaudoise (BCV), tenured lecturer of financial/business translation at the university of Geneva

  • 7 November: 10.20 - 11.25

    PANEL DISCUSSION live video

    Customer relations: getting it right for each client

    Finding the sweet spot between customer expectations and professionals’ duty of care. Calibrating the need for speed against the need for quality to safeguard reputation. How to deliver enough quantity to live on with enough quality to stand out? How to build excellent working relations with customers. Diversifying and customising language services, different service & quality levels: how and when to differ without compromising your brand? The customers’ perspective: how are translation needs changing and how can providers improve customer relations? In which sectors is demand for translation growing?

    Chair: Aminda LEIGH

    • Anu CARNEGIE-BROWN, Managing Director, Sandberg Translations
    • David JEMIELITY, BCV, University of Geneva
    • Christopher KURZ, Head of Translation Management, ENERCON WRD Management Support
    • Daniel ZIELINSKI, Managing Director, Loctimize

  • 7 November: 11.25 - 11.50

    Coffee break

  • 7 November: 11.50 - 13.00


    Helping the helpers live video

    This session will look at translation in the context of humanitarian aid, especially translation and interpretation in the context of crisis and disaster relief. How do translators help aid workers in the front line of a crisis?

    Chair: Annette SCHILLER, FIT Europe

    • Sharon O’BRIEN – coordinator of the INTERACT project on Crisis Translation, Dublin City University
    • Stefano CAVAPOZZI, Head of the French section, International Red Cross
    • Ellie KEMP, Head of Crisis Response,  Translators without Borders

    Saving lives and money – Why translation matters in healthcare live video

    How does translation contribute to effective and efficient healthcare? What are the challenges in translating for the healthcare & pharmaceutical sector?

    Chair: Iva VATOVA-IVANOVA, Lead translator,  DGT

    • Nike POKORN, Professor of Translation Studies, University of Ljubljana
    • Simone JASPERT Responsable de la Cellule Internationale, Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc Brussels
    • Leticia ARCOS ÁLVAREZ, Translation division, Regulatory Affairs Department, Laboratorios NORMON
    • Clio SCHILS, President, European language industry association (ELIA)

    Translating for the planet live video

    Environmental issues such as climate change and sustainability are cross-border issues. How does translation contribute to addressing them?

    Chair: Nicolas FRŒLIGER

    • Mensur SERIFOVIC, Head of Documents unit, Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
    • Titta MAJALA, Documentation Specialist, Vaisala Corporation
    • Michael CRONIN, professor, Trinity College Dublin
    • Damien MEADOWS, Adviser, DG CLIMA

  • 7 November: 13.00 - 14.30

    Networking lunch

  • 7 November: 14.30 - 15.30

    PLENARY SESSION live video

    Empowering people – How public institutions and civil society benefit from translation

    What added value does translation bring to public life? This session looks at the role of translation for public authorities and in civil society. How translation improves political participation, participatory decision-making, social integration and public life in general in multicultural societies.

    Chair: Aminda LEIGH

    • Pascal RILLOF, Head of PSIT Training and Accreditation Service, Belgian Government Agency for Integration; President, European Network for Public Service Interpreting & Translation (ENPSIT)
    • Lucio BAGNULO, Head of Translation, Amnesty International
    • Luca CURIONI, Director of the Digital Lead project, municipality of Milan
    • Luca MANGIAT, Coordinator of the Your Europe information webportal, DG GROW, European Commission

  • 7 November: 15.35 - 16.30


    Shopping without borders  – languages and retail live video

    How does translation help companies grow? Do they measure language-driven growth and if so, how?  

    Chair: Nicolas FRŒLIGER

    • David BENOTMANE, Language Technology consultant, Glossa Group
    • Percy BALEMANS,  freelance translator
    • Margarita TUCH, Directorate-General Justice and Consumers (DG JUST), European Commission

    Getting your work read: languages at the service of science live video

    Translating and editing cutting-edge science and research for publication.

    Chair: Anne-Mette JENSEN-FOREMAN, JRC European Commission

    • Sonia VANDEPITTE, professor, University of Ghent
    • Jean-Yves LE DISEZ, Head of the translation and editing service for researchers, University of Brest
    • Sarah BAWA-MASON, freelance translator

    Session with newcomers to the language industry
     (by invitation only) live video

    Experienced translators, language service providers, project managers and terminologists share stories about their experience, their failures and lessons learned, including advice on how to build and grow a translation business.

    Chair: Aminda LEIGH

    • Klaus FLEISCHMANN, founder and CEO, Kaleidoscope Group
    • Dana SZABADOS, freelance translator
    • Ofelia MASOIN, translator, DGT European Commission

  • 7 November: 16.35 - 17.30

    PLENARY SESSION live video

    Translation at a click: instant help or instant gaffe?

    Machine translation is not only a tool for translators: language service providers increasingly offer MT as a service to customers). And even more important: the instant availability of (free) online machine translation allows for ‘self-help translation’ by end-users who are not translators and may not understand the source or target language.
    How does all this influence the work of professional translators and their customer relations? How do consumers and businesses benefit from MT? What are the benefits and pitfalls when using machine translation in business? How can MT be customized to specific businesses?

    Chair: Philippe WACKER, LT-Innovate

    • Christian FEDERMANN, Senior Data Scientist, Microsoft
    • Ondřej BOJAR, Institute of Formal and Applied Linguistics, Charles University
    • Marta ARAGÃO, Portuguese representative, European Union of associations of translation companies (EUATC)
    • Maxim KHALILOV, Director of Applied Artificial Intelligence, Unbabel

  • 7 November: 17.30 - 19.00

    Networking drink

  • 8 November: 08.30 - 14.30

    DAY 2 – 8 November 2019

  • 8 November: 08.30 - 09.00

    Coffee in the Networking Village

  • 8 November: 09.00 - 10.30

    PLENARY SESSION live video

    Tech insights: new frontiers in language technologies

    Language technology is changing fast. This session will look into trends and technological developments and explore how new technologies can advance the translation workflow and contribute to value chains.

    Chair: Jörgen GREN, Director for resources, DGT European Commission

    • Ondřej BOJAR, Institute of Formal and Applied Linguistics, Charles University, member of the WMT2019 organising team — talking about NMT and potential next breakthroughs
    • Claudio FANTINUOLI, Mainz-Germersheim University — talking about speech to text, text to speech and the potential convergence of translation and interpretation
    • Emma SKAGERBERG Manager Technology Solutions, Semantix — talking about workflow management systems and content management systems
    • Konstantin DRANCH, localisation industry researcher — talking about Europe’s role in language technology

  • 8 November: 10.30 - 11.00

    Coffee break

  • 8 November: 11.00 - 12.00


    More translation, more fun: translation in the entertainment  sector live video

    Dubbing & subtitling of movies, TV, video games including virtual reality are an integral part of the language industry. These presentations will show the latest developments in this area.

    Chair: Jorge DIAZ CINTAS, University College London

    • Anca MARICA, EMEA Localization Manager, Ubisoft (game publisher)
    • Nicolas BECKERS, head of language service, arte (German/French TV)
    • William HACKETT-JONES, Eclectic Translations (English-Russian audio-visual translation company)

    Translation & tourism: mishaps and opportunities live video

    Translated content is ubiquitous in the tourism industry, with very different levels of quality. At what point does the value of professional quality trump automated translation? Are price-sensitive customers also language-sensitive? Are professional linguists needed in the value chain?

    Chair: Aminda LEIGH

    • Françoise BAJON, co-founder and Co-owner of Version internationale
    • Luca CURIONI, Director of the Digital Lead project, municipality of Milan
    • David KATAN, professor, University of Salento

  • 8 November: 12.10 - 12.50


    The melting pyramids: Understanding the current transformation of our societies, industries and individuals

    In the liquid society, ‘change is the only permanence, and uncertainty the only certainty’. This has profound consequences. Institutions collapse as the individual emancipates and takes multiple roles. At a quick pace, consumers become part of the production process, becoming prosumers. Citizens help shape the world around them, cooperating with authorities and organisations around them. In turn, organisations need to shed their institutional feathers and become receptive to participation.

    Farid TABARKI, Trend watcher and futurist

  • 8 November: 12.50 - 13.00


    Closing Remarks

    Rytis MARTIKONIS, Director-General, Directorate-General Translation, European Commission

    Aminda LEIGH, Nicolas FRŒLIGER

  • 8 November: 13.00 - 14.30

    light lunch

Practical information

7 November 2019, 9.00 - 8 November 2019, 13.30 (CET)
Charlemagne building
Rue de la Loi, 170
1049 Brussels

Who should attend
translation professionals, translation industry, academia