Danske Translatører turns 30 years

Happy belated 30-year anniversary to Danske Translatører!

Did we just attend the last industry event in the spring of 2020? It seems so. Only the week after the anniversary conference on 7 March, Denmark closed and most industry events have been cancelled or postponed to later on.

So how was it, this last opportunity for social networking and knowledge sharing? It was warm. It was fun. And it was very Danish, language wise, which was surely challenging for our Swedish ears to switch to Danish for an afternoon. Neither of us wanted to admit we could have used the available interpretation into English from time to time.

We were all warmly greeted by the chairman of the board Mette Aarslew to the extremely charming venue in Brøndsalen at Frederiksberg.

The conference was moderated by the actor Oliver Zahle who guided us through the afternoon. He claimed he is always trying to make the world around him more understandable and said he considered himself a translator, but as we all know how hard it is to know the difference (NOT!), he probably meant interpreter. Nah…. Good start anyway!

A few highlights:

The first speaker was Lars Trap-Jensen from the Society for Danish Language and Literature who talked about how changed usage of words drives the editors to work into redefining them. It was a really interesting insight into how much the Danish people like to interact and try to influence how new words should be defined. As Lars noted, it’s a fine line on deciding whose special interest should rule the definitions.

Lars was followed by Ellen Wulf who continued by talking about translating “One Thousand and One Nights” into Danish from 15th century Arabic. Ellen claimed it was indeed very easy as written Arabic has not changed so much during the centuries. It was very nice to listen to such a classic humanist in our otherwise very technical linguistic world.

The modern translation technology and the company perspective was presented by Christel Weber Gouas, Lead Language Consultant at Ørsted who talked about the company’s internationalization journey. The company consists of 68 nationalities and one of her team’s roles is to facilitate and promote multilingualism in the company. She described how company glossaries were set up, as well as how the usage of a simple CAT tool combined with an MT engine available over the intranet made communication easier across internal language barriers.

The author Jesper Tynell made us very aware of the fact that Danish civil servants actually need to learn how to answer a question so that people think they say what they are expected to say but without anyone ever understanding what it actually meant. Or something like that. Tricky anyhow and it does not seem like the Swedish concept of Klarspråk or the Plain English campaign really have reached Denmark yet. At least not in politics.

The afternoon went by very quickly and before the dinner we all had a chance to mingle with peers over a glass of wine (on NTIF) in the venue. We left the laughing group of language industry experts as they took their seats for dinner and managed to catch the last train across the bridge back to Sweden. Little did we know that our mobility was to be brutally restricted only days later. In hindsight – we should have stayed for dinner!

 Thank you and all the best for your next 30 years to Danske Translatører!

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