The Association of Translation Companies (ATC) Conference 2017 took place in September. As one of the industry’s top summits, key members of the Asian Absolute team were in attendance. Including Chairperson Henry Clough, who sat down to chat about his experience – and why he thinks attending the summit is such a good idea for translation agencies of all sizes and language professionals in general…

The Association of Translation Companies Conference 2017 – Questions Answered

Q. In a nutshell, what is the ATC summit all about?

A. It’s basically a chance for professionals within the languages industry to get together and talk about new technologies, events and developments which affect the profession as a whole. It’s also a great opportunity to catch up with clients – many of whom are now good friends – and is usually plenty of fun as well as being very useful and educational.

Q. Can you give us an example of one of those new technologies you mentioned?

A. As usual, machine translation was a popular topic of conversation this year – both from the speakers and during the networking. Opinion is divided between those who think it will decimate the translation industry and those who, like me, see it as being likely merely to change the role of the language service provider. In my view, the successful companies in this new era will be those who offer clients access to advanced machine translation engines with human post-editing as an optional add-on, while still providing the more conventional human translation, editing and proofing for projects for which machine translation is not commercially-viable or appropriate.

Q. Was this your first ATC summit?

A. Not at all! My first one was 15 years ago! In fact, this year I caught up with some people who were with me at my first conference. I also enjoyed meeting a lot of new faces who’d come from all over the world to attend their first ATC conference.

Q. So there are participants from around the globe?

A. Absolutely. At the conference dinner, there was a Frenchman on my left, an Albanian on my right, a Ukrainian next to him, and opposite me one of our very first clients, a Swiss German.

Q. I understand you ran a workshop?

A. That’s right. One of the best things about the conference is a chance to learn from other people in the industry, and I’ve attended some great ones over the years.
This year I really enjoyed having the opportunity to run a workshop sharing some experience and tips from our 10 years managing e-learning localisation projects. It turned out to be a challenge cutting down our material to fit within the 2 hours allocated actually, so it’s a good thing our paper was deemed good enough for us to be assigned one of the longer workshop slots.

Q. How did it go?

A. We were pleased to receive positive feedback from the attendees, including one individual who personally specialises in e-learning localisation. It was also really encouraging to see a lot of notes being taken and some very intelligent and stimulating questions at the end, showing that the audience was engaged and interested.

Q. Is there anything you would say this year’s summit did which was better than last year?

A. I’ve attended almost every ATC conference for the last 15 years and I always enjoy it. It seems to get better every time!
Specifically, as well as the various opportunities for less formal networking, it was great that meeting rooms were available this year, enabling me to have some more formal sessions with clients from out of town.

Q.I also understand that there’s an awards ceremony as part of the event – did you win anything?

A. We were proud to receive a trophy on behalf of our colleague Maya during the award ceremony, to go with the 2 trophies won by our team last year. This was especially pleasing given the high calibre of the nominees and it’s wonderful to see a member of the team receive recognition from our peers, as they work extremely hard and take such pride in the service we provide to our clients.

Q. Did you win anything personally?

A. Ha! Well, does a bottle of port count? A very friendly Portuguese translation company donated it to the raffle. Perhaps a little less impressive than Maya’s trophy, but still appreciated!

Henry Clough, thank you very much.

Want to know more about the Association of Translation Companies summit? Perhaps you’re in the industry yourself and are planning on attending next year? If so, we’d highly recommend it!

Comment below and we’ll see if we can satisfy your curiosity!