Fête des Rois – ITI bulletin mai-juin 2010

Mike Hanson reports from the
French Network’s Fête des Rois
celebration in Birmingham
on 6 March

Two months might have elapsed
since the snow forced the
postponement of our Fête des Rois,
but this event had not gone stale.
Quite the opposite: the cakes and tarts
were delicious, the wine flowed freely, and everyone said what a good party it was.

Birmingham is certainly easy to get to, and people had travelled from London, Bristol, Yorkshire, Manchester and beyond to be there. These days, the city’s most iconic structure is probably the futuristic Bull Ring shopping centre, but there is also plenty of heritage on offer in the city centre, and the building hosting our party (the Old Joint Stock Pub and Theatre) was worth a visit in itself. The impressive frontage, high ceilings and oak panelling suggested that it had a lot of history to tell. We were in a function room upstairs from the pub, and in addition to the usual doors to be found in such places, marked ‘Ladies’, ‘Gentlemen’ and ‘Private’, there was one carrying the intriguing sign ‘Theatre’, and I now wish I’d satisfied my curiosity by pushing it open…

So thank you to the organisers, Mireille Bord and Emmanuelle Jeannot, who must have been anxiously watching the weather forecast in the preceding days, but in the end were surely pleased with the outcome. Special congratulations are also due to Mathilde Gervais: not only did her traditional northern galette des rois win her the Grand concours de galettes des rois et de tartes, first prize being a copy of The French Kitchen by Joanne Harris, but also her son Adrien won the Beautiful Baby Competition.

French Network egroup members can find more pictures of this event by clicking on the link to Flikr posted by Paul Appleyard on 7 March (not available externally).

Last year’s Fête des Rois party in London was also memorable, and I for one hope this will become a French Network tradition, in the same way that the German Network holds its annual party in the run-up to Christmas.

EU Terminology Resources – ITI bulletin mars-avril 2010

The DGT’s terminology database IATE is open to all and an excellent free resource for translators

Tucked away down a side street between Westminster Abbey and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, where ITI held its 2009 Conference last May, are the offices of the European Commission’s Representation in the UK. Here, in early December, the Commission hosted another large gathering of translators to look at the terminology resources and reference material it provides for external users. The previous session last summer had been a sell-out, and since there was clearly a substantial demand for this event, ITI had persuaded the Commission to repeat it.

The first part of the afternoon involved a conceptual look at the subject of terminology and its importance for translators, presented by Margaret Rogers of the University of Surrey. Terminology is a separate discipline from translation (perhaps it is a more scientific and less subjective field?), and the relationship between translators who want to ‘get on with other things’ and terminologists, for whom this work is an end in itself and part of an ongoing research programme, is sometimes an uneasy one, as Margaret wryly pointed out. The second part was a more concrete presentation of EU terminology and language resources, given by Tim Cooper, a senior terminologist working for the Commission.

For a detailed summary of what we learned, I can do no better than refer readers to the comprehensive article on the previous session, written by Karen Stokes and published in the September 2009 issue of ITI Bulletin, which is full of useful information.

Like Karen, I felt that this session was extremely useful – perhaps every would-be or practising translator should attend it? The IATE database is a vast terminology resource and the first port of call for many translators, myself included, and therefore some training in how to use it effectively is highly desirable.

The only disappointment was that weranoutoftimeattheendofthe day, and the presentation on the EUR-Lex online database of EU law had to be somewhat curtailed. My impression is that there is enough material here (particularly if the group terminology analysis exercise is included) to fill a whole day. I would actually be happy to attend this course again and, if necessary, to pay more than the current fee of £25 for half a day, if cost is a significant factor for the Commission in deciding whether to run it.

I would also like to thank the Commission’s Fiona Harris and her staff for organising it, Margaret and Tim for delivering it, and Pamela Mayorcas for arranging it.