Tankekraft! — The Power of Thought!

About the SFÖ Conference for translators in Umeå 20–22 May 2016.

Umeälven, 19th May 2016

Day 1. My adventurous journey to Umeå.

Early morning on Thursday the 19th of May 2016 I set off from London Gatwick towards my destination, Västerbotten’s capital and city of birches, Umeå. Landing at Stockholm Arlanda, I find out that due to a radar failure, my flight would be delayed by many hours. I get myself a lobster tail sandwich and a small bottle of my favourite fruit flavoured sparkling Ramlösa. I tweet about being stuck and through that make friends who are in the same boat. I eventually land in Umeå at 8 PM, eight hours later than expected. But it is luckily still very bright. I am blinded by the sunlight and the air smells of forest. Everything is perfect. I am here to attend the Swedish Association for Professional Translators’ — SFÖ’s language conference and at this point am unaware that it is one of the best things I could ever have done.

Umeå, 19th May 2016, 9.30 PM.

Våga sprida glädje, dare to spread the joy — this year’s conference motto. SFÖ’s idea to combine talks and workshops about language and culture with those about motivation and pride in the conference’s programme was incredibly easy to digest and enjoy. Here comes my attempt to sum up the talks and events I had the pleasure to attend and learn from, day by day:

Day 2. Getting inspired.

·Sandra Olofsson, Glädjefabriken. Olofsson’s story about Glädjefabriken, the factory of joy, founded by her and her granny, set the mood for the day and left me feeling very inspired. Spreading love through visiting patients in hospitals dressed as Santa all year around sounds indeed like a great thing to do.

Sofia Jannok

·One of my favourite singer’s Sofia Jannok’s talk about the challenges one has to face as Saami in Sweden today was a true eye-opener. It featured some of the songs from Jannok’s album Áhpi (Wide as Oceans). An unforgettable experience.

·An introduction to SDL Studio 2015 and its features was a good reminder of the tool’s essential features. I also spoke with SDL’s representatives; Steven Whale and Annaliese Brown, about the newest SDL online applications and add-ons, as well as training opportunities. I am not new to SDL Trados, but advice on how to become an even more effective CAT tool user always sounds like a good idea to me.

·Hans Wiechel, Engelska på got och ont, ett nytt trappsteg i språkets förändring. Swedish, just as any other languages is full of English loanwords. Wiechel reminded me how crucial it is to be a conscious and alert language user and avoid routine in order to preserve the language’s beauty and complexity.

Hans Wiechel

A language is a living creature. It evolves and changes, and it is up to us how we shape it. Wiechel made me think about my mother tongue, and, that I really want to get back to learning synonyms.

Day 3 and 4. The linguistic journey continues.

· Elfrida Bergman, När språk är makt och orden aldrig en slump. When language is the power and the word never a coincidence. Bergman’s talk on identity and word capacity that depends on it was a philosophically very interesting one. Made me think of different minorities’ ways of communication and how we perceive each other depending on what our background is.

· Stadsvandring i Umeå. I even went for a guided tour of Umeå, during which I realised two things: 1. Falling in love with Umeå is easy, as it is thoroughly charming. 2. Networking during a guided tour of Umeå is easy too. Thanks to this guided tour and meeting Ylva Gravengaard I am now one of Languagewire’s translators.

Workshop with Semantix

· Semantix — Maskinöversättning och efterredigering. It was good to meet the Semantix people in this workshop and be a part of a lively discussion about machine translation and post-editing.

· The Kilgray crew shared some news about MemoQ and the Language Terminal. I do not use MemoQ at the moment, but heard lots of good things about it from my colleagues, so I might consider a purchase in the future.

· Lars-Erik Edlund, Ordnamn och ord berättar. This talk was a wonderful journey through Sweden and about what words and names could mean, depending on where they come from and who they are used by.

· Ola Persson from WordFinder, shared some hints and tips about how to use Wordfinder in translator’s everyday work and encouraged me to subscribe and start using this amazingly useful tool which I have done!

Heidi Andersson

· Heidi Andersson, the armwrestler from a small northern place called Ensamheten (Swedish for ‘loneliness’) was to me the most inspiring speaker of the whole conference. Talking of the power of thought, she advised how fundamental in life it is to strive to one’s own goals and never give up; to get inspired by the others and get the strength from friends, family, physical activity, healthy lifestyle, helping the others and following one’s heart. She inspired me to take the step forward and just jump. After the conference I got the courage to leave my full-time office work behind and start freelancing.

I also decided to never hesitate as long as I stick to what I love doing. (Thinking about one of my favourite songs now.)

The biggest win of all.

During the three-day feast for linguists I not only broadened my knowledge in the area of translation, translating techniques, linguistics and entrepreneurship, I also met some of the most incredible people, who now every day, have inspired me since. To me it it is the biggest win of all.

I am now really looking forward to attending the next SFÖ Conference, as well as other upcoming translation and localisation events around the world.

Framåt! Uppåt! Onwards and upwards!

Umeå’s ubiquitous birches