NCTA Goes Global

By Michael Metzger

The year 2003 saw a series of conferences, seminars, and workshops in the localization industry and I watched them all carefully to see what they had to offer. One event, the Localization World conference held in Seattle, caught my attention and excitement as the program seemed to round up all of my “pet interests:” terminology roundtable, localization metrics initiative, tools presentations … what more could I ask for?

When I learned in Spring 2004 that the Localization World conference was coming to San Francisco, there was no doubt in my mind that we, the NCTA, needed to be there. Who else but translation professionals could make a positive contribution to such an event with industry insight and experience? Is it not true that no matter how lofty the terms become to describe this industry, it always begins with translation?

The plan was simple: NCTA, representing the translation and interpretation industry, would become our profession’s ambassador through our contributions to the conference’s programs. We would realize the vision, excitedly debated at ATA conferences: a public relations promotion of the trade, an outreach to end clients whom translators usually never meet – in short, a way of putting a human face on this service called translation.

But this was just the idea; what had to follow was contacting the organizers and hoping this idea would fall on receptive ears. And in Donna Parish from Multilingual Computing and Ulrich Hennes from Localization Institute, we found people with the vision to match ours. Over the course of several months we shaped a proposal that could only spell success: NCTA would become an official participating sponsor of the event, contributing with workshops and individual sessions. We would furthermore represent the translation industry with a fully staffed table throughout the event with one clear objective: to engage conference attendees in professional discussion, and to educate and inform them about the work of translators. At the same time, NCTA would participate in the planning of the program with a seat on the advisory committee of the conference.

Our contributions were all extremely well-received, from the workshops, to the “standing room only” session with Christoph Niedermair and Sabine Hathaway, to Frank Dietz’s presentation on game localization and Anna Schlegel’s coordination of round-the-clock volunteers for the NCTA table.

Next year’s conference will be back in Seattle. We hope another local group will step in and represent our trade!

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