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A forward-looking SFT meeting

Around twenty members of the Société Française des Traducteurs (SFT) Rhône Alpes delegation got together in Lyon on Friday 18 October 2019 at L’Escale Lyonnaise to take stock of the work of the SFT in the region and to discuss new ideas for the months ahead, including a joint get-together for the Auvergne and Rhône Alpes delegations which will take place in St Etienne in the Spring of 2020.

Lunchtime was an opportunity to chat with other SFT members working in a wide range of different fields, including luxury products, software, medical, technical and legal, and different language pairs. The three into-English translators found ourselves enjoying an all too rare moment to talk translation in our native tongue.

The afternoon session with Anne-Marie Robert focussed on the rise of post-editing and challenged preconceived ideas around the role of machine (pre)translation in the industry. New technological developments, the importance of client confidentiality and the differences between professional post-edition and Google Translate were all the topic of warm, if not quite heated, debate.

Aside from the forward-looking content of the event, two initiatives taken by the delegation inspired hope that things may be changing in our industry.

The first was the fact that the meeting was convened on a Friday rather than at the weekend. This is a personal bugbear of mine, as almost all SFT events in the past have tended to be scheduled in the evenings or at weekends. The tradition of out-of-hours networking which plagues so many industries is, of course, now recognised as being responsible for generating and perpetuating many forms of workplace inequality. I believe that ensuring a healthy work-life balance as a freelancer should also mean drawing a line between our working week and our personal lives. In my case, this means not (or rarely) allowing business events to encroach on my evenings and weekends. From 8am-6pm Monday to Friday, I am fully dedicated to my business and delighted to get out and about meeting clients, prospects, and colleagues. But one of the perks of being a freelancer is the ability to say that outside these hours, my time is my own. So, I applaud the conscious initiative that the delegation took to convene this event during the working week, enabling those of us not willing (or able) to travel into the city for work at the weekends to take part. Let’s hope future events will follow suit!

The second initiative taken by the delegation was to strive for a “zero waste” event, encouraging everyone to bring their own reusable coffee cups, reusable cutlery and napkins, and to contribute a home-made dish to a shared buffet. A stash of SFT-purchased disposable plastic cups was still available to the guilty few who had forgotten their own recipients, but assurance was given that when stocks run out, no more will be purchased ...

Tiny steps, but steps towards a forward-looking organisation none-the-less.


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