DOHA: The outcomes of HBKU’s Ninth Annual International Translation Conference herald transformative new developments in the translation and interpreting industries.
In late March, the Translation and Interpreting Institute, part of the College of Humanities and Social Science (CHSS) within Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), initiated its Ninth Annual International Translation Conference, under the theme of “Translation in the Digital Age: From Translation Tools to Shifting Paradigms.”
The two-day moot was widely attended, and saw attendance of nearly 260 participants at the opening ceremony as well as the active involvement of 35 speakers from close to 20 different countries.
Discourse at the conference was wide-ranging, and touched on topics such as machine translation, translation for specific purposes, non-professional translation, translation for the web, as well as translation and manipulation.
The objective of the conference was to showcase ground breaking research in the field of translation technology; highlight increasingly widespread use of digital technology in translation studies and practice; and bring together industry insiders.
A case-in-point of the trending research presented at the conference were the strides made in the development of speech translation systems as well as the ongoing efforts to combine speech recognition and machine translation technology to build fully automated conference interpreting systems for Arabic to English and English to Arabic support.
The outcomes of the conference suggested, among other observations, that machine translation and new technologies are key to a globalization where more translators and more translations will be needed. One of these paradigm shifts is the so-called ‘digital turn’ where translation can no longer be accomplished or even envisaged without the products of technology, which are now taken for granted.
The so-called ‘digital turn’ or ‘paradigm shift’ occurring in the industry – the trend that inspired this year’s conference theme – has made the translation process more effective and time-efficient, but also changed the roles and profiles of translators and expanded the horizons of translation research, as was amply demonstrated by the papers presented at the conference.
Another aspect emerging from the conference was the renewed emphasis on the collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of translation studies. Similarly, it was pointed out that the digital turn had been quite familiar to researchers from other disciplines for years. Recent years have witnessed tremendous expansion of multidisciplinary research in many countries.