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Top 5 Takeaways from Canadian Language Industry Association Conference

We had the privilege of attending the Canadian Language Industry Association’s (CLIA) Annual General Meeting for 2023. The two-day conference held at McGill University in Montreal was a hub of enlightenment, packed with crucial insights presented by industry leaders.

We asked our CEO and founder, Huiping Zhang about her top takeaways from the conference, and here are her key highlights:

1. Embracing remote work: The AGM was a hybrid affair, conducted both in-person and over Zoom. Remote work is now a permanent fixture in the translation industry and the same goes for our workplace model at wintranslation. It was noteworthy that even senior leaders of some of Canada’s largest translation companies are working remotely, with operations spread across various regions. Laura Krupp, VP of Operations from Nations Translations Group, works part of the year from Nova Scotia, managing the main operations in Ottawa, Ontario.

2. Hiring from around the globe: The virtual workplace has led to an intriguing shift in hiring practices. Companies are increasingly tapping into the international talent pool, which can enrich the quality of their services. For instance, Ottawa-based Fox Translations hired staff from Colombia. Ontario-based Stillman Solutions primarily employs a worldwide project management team to service translation companies in the US and Europe. Wintranslation is also proud to offer virtual working options and has attracted talented staff based in many different regions.

3. Translation Bureau is increasing Indigenous language staff and addressing conference interpreter shortages: We appreciated the update from Dominic Laporte, Translation Bureau’s new CEO. He announced plans to hire more Indigenous language staff to boost the recruitment of translators and interpreters. We are also seeing increased demand for Indigenous language translation services, not only from the Translation Bureau and many of the translation companies at this conference but also from direct clients. Furthermore, Mr. Laporte highlighted a shortage of conference interpreters, a problem the Bureau is keen on addressing. Many of the Translation Bureau’s innovative recruitment methods, such as open Zoom Q/A, which concerns careers in interpreting are an inspiration for translation companies. Wintranslation offers Zoom interpreting services in French and Indigenous languages, largely thanks to the evolving needs of our clients. Our colleague in charge of interpreting services, Olga Haznaci, says of our work:

“We’re actively building up our expertise and trust in this field, growing our team, and finding tailored solutions for each virtual interpreting project. Our Indigenous language interpreters often go beyond their roles, and we are grateful for their efforts. We will continue to work alongside them, learn from them, and assist more clients that recognize the significance of Indigenous languages within the context of Indigenous community engagement.”

4. The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the translation sector: Experts Florian Faes from Slator and Renato Beninatto from Nimdzi debated whether AI tools like ChatGPT represent an evolution or revolution for our sector. It may automatically offer users more language options; for example, on YouTube. There was recognition that AI is not necessarily new in the language space, so perhaps the latest iteration is simply another evolution. Both Faes and Beninatto emphasized the importance of staying close to clients’ evolving needs if translation companies want to stay resilient and financially healthy. Technology may help to produce efficiencies in online multilingual communications, although it generates complexities of its own. Translation companies will continue to be relevant by navigating the challenges and opportunities offered by various technologies.

5. Tailored translation practices: An intriguing perspective came fromGrasi Hanke, manager of Product Localization at A SICS Apps, (a Japanese manufacturer of running shoes and activewear). She stated the importance of recognizing different translation needs based on content type. For example, the content of the app is often made up of words and short sentences, which may not provide enough context for translators. ASICS relies on its translators for quick turnaround and cultural insights. ASICS compensates translators hourly, rather than by word count. This is a welcome departure from industry norms.

You can view the full agenda here. As a translation company, we are already looking forward to next year. Attending events like these is just one of the ways we stay on top of industry trends and developments. Staying current allows us to better serve our valued clients in the rapidly changing landscape of the language industry. If you are interested in learning more about our multilingual translation and interpretation services, just reach out to us!

Canadian Language Industry Association Conference
Canadian Language Industry Association Conference
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