Original blog entry posted by Francesco Bazzanella in Italian on 22 July 2013. Click here to read it.
As announced previously on my blog, last week I got the chance to travel to Spain to take part in a new and interesting project: the WISE seminar, the name of which stands for Workshop for Interpreting Skills Exchange. The event was held at la Universidad Europea de Valencia, which kindly provided rooms equipped with booths so as to allow professional interpreters from around Europe to hone their skills together as a group while also getting to know each other, listening and giving feedback to one another.
The group was brimming with over 20 professional interpreters from Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Germany and elsewhere. However, these were actually just the participants’ countries of origin, since many of those attending live or work in other countries. This all meant that the event was a truly European and global experience.
The main aim of the seminar was to practise together to refresh and strengthen one’s own abilities, with some people setting themselves the target of an institutional test. With this in mind, a number of current or former Spanish booth interpreters from the EU or UN institutions attended a few of the sessions, offering interesting advice and information "from the inside", which was of great interest to all, especially those with a test date ahead.
As for the seminar itself, the programme was jam-packed, with simultaneous and consecutive sessions running from 9.30am to 18.30-19.30 throughout the week in a number of different languages. With my three passive languages, I ended up taking part in almost all the sessions, partly because in the Italian sessions I had to give speeches or feedback to colleagues.
Nevertheless, there were of course a few hours of free time here and there, spent mainly down at the beach or visiting the city, with Valencia proving to be a wonderful place to roam around, with its many green parks and sights to visit. But as you might guess, for someone from the highlands of Trento, it was scorching hot. But given that it was no more than a week, I tried not to complain.
The experience was incredibly interesting and very constructive. Being able to receive feedback from a number of colleagues both passively (into Italian) and actively (into English) was a chance I highly valued, with interesting comments coming my way which will no doubt be a great aid in furthering my skills and boosting my self-confidence.
More importantly, having mother tongue English speakers tell you that your work into English was pleasant to listen to, correct and easy to understand…well, what can I say, not bad for the old self-confidence! Then, once the week was up, I found myself with plenty of notepads packed with new terms, ‘little tricks’, nuggets of advice and expressions which can now act as an impressive professional portfolio.
Then of course, there was all the networking and getting to know other European professionals, who were all very nice and great people. We went out for drinks, dinners and evenings out together and this created a great team spirit. It was a chance to chat about previous experiences and to get to know new aspects of the profession and of the lives of interpreters and translators from elsewhere around Europe…not to mention all the laughs that were had out on the town in Valencia!
So, the moral of the story: the seminar was certainly a wise choice and an experience that shouldn’t be missed…and indeed repeated, as may well be the case in coming years!
And how else could I draw this to a close but by wholeheartedly thanking the organisers, Jose Sentamans and Joe Burbidge, who at the time of writing are away running WISE London, steaming ahead with this great initiative. Keep it up, guys!