Innovation in translation – the 2015 ATC conference

This September, Surrey Translation Bureau attended the 2015 Association of Translation Companies conference at Manchester’s prestigious Old Trafford stadium. As well as offering us the chance to meet up with other language service providers from all over the world, the event featured presentations on a wide range of topics relating to the translation industry.


Sales and Marketing Manager, Elmira, and Head of Translation Operations, Hannah, outside Old Trafford stadium

This year, the word on everyone’s lips was ‘innovation’. The translation industry is currently in a state of transition, with the emergence of new technologies paving the way for new methods of working, which contrast greatly with what used to be the norm. With so many of the speeches and stands at the event dedicated to new translation technologies, it is almost hard to believe that within relatively recent memory a translator’s tools consisted solely of pens, paper and a library of dictionaries – times have certainly changed.

In any industry, change can be an alarming and powerful force, and some of the messages that seemed to resonate most strongly came from speakers who looked to other industries. The impact of technology in these fields was tracked, as well as the paths that the successful companies of today took when their industries experienced rapid periods of change. Whether it was Paula Shannon mapping out technological trends by examining the role of clocks through the ages, Tony O’Dowd providing insights into the creative business plans of budget airlines and E-commerce companies, or Richard Brooks drawing on examples from British department stores, wine merchandising and even top of the range jet engines, comparisons such as these were a frequently recurring theme.

The overriding message was that companies can stay ahead of the curve by thinking creatively and being prepared to adapt – an idea neatly summed up by Diego Bartolomé at the end of his presentation on the future of the translation industry: "evolve before you have to." None of the speakers backed away from the challenges that translation companies currently face and a positive tone was apparent.

Alongside this fascinating food for thought, there were a number of presentations focusing on topics already close to STB’s heart: maintaining strong relationships with freelance translators, ISO standards, effective management of translation supply chains, working with universities to nurture the next generation of translators and multi-channel social media marketing. Not to mention a dinner featuring a charitable collection for Translators Without Borders – a fantastic cause of which STB is already a proud sponsor.


Sales and Marketing Manager, Elmira, Head of Translation Operations, Hannah, and Translation Project Mananger, Ed, at the ATC dinner in aid of Translators Without Borders

The two-day conference was concluded by a compelling report into the UK translation industry’s landscape, based on data collated and analysed by the ATC itself. The overview provided some fascinating statistical insights, and we’re looking forward to getting our hands on the full report.

With that, we headed back due South towards home, pleased to have had so many of the things we do everyday affirmed, and full of ideas on how to continue our growth as a company.

If you would like to read more about the event, take a look at the #ATCConf15 hashtag on twitter, or read our Storified version of events here.

Are you interested in learning more about the translation process and how we can make these innovations work for you? Why not contact hello@surreytranslation.co.uk for a quote?