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March 2018

Event Review

Mini Conference: The Importance of Consistency in Technical Writing and Translation – Working Towards a Better Cooperation

Lóránd Kubán

Despite the windy afternoon, all participants arrived enthusiastic to the first mini conference of tekom Magyarország in 2018. The choice of the premise also facilitated the good atmosphere; a co-working space located in the very heart of the city was a perfect match for the presentation and the exciting roundtable discussion that followed.

Ágnes Czinkóczki (SAP) shortly welcomed the participants and introduced Zsófia Alföldy-Boruss (Language Experts Group), the co-presenter of this event, as well as the topic of the discussion. This time the choice fell on the question of consistency in technical writing and translation. Both presenters chose to use the same template for their slides and to present their ideas and suggestions in the same slideshow. Their intention was not just to emphasize, but also to show the importance of said consistency in practice. As a part of that motive, they brought cleverly crafted texts which were riddled with inconsistencies. Some of them obvious, others less noticeable to the unarmed eye, but still adding an awry feel to the examples on show.

The creativity of the presenters was not depleted just by these nuances alone. They deiced to split the demonstration into two parts. The first one was held by Ágnes Czinkóczki who discussed the matter from a technical writing perspective. She was instantly followed by Zsófia Alföldy-Boruss, and the same topic was shown from a translation point of view. The attendants also had the chance to have a small peek of some applications used by translators, getting a better understanding of these tools at work. This dichotomy provided a nice contrast while showing both sides of the same coin which made for an exciting presentation indeed.

A break followed which allowed the participants to replenish their energy with some food and beverages, and also helped the freshly learned information to sink in. After the break, a roundtable discussion took place, where participants had the chance to exchange their ideas and discuss topics most relevant for them. The main theme was working towards a better cooperation. Both sides - translators and writers alike - took turns in describing and collecting the most common difficulties they encounter during everyday work. To everybody’s delight it turned out that a great number of similar concerns were shared by both parties. This lead to a constructive brainstorming regarding what simple tools and practices could be implemented to amend some of the most pressing issues. The meeting finished on a high note with a brief glance at the possible future of technical communication and translation fused with cutting edge IT solutions, as well as some best practices to new colleagues in the field of technical writing.