5 reasons to attend ProZ.com’s 2016 international event Reply

It’s that time of year again! ProZ.com’s 2016 international event is coming up in just a few months, and over 100 people have already registered to attend. This year’s conference will take place in Stockholm, Sweden on September 3rd and 4th.

Below is a list of five things that attendees can look forward to at this event:


5. The social activities

The pre-conference powwow will include a private tour of the Nobel Museum.

The pre-conference powwow will include a private tour of the Nobel Museum

Let’s face it: learning is only one reason (albeit a very important one!) to attend a conference. Translation events also provide an opportunity for language professionals to get together and talk about their work and their lives, exchange tips and advice, form new professional relationships, and even make friends. This is especially important for freelancers, most of whom work from home or in an isolated setting. This year’s international event will provide plenty of opportunities for attendees to network while taking advantage of their stay in Stockholm, during activities like:

  • A guided sightseeing tour of the Old Town district
  • A pre-conference powwow at the Nobel Museum
  • A three-course gala dinner on Saturday night
  • A post-conference dinner overlooking the harbor

See the “Social” tab of the event page for complete details on these activities. Attendees will also have many chances during the conference to chat, like at lunch, during coffee breaks, and in a business card exchange.

4. Visiting Stockholm

Tour Stockholm's Old Town district, or Gamla Stan

Tour Stockholm’s Old Town district

In addition to networking opportunities, industry events are also a great excuse for language professionals to do something they love: experience new and different places, languages, and cultures. If you’re planning on attending this year’s international conference, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a few days in the heart of Stockholm, the capital of Scandinavia. The city is surrounded by water, uniting the vibrancy of a metropolis with clean air, sparkling water and green spaces. An incredibly walkable city, Stockholm combines cutting-edge Scandinavian design, art and cultural attractions with striking natural beauty, spread over the 14 islands that make up the “Venice of the North.” Check out the city’s official tourism website for more information on getting around the city, places to stay, and attractions to visit to get the most out of your time in Stockholm.

3. Getting certified

For the first time ever, ProZ.com will be hosting an ATA certification exam as part of its international conference package. This is an excellent opportunity for translators to certify their skills at a rare European sitting of the exam. Space is limited to only 20 people, so be sure to register soon if you are interested!

2. A one-of-a-kind keynote speech

Maya Hess will deliver the keynote speech

Maya Hess is the founder and CEO of Red T, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that advocates worldwide on behalf of translators and interpreters in zones of conflict. As a forensic linguist, Maya provided language support and expert witness services in many high-profile terrorism trials, among them those related to the US embassy attacks in East Africa, the World Trade Center bombing, and the New York City landmarks conspiracy. At ProZ.com’s 2016 international conference, Maya will be giving a compelling keynote speech on protecting language professionals who work in high-risk settings. Read more about Maya’s keynote speech and register to attend by visiting the session page.

1. The sessions

In conferences as in marketing, everyone knows that content is king. That’s why this year’s international event features a wide panel of fantastic speakers who will be delivering quality content to attendees at every session. Some of these speakers are renowned trainers and mentors like Irene Koukia, experts in their fields like João Roque Dias, published authors like Oleg Rudavin, current or former heads of translators associations like Inga MichaeliJohn Richard Stokbak Sciaba and Tanya Quintieri, or social media experts like Gala Gil Amat and Erik Hansson. And these are only some of the great speakers who will be presenting during this event! See the full list of conference speakers, including familiar faces and new ones, at: http://www.proz.com/conference/683?page=speakers


In addition to the points listed above, attendees at ProZ.com’s 2016 international event will also have the chance to receive discounts on site membership and training courses, participate in a one-on-one workshop with site staff on tips and tricks for getting the most out of ProZ.com, as well as qualify for 10 ATA Continuing Education credits. New attendance benefits are added regularly, so be sure to check out the “News and updates” section of the main conference page for the latest event news and announcements.

Register today and save!

The special early bird discount to attend this conference ends in just 18 days, so be sure to book your seat now while this offer is still available. Just click one of the “Buy now” buttons on the left side of the main event page: http://www.proz.com/conference/683. Special discounts are also available for students, site moderators, members of the Certified PRO Network, and members of the SFÖ.

Any questions?

Don’t hesitate to get in touch via email at conferences@proz.com, or contact the local organizer, Erin Lyons. You can also find this event on Facebook, and on Twitter using the hashtag #StockholmConf.

Hope to see you in Stockholm!


If you plan on attending this event, what are you most looking forward to?

If you’re not sure if you’ll be able to make it to the conference, let us know what you would like to see at this and future ProZ.com events. Simply post in the comments section or via Twitter @ProZcom

Advocating for translators and interpreters worldwide: An interview with Maya Hess of Red T Reply

“The world cannot function without translators and interpreters.” This is the opening statement of a petition created in part by Red T, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that lobbies on behalf of translators and interpreters working in conflict zones. The objective of this initiative is to draw attention to the plight of linguists who work in high-risk settings, and to urge the United Nations to take measures to ensure that these individuals receive a certain degree of protection in their duties.

In this interview I had the opportunity to speak with Maya Hess, CEO and founder of Red T, about the goal of this petition, the organization behind this project, the risks associated with working as a linguist in conflict zones, and what can be done to help lobby on behalf of translators and interpreters worldwide.


MK: First of all, congratulations on this initiative. The petition has reached almost 35,000 supporters. Can you tell me about Red T, the organization behind this project?

MH: Thank you for your kind words and the opportunity to introduce Red T to your platform.

The goal of the petition is to urge the UN to protect translators and interpreters worldwide

Red T is a nonprofit organization advocating for translators and interpreters (T/Is) in high-risk settings, whether these are conflict zones, sites of political unrest, detention camps, prisons housing violent extremists, or even terrorism trials. Having worked in the terrorism arena for many years, I experienced firsthand how vulnerable T/Is can be and founded Red T to draw the attention of the public, governments, and other bodies to the often terrible fate they suffer. Ultimately, Red T’s vision is a world in which members of our profession can work free from fear of persecution, prosecution, imprisonment, abduction, torture, and assassination. To achieve this, we engage in various activities championing policies that support and safeguard linguists. In our latest project, the petition you referred to, we are seeking protected-person status for T/Is in conflict situations. Together with the five major international language associations – the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), the International Federation of Translators (FIT), the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI), Critical Link International (CLI), and the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) – we are calling on the United Nations to issue a resolution along the lines of those adopted for journalists. As it stands now, T/Is are not specifically protected as a professional category, and obtaining such a resolution would constitute an important first step in remedying this omission.

MK: What can language professionals who are interested in supporting Red T do? How can they get involved?

MH: Right now, we are looking to gather at least 100,000 signatures for the petition. To reach that goal, we hope your readers will sign (either by going to red-t.org or https://www.change.org/p/urge-the-un-to-protect-translators-and-interpreters-worldwide) and disseminate it to everyone they know via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. To get the UN to listen, we need critical mass. Also, by circling the world with this petition we can raise awareness about what T/Is do and how important our work is. As we say in its introduction, “The world cannot function without translators and interpreters.”

Another way to support Red T is by donating, which can mean making a contribution or volunteering your time. For instance, we have a great demand for writers to do research and draft copy and would be grateful for any assistance in that regard. We are also looking for translators for the Conflict Zone Field Guide for Civilian T/Is, which we issued jointly with AIIC and FIT. It still has to be translated into a number of languages, so if you are able to help, please email us at contact@red-t.org.

MK: Has Red T encountered resistance in certain sectors while seeking to protect linguists at risk?

MH: It depends. Some of our projects have been embraced: For example, our coalition’s UN Resolution proposal has been taken up by Baroness Jean Coussins in the British Parliament’s House of Lords and has received the support of H.E. Bernardito Auza, the Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, who committed to promoting it before the UN Security Council once it is scheduled for debate. Additionally, the Conflict Zone Field Guide has been used as a reference in the British Ministry of Defence’s publication “Linguistic Support to Operations” and in a Danish think-tank’s policy recommendations to the Danish government. Other efforts, such as our Open Letters, in which we urge governments across the world to do the right thing vis-à-vis T/Is, are not always that welcome. We imagine that’s because it is uncomfortable to be reminded of a moral imperative.

Overall, though, once people learn about the current state of affairs for T/Is in conflict situations, the most common reaction we encounter is shock at how unprotected linguists are in this day and age.

MK: What advice would you give to someone thinking about going into this line of work?

Red T’s mission is to protect linguists who work in high-risk settings

MH: I would encourage T/Is who are planning to work in high-risk settings to professionalize as much as possible. As is common in these settings, the individuals drawn upon to serve as linguists have little or no translation/interpreting experience. So, it is very important that they learn the basic skills of the profession and familiarize themselves with their rights and responsibilities. The latter is critical, since employers frequently ask for help with tasks that go beyond the job description and T/Is need to know they can decline any request that makes them uncomfortable. In fact, clearly defined expectations on both sides go a long way, and consulting our Conflict Zone Field Guide (http://red-t.org/guidelines.html) – a primer that lays out best practices, standards, and ethics for T/Is and their employers – is a good starting point. Overall, we believe that adhering to the parameters of the profession serves a protective function, and the more professionalized a T/I is, the safer he or she will be.

MK: You talked in the past about the need for a paradigm shift in how translators and interpreters are perceived. Could you elaborate?

MH: In high-risk settings, especially conflict zones and terrorism-related contexts, T/Is are too often and too quickly perceived as traitors. The results of this perception, or what I call the translator-traitor mentality, are catastrophic and include criminalization of our profession under the cover of due process, wrongful incarcerations, rashes of kidnappings, incidents of unspeakable torture, and brutal murders, not seldom in the form of beheadings. In other words, T/Is may get persecuted for simply doing their job. This must stop. And that is why we need a paradigm shift to change the way we are perceived and treated. I hope your readers will join me in bringing this about by signing and circulating our petition. Together we can make this happen!


About Maya

Maya Hess is the CEO and founder of Red T

Maya Hess is the founder and CEO of Red T, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that advocates worldwide on behalf of translators and interpreters in conflict zones and other high-risk settings. As a forensic linguist, Maya provided language support and expert witness services in many high-profile terrorism trials, among them those related to the simultaneous US embassy attacks in East Africa, the World Trade Center bombing, and the New York City landmarks conspiracy. She holds an M.A. in Journalism from New York University, a Graduate Certificate in Terrorism Studies from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, as well as an M. Phil. and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the City University of New York.

You can find Red T on the web at red-t.org, and on Twitter @TheRedT