Translated by Charlotte Doane
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the annual OTTIAQ conference for the first time. I had certainly been hearing about it for years, but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, since the whole event was to be held online for the second year running. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. The platform was very user-friendly, and Karina Lehoux, the coordinator for all the participants, treated us with warmth and professionalism.
Despite the distance inherent to communication via technology and the technical hiccoughs that are inevitable with this kind of online event, I could feel the investment of my fellow attendees, as many of them participated actively and tirelessly in question periods.
I was able to attend conference presentations on Thursday, September 30, International Translation Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, both of which were acknowledged during the event. After giving a few words of welcome and an overview of the day’s events, OTTIAQ President Donald Barabé opened discussions on the conference theme, the role of language professionals in public safety—a matter that has come into sharp focus during the pandemic. He also talked about Bill 96, on which he recently issued recommendations before a parliamentary committee. I was shocked to learn that most of the members of that committee were unaware that there was an order governing our profession. Clearly, there is work to be done there! Later, we heard from Raymond Théberge, Canada’s commissioner of official languages and one of the conference’s guests of honour this year. He described his role and some of the gaps that have been identified regarding official languages in emergency communications surrounding COVID-19, as well as the recommendations that he has made to rectify them.
Speakers then presented their meticulously prepared content in separate virtual conference rooms. In addition to the more serious issues discussed this year, a wide variety of interesting topics was covered. Despite the distance inherent to communication via technology and the technical hiccoughs that are inevitable with this kind of online event, I could feel the investment of my fellow attendees, as many of them participated actively and tirelessly in question periods. After an all-around engaging conference experience, I ended the day with a virtual cocktail hour hosted by Cartier et Lelarge.
A rousing success, as far as I’m concerned! To all the conference organizers, thank you!