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EM TTI Annual Event – Conference Report 2

Conference Report - part II

Screenshot of Elizabeth Deysel's presentation
A slide from our invited speaker: Elizabeth Deysel. 

Two weeks ago we held the first EM TTI Annual Conference – due to the current world situation this took place wholly online.  Despite this, we bought together our students, academic staff, staff and students from our Partner Universities, Associate Partners, EC Project Officer and Invited Speakers. Please see the Event Programme for details of the running order and here for details of the invited speakers.  

The event was well received by all involved, please see three conference reports below written by two of our students. 

On October 23rd, the EM TTI Annual Event 2020 was held online via Zoom, hosting more than 50 guests. Among the people attending it, there were students from Cohorts 1 and 2, university professors, the project officer from the European Commission, EM TTI partners, and invited speakers.

Students Master’s thesis presentations were one of the key elements of the event. The students from Cohort 1 (who had just started year 2 of the programme) had to report their progress and share their research ideas. I was the first one to present my research topic. Disseminating research ideas while addressing a large audience is an integral component of being a successful researcher. Thus, talking about my thesis in front of many other people (even online) was an efficient way to practice my public speaking skills. It was also fascinating for me to hear about my colleague’s research topics. The EM TTI programme has a rather ambitious goal to benefit students with such diverse backgrounds as translation, interpretation, linguistics, or programming. Nevertheless, the students’ presentations proved once again that everyone can choose something to their liking – from translation and interpreting technologies to natural language processing with machine learning and deep learning.

The EM TTI programme has a strong focus on developing practical skills and preparing the students for the work in the industry. The students have to undertake two mandatory placements, with at least one of them being with a company. Many Associate Partners were attending the Annual Event, including Mitra Translations, Ionian University, EL-Translations, STAR Group, University of Johannesburg, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, KUDO, and Wordfast. I completed my first placement at Mitra Translations this summer, and it was quite interesting for me to learn what other companies can offer. Hopefully, the global situation will be better next summer and we will be able to travel to all those beautiful places where the Associate Partners are located.

Although I am not particularly keen on the interpreting profession and I have zero interpreting experience, I found Elizabeth Deysel’s presentation of interpreting technologies to be absolutely mind-blowing. She is a practicing interpreter at the National Parliament of South Africa and an experienced user of text-to-speech technologies, note-taking devices, and digital pens. It is so obvious for me now how important it is for the professionals in the industry to familiarize themselves with the newest tools and to keep pace with the fast-developing world of technology.

The EM TTI Annual Event 2020 resulted in fruitful discussions and valuable connections. I am grateful to the Programme Committee for bringing us closer together in such challenging times and supporting us in our educational and professional ambitions.
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Halyna Maslak
Cohort 2019
As a second year EM TTI student, I deem this annual report timely and appropriate both for the first and the second year students. For the second year students it can be considered as a proper progress report and pre-defence of the dissertation. The follow-up questions and recommendations were contributory to its improvement and an invaluable masterstroke to its structure. As to the first year students, the annual meeting was an unusual, but already common welcome to the beginning of an enriching journey. I am sure it visualised the amount of time and effort they are to invest in the dissertation. It might also have served as a source of inspiration when hunting for topics for the dissertation.

In these challenging times, it was lovely to get to see familiar faces and smiles. We all need uplifting words to be able to see beyond the barriers of the virus.
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Marine Ovesyan
Cohort 2019
Two weeks ago, I participated in the EM TTI annual event, which due to the ongoing pandemic was held online. Despite being virtual, everything was smoothly organized and as a student from Cohort 2, I can tell that it was a one of a kind experience, and it only met my high expectations about this master programme.

The event kicked off at 9 am with the first round of dissertation presentations from our fellow students from Cohort 1. It was motivating to see how most of them, coming from a purely linguistic background, challenged themselves and dived into the waters of programming and machine learning (setting the bars even higher for future students.)

Afterwards, we heard a talk from the EC Project Officer in charge of EM TTI, Dagmar Hoepcke. It is comforting and reassuring to know how the Consortium works along with the European Commission to provide flawless and carefree study experience to students, from the moment they are accepted at the programme to their graduation. The programme was enriched with the presentations from Associated Partners that offer summer placements to EM TTI students, among them Fardad Zabetian from KUDO, as well as presentation from an invited speaker, the knowledgeable and very experienced interpreter Elizabeth Deysel.

In conclusion, this event was an extraordinary introduction to what is to come in the next two years. Hopefully, we will get through this pandemic soon, and on the next EM TTI meeting we will be able to meet in each other in person and share even more experiences.
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Nikola Spasovski
Cohort 2020