This October, I attended METM16 in Tarragona, Spain. What a perfect time of year to visit my beloved Catalonia I thought, just as the weather turns bad in the UK! More on this below. Besides the draw of potential sun, I have been a MET member for a while and had a longstanding goal of getting to a MET conference. 2016’s programme looked too good to miss, so off I eagerly booked my tickets.

Well, the weather was the only thing to moderately disappoint. I arrived to torrential rain. But even that cleared up by Saturday morning, leaving bright, warm sunshine.

About MET Meetings:

The conference offers an opportunity for like-minded colleagues across Europe (and beyond – several attendees travelled much further) to come together. MET members are primarily editors and translators covering a huge range of fields and backgrounds.

I found MET to have an enthusiastic, energetic team and the event incredibly well organised. I would like to take a moment to celebrate the venue, Centre Tarraconense, which kind of deserves a blog post of its own! I have never attended a translation conference in such an atmospheric, serene, historic, yet state-of-the art venue. Conversely, there were no clocks, so time appeared to stand still.

My personal highlights of the conference:

  • The Readability workshop with John Bates. This was a three hour, head down session (albeit with a short break) focusing on specific strategies for improving the cohesion, coherence and clarity of texts. We dissected the texts at sentence level, discussing principles such as nominalisation in ways I hadn’t sat down to really, truly get my teeth into before. Although I always deploy a strong focus on clarity (cf. ‘plain’ English), there is always room for improvement and this session demonstrated just how much pruning can be done to improve readability if you are brave, bold and judicious.
  • ‘Legal translation from an international lawyer’s perspective’ by Christopher Lee. This session provided an entertaining but informative insight into the work of an English solicitor practising in Spain with European Community Lawyer status, and also addressed some common misapprehensions about Spanish legal terms.
  • ‘I had to swerve before I hit him’: Oliver Lawrence‘s session on amusing but often extremely costly examples of ambiguity in writing, and how to avoid it (ambiguity, not writing. Argh!).
  • The insightful keynote by Mary Norris of Comma Queen fame on her work at The New Yorker: ‘New Yorker style: the major arcana’.

There were many other fascinating sessions that gave me food for thought and introduced me to new tools, as well as new and better ways of using existing tools. But as always, one of the most rewarding parts was the opportunity to catch up with familiar faces and meet new colleagues, especially at the off-METM events and evening meal groups.

Image credit: MET



  1. Nice account, Philippa. Despite having been to told by a mutual friend to look out for you, I somehow managed to miss you in Tarragona. Here’s hoping to catch up with you in Brescia!

    1. Thanks Simon. Shame our paths didn’t cross but yes, hopefully next time!


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