Call for papers

Call for papers als PDF herunterladen (deutsch)

Call for papers PDF download (english)

Following in the footsteps of BDÜ's 2009 and 2012 Conferences, and the FIT Congress hosted in 2014—all of which took place in Berlin—true to its motto of “Interpreting the Future”, the BDÜ will organise another three-day international conference in November 2019, on the topic of: “Translating and Interpreting 4.0 — New Ways in the Digital Age”

New ways in the digital age

Translating and interpreting are the professions of specialists who leverage their expert knowledge and language skills to enable companies and institutions, banks and insurance companies, courts and law firms to communicate on a global scale.

Yet we find ourselves in the midst of fundamental upheaval affecting all sectors, with artificial intelligence, Big Data, the Internet of Things and blockchain applications being just a few examples of the concepts brought about by digitalisation. Not only are these technologies changing the manner in which customers of translators and interpreters work, how they produce and use language content, how they procure language services: they are also altering how translators and interpreters themselves work, and how they interact with their customers. As a consequence, quite a few business models pursued by freelance translators and interpreters, language service providers or corporate language services — which have been working reasonably well so far—will turn out to be a thing of the past in the foreseeable future.

We want to discuss these challenges, and the future of the language services sector, at the 2019 edition of “Interpreting the Future”. Together, we are keen to explore how future-proof our business models really are—discussing which of the emerging opportunities to position yourself on the market might offer the best chances for success in the future. We intend to examine which linguistic, professional, business and social skills of customer-focused service providers will be in focus.

Talks, workshops and brief seminars — as well as a trade fair, networking platform and a jobs exchange — will bring together buyers, authorities, universities, software tool providers, students, as well as professional translators and interpreters.

Some of the presentations and discussions will be interpreted simultaneously into German and English. In brief seminars and workshops, translators and interpreters will be able to enhance their qualifications in various areas of specialisation, bringing their knowledge up to speed—or to find orientation regarding a specialisation they may be contemplating.

At the accompanying trade fair, visitors will be able to inform themselves about machine translation and translation memory systems, information management tools, the latest reference works as well as service offers for translators and interpreters. At a networking platform and job agency, interested visitors will have the opportunity of presenting themselves to renowned companies and institutions, establishing direct contacts with potential customers or employers—as well as with colleagues having the same (or complementary) areas of specialisation.

Expert translators and interpreters, and specialists from the sectors and areas mentioned below, are invited to submit proposals for presentations, brief seminars or workshops covering the following topics, by 15 February 2019:

  • How artificial intelligence changes the collaboration of translators and interpreters with their customers — requiring new skills
  • How language content is produced, processed and used in the age of Industry 4.0
  • Specialist language (technical, IT, medical, legal, media …)
  • Machine translation and computerassisted translation in practice
  • How technology-savvy do translators/interpreters have to be?
  • Writing skills and being fully articulate in one's mother tongue
  • Marketing—market positioning—negotiation techniques
  • Relaxation techniques, ergonomics, health at the workplace
  • Interpreting: specialists vs. generalists—locally or remote
  • Data protection and professional ethics

All those who would like to share and present their knowledge and experience are invited to submit a summary outline of up to 2000 characters by 15 February 2019. The presentation languages are German and English. The following event formats are possible:

  • Presentations (max. 30 minutes, whereby the number of participants is generally unlimited); discussion between speakers and participants will follow individual presentation blocks
  • Panel discussions (90 minutes, whereby the number of participants is generally unlimited)
  • Brief seminars (90 or 180 minutes, up to 100 participants)
  • Workshops (90 or 180 minutes, up to 25 participants)

When submitting your summary outline, please indicate the level which your contribution targets in particular: fundamentals/beginners, advanced level, or all participants. All the accepted talks will be released in a conference publication, which will be available in time for the convention.

Submit your abstract here

We will inform you by 31 March 2019 whether your proposal has been accepted. The detailed conference programme will be announced on 30 April 2019. To be included in the conference publication, the finished presentations must be submitted by 1 August 2019. For more information, please go to or send us an e-mail on