It seems that the word "retreat" is slowly entering the vocabulary of more and more institutions and organizations, especially those working with terminology accepted in Western Europe. There is also a Romanian word "retragere", which could express the meaning of evading from a stressful environment, from the noise, from the pressing tasks and all kinds of obligations and finding a refuge, where one can discuss leisurely, in a serene environment and where participants are not distracted by other things. We, the translators, have accepted the term “retreat”, because we still have not found its best translation to Romanian.
We were lucky to find such an isolated place, which provided to us the peace and quietness we needed to relax and discuss leisurely. The name of the site is both romantic and English – The Secret Garden. The hostess, Svetlana, has joined our group of translators and made us feel welcome and able to enjoy the wonderful weather and landscape on a summer day. We would have been totally absorbed by the sights and landscape had it not been for the strict, professional attitude of Mrs Nina Vartic - Senior Lecturer at the Academy of Music, Theatre and Fine Arts. Right from early morning, she made us work. We had to comply. A "retreat" means not only relaxation and entertainment, but also some prolific activity in a certain area.
This year our aim was to work at improving the clarity and expressiveness of our speech, one of the main issues here being the Diction. It appeared that most of us had shortcomings as far as the clear pronunciation, putting the accent properly in a sentence are concerned. Even the correct body posture when talking to an audience had to be paid attention to. And it was hard work, too! We had almost no time to walk through the wonderful forest, to admire the flowers neatly cared for by our hostess, to say nothing of using the swing or stretching on the soft and silky grass that grows abundantly around the wonderful guesthouse. It is true that some have “skipped classes” and took a nap on the camping beds placed throughout the courtyard.
However, one should mention that Mrs Vartic took her mission seriously and worked hard to correct some of the deficiencies in our speech. She began the session with several physical exercises attended by all, including family members of those who came "in corpore". Later, breathing exercises followed (by the way, translators should always do them before speaking in a microphone or in front of an audience). And finally, we moved to learning speech with the right intonation, proper accent, distinct voice, etc. I do not know if Mrs Vartic has found any champions among us in terms of correct pronunciation. I suspect that, on the contrary, most of us belong to the category that still has much to do in this respect. As for me, I noticed a champion among those who took part in the training. It was Mihai, Veaceslav’s four years old son. My opinion is justified: when Mrs Vartic made a summary of the exercises carried out during the training session, Mihai performed the exercises in an utterly correct manner, be it breathing, vocal cord exercises or others.
The Retreat has ended with a memorable event. Our colleague, Mariana, a Spanish language translator, decided to celebrate her birthday in our company. And it was a genuine party! With the "Many years ahead!" song, with champagne and inspired toasts! When asked "How did you find us in the forest?” Mariana's husband gave a very nice answer: "A husband must follow his wife anywhere."
We returned to Chisinau at 18.30, as planned. Everyone was happy with the participation in the event. Our guest, Liubomir, a professional photographer who took some of the pictures included in this article, confessed that he had spent a most enjoyable day in our company and within a magnificent site. Nevertheless, I felt some kind of bitterness at the thought that only 24 members of the Association enjoyed the wonderful occasion to be together with their colleagues and to admire nature. We kindly ask our colleagues who participated in the event to share their impressions about the retreat. We also invite colleagues who did not participate, to suggest their views with respect to logistics, choice of the proper time and discussion topics for future events.
And finally, I express my thanks to the Board Members, Diana Sestacovschi and Cristina Umanet for their efforts in organizing the event. Our special appreciation goes to the lecturer, Nina Vartic, who has organised the training session in a creative way and managed to actively engage all those present in activities. And, last but not least, I would like to thank Mrs Elena Bivol for her help in developing the concept of the event and in its implementation. One should not omit extending our appreciation to Nadejda Pojoga, the ATP Moldova Secretary, for the delicious soup which we enjoyed during lunch and also, specifically, for taking care of all the financial matters and for doing all the necessary procurements. I wish all my colleagues a pleasant vacation time and I hope that this article will enhance their interest and desire to participate in such events in the future.
President, Association of Professional Translators of Moldova