Fond farewells: outgoing board members

02/19/2023 02:06 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

In January of 2023, NOTIS bid a fond farewell —or, more accurately, a “see you later”— to three members of our Board of Directors (see their farewell notes below!): 

Since joining the Board in 2021, Zakiya Hanafi (an Italian and French to English translator and interpreter) has served as a member of the Scholarship and Publications Committees and as chair of the Marketing & Communications team. With a passionate, can-do attitude, Zakiya has promoted and organized a number of new initiatives at NOTIS, the effects of which we will celebrate for years to come.

Tarja Sahlstén (a localization specialist and audiovisual and literary translator from German, English, and Italian to Finnish) joined the board in 2021 and has served on the Translation Division and Social Events Committee. Tarja brought subtitling to our events calendar and good-humored levity to all of our gatherings.

Pinar Mertan (a Turkish <> English medical and court interpreter) has been an active member of the Board of Directors since 2019; she has served as chair of both the Scholarship and Social Events Committees and co-chair of the Legal Division. With her characteristic kindness and constant concern for others, Pinar has certainly left her mark on our society. 

While we are sad to see Pinar, Tarja, and Zakiya leave the board, we’re grateful for the good work they’ve done for our NOTIS and our community. We look forward to seeing what they do next, and we expect to cross paths again soon!

In their own words 

Zakiya Hanafi: 

It’s been a thrilling two years for me on the NOTIS Board of Directors. It all began with me sticking up my hand at the first meeting I attended as a new member in January 2021. “Why don’t we hire a marketing consultant to help us define our needs and conduct a job search for someone to stay on as our social media specialist?” 

Little did I know that my suggestion would be welcomed and supported by my fellow members, leading to heaps of professional satisfaction and development as the Chair of the NOTIS Marketing Committee. 

It’s been a wonderful experience, filled with learning opportunities and teamwork that I could never have had as an inveterate solo freelancer. (I’d like to encourage any of our NOTIS members with good ideas to bring them forward to the Board: you never know what will come of them!)

My other greatest satisfaction: working with Pinar Mertan on the Scholarship Committee. It is a rare privilege to be able to give away money to deserving professionals while enjoying the company of a remarkable colleague.

By the way, this may be goodbye to the Board, but I don’t plan on disappearing! I will continue to serve as a volunteer on the NOTIS Marketing and Publications Committees.

Tarja Sahlsten:

I’m one of those lucky people who are doing what they really love: translation. Every day I get to learn new things and words, tackle challenges and enjoy successes, talk to amazing colleagues, and bug my husband about Americanisms

I’ve been lucky enough to have translated everything from classic Italian movies about big family dinners, a film about Snow White and the seven dwarfs, a German series about a Gasthaus up in the mountains, famous American sitcoms about Friends ;), a guide to making the best tea in the world, a wild story about hitchhiking across the U.S, comic books about amazing women, and everything in between. If I had to pick what I have most enjoyed, I would have to say: the mix! Every day is different, every job is different.

“The mix” is something I have found in NOTIS as well: people from different backgrounds and countries working with different languages in different fields. Court and medical interpreters, localizers, subtitlers, literary translators and more — all working together for a common goal. I genuinely enjoyed my 2 years on the board. I got to know amazing people and learnt so much about all the different jobs language professionals can have in such a big country. (It is different in a small country like Finland.)

I encourage everyone to join NOTIS  — for the mix, comradery, and common goal. All the wonderful meetings and workshops (etc.) are a priceless way to get out of your translator’s cave and meet people face-to-face. Over time, it might just creep on you that you’d like to make a bigger difference and join the board. I highly recommend it!

What is next for me? More travel and hitting the road — literally. We bought an RV, and I am getting to know my new home country better — and translating as we go! See you somewhere some time, dear colleagues. FAREWELL AND THANK YOU, NOTIS!

Pinar Mertan

While working in Turkey as an attorney, I registered as a sworn translator too and quickly realized that I loved translating documents as well as preparing them. After moving to Washington and seeing that there were very few Turkish interpreters in the area, I decided to become a credentialed interpreter. Then, I joined the NOTIS Board! This was one of the best decisions of my life. 

As an interpreter, I love the fulfillment I feel after each assignment. Being able to connect individuals with my language skills and the appreciation I receive from my clients are my biggest rewards. There is no other profession where a person can work in such a diverse range of fields. An interpreter can work for a court, a clinic, a school, a company, or an institution—fulfilling all sorts of communication needs. This may be an attorney-client meeting, a medical operation, a diplomatic summit, a parent-teacher conference, a seminar, or a book translation; the possibilities are endless. I love this surprise aspect of the job. It enables us to improve our skills and learn many things. We create our unique style in time. It is like writing a book; it carries our signature. We all leave our own marks in people's lives, however small they may be.

I take pride in having served the translation and interpreting community alongside NOTIS’s  wonderful board members for two terms, as chair, co-chair, and member of different committees. I am honored to be a colleague of such dedicated professionals. I thank each one of them, but I have to name a few: Shelley Fairweather-Vega and Laura Friend for being excellent presidents, Luisa Gracia Camon and Maria Farmer for their warm friendship, and Yasemin Alptekin, for being my big sister and mentor.

With much gratitude and respect, 
Pinar Mertan

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