Happy 2018! It is often hard to believe another year has come and gone, yet here we are two full months into the new year already. For NOTIS, the new year meant growth for our Board of Directors, as we welcomed five new members (read about them here: Board of Directors). As a Board of twelve, we all met together for the first time in January to get to know one another, organize, and discuss fresh ideas on how to best serve the translation and interpretation community.
I left our first meeting feeling inspired to be a part of such a dynamic group of linguists and invigorated to not only make the most out of my experience on the Board, but also to better myself as a translator. As fellow new Board member, Laura Friend, and I carpooled together back to Kitsap, the hour-long drive quickly passed as we excitedly reflected on the meeting and our own experiences in the translation industry. I shared how intimidated I am by the prospect of taking a certification exam. Laura encouraged me to pursue practice tests and to build my confidence through preparation, rather than just feeling like I needed to jump in and sign up for the next exam. Her reassurance, along with the support of our stimulating NOTIS organization, has motivated me to make this year my year of certification preparation.
Whether you are just starting out on your translation career or you are a seasoned interpreter, the beginning of a new year is the perfect time for all of us to reflect on work habits we may want to change, or ways in which we can improve professionally. So, take this month to brainstorm, dream, strategize, prepare, and set a new goal for yourself: maybe it is something you have been putting off for a while, or maybe you are ready to reach for new heights in your career!
Certification can benefit all linguists, translators and interpreters alike, as a proof of knowledge, skills, and professionalism. In addition to ATA certification, other organizations offer certifications for medical interpreters, and some states administer certifications for translators and court interpreters. Begin by researching which option best suits your professional needs, verify that you are able to meet all educational or other prerequisites, and start working on acing those practice tests.
In addition to certification, having a higher education in translation and interpretation, your learned languages, or your areas of specialization, will enhance your credibility as a linguist and give you confidence as an expert in the field. Translation and Interpreting degrees, which are widely available overseas, are becoming more prevalent in the States, and options for on-site or online learning are continually increasing. If you have been considering pursuing more education, start researching programs or courses that best fit your professional aspirations. If you already plan on enrolling in a translation or interpretation program for the 2018-2019 academic year, apply for a NOTIS scholarship to help cover the cost of tuition and books.
Whether it is a new computer aided translation (CAT) tool, or diving into voice recognition software, such as Dragon, integrating technology into your work flow can make translating more efficient; however, the learning curve is quite the opposite. If you already own a program that you avoid using or if is time to invest in a new license, make your goal this year to commit extra time to learning and gaining proficiency. You could start by participating in an online training session, but mostly it just takes patience and practice with trial and error before you are able to fully incorporate and appreciate any new software. If you are unfamiliar with CAT tools, translation memory software is designed to improve productivity as it saves and recalls segments of a linguist’s previously translated texts for future projects. SDL Trados and memoQ are two of the most trusted brands, and if you are a Mac user like myself, Wordfast is an easy choice.
If you have a website or blog, of if you want to create one, make it your mission this year to update your credentials, write a post more frequently, or design a page to attract more business. You need not be an expert in HTML to create an attractive and professional page, and hopefully your desktop publishing skills will improve in the process as well. Be sure to update your NOTIS profile with your new website link when you are finished.
We may be biased, but this is probably the most exciting professional goal you could set for yourself this year. Our chosen career can often be lonely, so getting involved with other likeminded souls is the best way to counteract that drawback. Check out our events page to register and attend an event focusing on your specialization or language pair, or if you live too far away from Seattle, host your own coffee meet-up! If you want to dive even deeper, join a committee and volunteer your time with us. We would love to meet you, and new friends and networking opportunities certainly await.
- Attend the ATA Conference
This year the ATA 59th Annual Conference will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 24-27, 2018. Even though the official details have not been released yet, attending the conference can be a financial and logistical strain, so planning to attend sooner rather than later is recommended. This way, you can set financial goals to save up for it throughout the year. Not to mention, once they announce the location, the conference hotel will book up quickly, and you will want to reserve your room right away. If you plan properly, though, it will be well worth it. The conference is the best place to mingle with fellow linguists, network with potential employers, and learn new skillsets. You will leave feeling rejuvenated to take on your next big translation project and grateful to be part of such a diverse, intelligent, and invigorating community. If you will be a first-time attendee, be sure to apply for the NOTIS scholarship that covers the registration fee and provides a travel stipend.
What is your new goal for 2018, and how are you planning on achieving it? Let us know in the comments below, on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Good luck!