Turning into a better and more successful interpreter in the new year.
January 6, 2014 § 5 Comments
2013 was a great year for many of us. Quite a few of you developed professionally and became better at what you do. I congratulate you for that important achievement; unfortunately, competitors are still out there, languages are still changing, technology continues to improve, and clients (agencies or direct corporations) are willing to pay for what they need but are looking for the best service at the best possible price. The question is: How do we adapt to reality, keep up with technology, and improve our service? The answer is complex and it includes many different issues that have to be addressed. Today we will concentrate on one of them: Professional development.
It is practically impossible to beat the competition, command a high professional fee, and have a satisfied client who does not want to have anything to do with any other interpreter but you, unless you can deliver quality interpretation and state-of-the-art technology. In other words we need to be better interpreters. We need to study, we have to practice our craft, we should have a peer support network (those colleagues you call when in doubt about a term, a client or grammar) and we need to attend professional conferences.
I personally find immense value in professional conferences because you learn from the workshops and presentations, you network with colleagues and friends, and you find out what is happening out there in the very tough world of interpretation. Fortunately there are many professional conferences all year long and all over the world. Fortunately (for many of us) attending a professional conference is tax deductible in our respective countries. Unfortunately there are so many attractive conferences and we have to pick and choose where to go. I understand that some of you may decide to attend one conference per year or maybe your policy is to go to conferences that are offered near your home base. I also know that many of you have professional agendas that may keep you from attending a particular event even if you wanted to be there. I applaud all organizations and individuals who put together a conference. I salute all presenters and support staff that makes a conference possible, and I wish I could attend them all.
Because this is impossible, I decided to share with all of you the 2014 conferences that I am determined to attend:
The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada (May 16-18) Although I am still undecided about going to Istanbul Turkey in March with InterpretAmerica because of scheduling reasons, I am determined to be in Las Vegas in May for the largest judiciary and legal interpreter and translator gathering anywhere in the world. This conference lets me have an accurate idea of the changes in this area that is so important for our profession in the United States. It is a unique event because everybody shares the same field and you get to see and network with colleagues that do not attend other non-court interpreting conferences.
The International Federation of Translators (FIT) Conference in Berlin, Germany (August 4-6). This is an event that cannot be missed because it does not happen every year, because it attracts a different set of colleagues, and because it has a more European flavor than the other huge event in our profession: The ATA conference. Presentations are usually different from other conferences because of the topics that are discussed and the presenters’ style, and in my opinion it gives you a better picture of the European and Asian market than any other event.
The International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI) Annual Conference in Athens, Greece (September 20-21). I go to this conference because it is IAPTI. Because it is about us, the interpreters and translators! This conference, and this organization for that matter, presents a unique point of view of our profession that I consider priceless. It is the only international conference of this size where there are no corporate sponsors. All you see is translators and interpreters like you. Some of the results of this innovative approach are that the conference attracts a very important group of colleagues that stay away from other conferences because they are bothered by the corporate presence. This is the conference to attend if you want to learn how to deal with agencies, corporate clients and governments because the absence of all those other players fosters this dialogue. You can attend the presentations and workshops knowing that no presenter is there to sell you anything and that is fun to have at least once a year.
American Translators Association (ATA) Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois (November 5-8). This is the “mother” of all conferences. If you have attended one you know what I am talking about; if you have not, be prepared to be among an overwhelming number of colleagues from all over the world who gather once a year to share experiences, attend workshops and presentations, do networking, buy books, dictionaries, software, hardware, and even apply for a job as an interpreter or translator with one of the many government and private sector agencies and corporations that also attend the event. This is the conference that all language professionals have to attend at least once during their lifetime. As an added bonus, the conference will be held in beautiful breath-taking Chicago with all of its architecture and big city life.
I know the choice is difficult, and some of you may have reservations about professional gatherings like the ones I covered above. Remember, the world of interpretation is more competitive every day and you will need an edge to beat the competition. That advantage might be what you learned at one of these conferences, or whom you met while at the convention. Please kindly share your thoughts and let us know what local, national or international conference or conferences you plan to attend in 2014.
[…] Dear colleagues: 2013 was a great year for many of us. Quite a few of you developed professionally and became better at what you do. I congratulate you for that important achievement; unfortunately… […]
I enjoy reading your blog thank you. I am a court interpreter for the Italian language since 2003 your comments and experiences are very similar to mine if I had the volume of work and professional experience as yours, in other words you make this job less isolated and disconnected and you inspire me each time I read your well written and concise blog. I would like to know what kind of preparation I need to do and reading before attending the conference itself so to take fully advantage of the opportunity and economic effort. I would like to attend the NAJIT . Also, because like you point out we as interpreters freelance need to keep our skills honed and sharp, I would like to know what you recommend for a in person or online course in consecutive and simultaneous practice exercise. What do you think of La Mora? THANK YOU. Grazie, Carmen
Carmen, thank you for your comments. To get the most from a conference I suggest you get the program on line as soon as it is available so you can pick the presentations you are going to attend. This will let you prepare for the specific sessions you selected. You can get in person training by attending the full-day pre-conference workshops that big events such as NAJIT and ATA offer right before their annual conference. There are also some very good workshops that are constantly offered all over the United States. I suggest you check on my coming workshops by visiting my blog or my website (www.rpstranslations.com) We update the schedule every time a course is added to my calendar. There are very good webinars that some professional associations sponsor during the year. I would look at the ones offered by ATA and IAPTI. Agustín De La Mora is a very good, experienced, and highly respected trainer.
Thank you! This was helpful, keep up your wonderful ‘connecting’ job!! Happy new year to you too!
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