The National Capital Area Translators Association held its annual meeting yesterday in Washington, DC. We had our best turnout yet, with a diverse group of language pros in attendance. One of the surviving founders of the group made an appearance, and we had quite a few representing the under-40 age group as well.
Each year, the Programming Committee solicits suggestions for our monthly meet-up. We try to organize presentations that will be helpful to as many local translators and interpreters as possible, from reviews of different CAT tools to talks by seasoned veterans on a specific sector (such as interpreting for the State Department). This year, besides the usual requests for CPAs or lawyers to discuss the nitty-gritty of running a business, there was a lot of talk around mentorship.
Joining your local translator association is your mentorship program, as far as I’m concerned. You get your name on the radar of veteran linguists within a short drive of your home. You are given many opportunities to meet them in person, introduce yourself, and ask as many questions as you like. Meetings are an opportunity for everyone to share everything: computer shortcuts, tricks for new tools, names of local agencies that are scouting, continuing education programs they’ve tried, good ethnic restaurants in the area… You name it, someone will want to talk about it!
There was mixed interest setting up a more formal mentorship program in the region (not to be confused or in competition with the ATA’s peer mentoring program), to match up people by language and/or subject matter for their more specific queries. But really, if you just show up at a couple events in a year, you get so many of your questions answered! Especially in the highly politicized DC area, the translators association is a breath of fresh air. Everyone is just so helpful!
In case you aren’t convinced yet, here are a few more benefits to joining your local translator association:
- getting your name in a region-specific professional directory
- meeting local agency representatives and individuals that hire translators
- learning about the variety of jobs related to translation or interpreting that go beyond freelance opportunities
- figuring out the local market’s subject demand and price threshold
- hearing others’ experiences with local hiring and contracting practices
- interacting with a variety of people face-to-face
Well? Are you thinking about joining yet?
What other benefits have you enjoyed from association membership? Chime in with your comments below!