Posts

Choosing When and How to Say Yes: Tips from a Language Professional

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This week, I had an opportunity to hear Erin Timberman, Coordinator for Parent and Family Engagement at Irvine Unified School District, discuss how we can choose our "best yes" at the OCDE Interpreters and Translators Conference. A very timely presentation considering a major decisions on my plate: whether to accept a new consulting project or not. How much free time do we actually have?As a freelance interpreter, translator, mentor, trainer, consultant, and active contributor to our profession as well as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend, I often feel overextended and overwhelmed. Much to my surprise, Erin started her presentation by leading all participants through an exercise to help us identify how much "free" time we actually have. Her exercise was so simple I could not believe I had not thought of it before. Simply make a list of how much time you spend each day/week on various activities including sleep and work. With only 168 hours in a week, whe…

Specialize or Diversify? Building a Career as an Interpreter/Translator

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I have had an opportunity to learn from Daniel Tamayo on multiple occasions. Those of you who have had the same opportunity know that he advocates for enhancing both our interpreting and translation skills as they are complimentary of each other. He recently spoke at the OCDE 2020 Interpreters and Translators Conference about how instrumental developing both skills has been in weathering the current pandemic. He also elaborated on his career path and how diverse his areas of expertise are, which inspired this entry. Should interpreters and translators specialize or diversify to build a successful career?Daniel Tamayo says that:"We should be generalist before we are specialist." When discussing specialization, most practitioners in our profession see specialization in a couple of different ways: 1. skill based specialization (Are you a community interpreter, a conference interpreter, a video-remote interpreter, a translator, a translation editor, a proof-reader, a post editor…

Independent Contractor Agreements & Language Professionals

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Getting started as a freelance interpreter or translator can be daunting, especially when it comes to the infamous independent contractor or sub-contractor agreements. Although some professional organizations like AIIC (International Association of Conference Interpreters) and ATA (American Translators Association) provide their members with contract templates and information about common clauses, many clients (i.e. Language Service Providers or agencies, Organizations, Institutions, etc.) may provide us their own contract with different clauses. As an interpreter & translator, I will share some of the clauses I pay particular attention to, however, this should not be misconstrued as legal advise and a legal professional should be consulted for legal concerns related to any contract or agreement as well as any questions pertaining to any of the clauses shared in this entry. Payment Terms & CompensationOne of the first clauses I search for in a contract and ensure I completely …

Making Online Training a Positive Learning Experience

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The current situation has pushed many trainers and conference organizers to leap into the remote/online arena. Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to attend many online training events, webinars, and conferences as well as training opportunities specifically designed for trainers and presenters who have not yet taken the plunge. What have I learned? There are a couple of key items that can make your training, presenting, or learning experience more meaningful.  PreparationThe first step to ensuring a positive presenting or learning experience is preparing for the online event. Testing your internet connection, access to the remote platform, and functionality of your headphone/speakers, microphone and camera is key to minimizing any glitches on training day.  Although many of the online conferencing and training tools have browser based access points, some may have limited functionality, I have found that the best presenting or learning experience is achieved by dow…

Communication an Essential Soft Skill for Interpreters and Translators

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This week's issue of Connecting Cultures' Interpreter Development Newsletter included a short piece on a very important reality in our or any service profession: the importance of the experience we provide our clients. We often focus on the hard (or technical) skills required to provide quality service, such as linguistic, interpreting, and translation skills, however, as Winnie Heh always teaches the graduate students she advises at MIIS, our customers' experiences are more often shaped by our soft skills. For better or for worse, the reality of our profession is that we often provide services to monolingual, bilingual or even multilingual individuals who do not fully understand the value we bring or the technical skills required to do what we do. The value of well-developed soft skills is that they help us demonstrate our quality in a language they understand. In my experience, communication is the most essential collection of interrelated soft skills in our profession.C…

4 Steps to a Functional Mentorship for Language Professionals

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Throughout my translation and interpreting career, I have had a number of mentors, both formal and informal who have helped me develop and grow as a professional. Recently, I was approached by an interpreter seeking my mentorship and guidance as she makes a significant transition in her professional journey, and it made me reflect on my personal journey and my best mentorship experiences. Step 1: Research One of the many reasons to seek out a mentor is for functional mentorship or get guidance and direction to acquire a specific skill or accomplish a specific goal. In my experience, as the mentee, it is important that we do some research and have, at least, a general idea of what we want to do and who can help us accomplish it. I do not have any regrets because my professional journey has helped me develop and grow, but had I done some research, my path may have been less bumpy and windy. Early in my career, I was unsure of what direction I wanted to head, I had discovered the translat…

Ethical Decision Making & Language Professionals: An Endless Journey

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A national conversation related to the professionalization of interpreting and translation in education has been developing under the Interpreting and Translation in Education (ITE) Workgroup. One of the committees under this Workgroup is the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Committee. As a volunteer serving on the committee, I started reflecting on my ethical decision making journey and the many codes and standards I observe. I discovered that, in over 10 years of interpreting, my ethical decision making has evolved significantly. What is ethics?Ethics is a set of standards of behavior that tell us how we should act in any of the many situations we may find ourselves in (SCU, 2009). Codes of ethics established specifically for interpreters and translators, usually establish accuracy, confidentiality, and other commonly expected behaviors for all in our profession, as well as domain specific behaviors or practices that are specific to the sector to which we are providing our se…