There is a very important theme I find rarely mentioned. This is, talking in general, serious lack of professional associations, which are an important part of the civil society in many developed countries, in Russia. Yes there are trade unions, but there is no need to say they are not quite what I am talking about. I am talking about organisations like RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) or ATA (American Translators Association) or ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting, UK). These are organisations of professionals protecting their rights, membership in those is very important for potential clients and appreciated by those who are members.
There were attempts to set these orgs up, for example with medical profession, in Russia. But these were done either top-down or for the aim of promotion of a certain product and were not, to my knowledge, successful in any way. There is experience of establishing of one of these for translators and interpreters in Ekaterinburg, Russia. The organisation, however, evolved into being an agency, very good and not greedy, I love them. This presents us with a conflict of interests. A professional association, in my view, cannot be a work providing org. ITI in London is not. Nor is RIBA. It is also my belief that organisations like these can only be built bottom-up, not top-down, so I think and correct me if I’m wrong, such an organisation should be established on a town or a region level at the most (Sverdlovsk region of which Ekaterinburg (1.5 million population) is the centre, has population of about 4 million).
We are of course presented with the problem of financing this. In the West there is usually a wealthy donor, the trust is set up and then the org works and gains experience. There is no such option for starting work here I don'’ think as philanthropy in Russia is rather weak.
As the result of all the above the situation for us translators is rather bad on the whole. No respect to the profession. People working at the rate of $1 per 2000 characters (much less than half a cent per word). Hard to work in the sphere for young, though talented people.
So, what I am writing all this for? To start up the discussion on the topic. I, with the support of that ex-association now agency, have the idea and desire to work on setting up a professional translators association, an independent professional body, in Ekaterinburg, Sverdlovsk region, Russia.
Thus I would very much like to hear of all ideas regarding the matter, any experience of creating such organisations. I’d like to hear of positive as well as negative experiences, ideas for the possible ways of financing this and networking with other organisations.
How could such an organisation gain weight, develop its image, well, in the beginning that is. High professional standards should sustain this when the time passes…
How do we convince translators in that it is beneficial to join/get accredited? What do you think such an organisation can give them?
How do you convince potential users/clients that it is good to use translators certified by an independent body? What do you think such an organisation can give them?
I would like to hear from all of you people who chose this hard and wonderful way to earn a living. There will be a social meeting, a pow-wow if you will, in Ekaterinburg, where we expect up to 60-70 of us to be. It’s just a gathering for a drink but I would like to hear from all about how I could use this gathering to start the discussion. How do you think I should approach the subject with them? I do believe that the participation of the target group from the start is crucial, but also aware that it should be guided.
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