Role and importance of translation associations in 2016
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:15
Member
Italian to English
Jul 16, 2016

This is an issue I've been reflecting on for a while, and was wondering what other translators'opinions are on the matter. With the burgeoning of online resources and communities, how important are translators'associations nowadays, apart from giving you a few letters to put after your name? Do you think their importance has increased, or have they become secondary to other forms of online promotion and association?

Interested to hear your thoughts!


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Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:15
German to English
I find mine valuable Jul 16, 2016

I am a member in two: the ATA and the BDÜ (the largest German association).

To keep my ATA certification, I have to remain a member. I've been certified for 4 years and find that while I don't get a huge amount of traffic from the ATA directory, I get enough to pay for membership at least a couple times over.

I live in Germany, and my BDÜ membership gives me reduced rates for lots of really good continuing education seminars. I also have access to specialized lawyers should I have the need, get special group rates on professional indemnity and disability insurance, etc. So while I don't know that I've gotten any steady clients through the BDÜ, the money I save on insurance and CE seminars probably about pays for my membership (I've never done the math).

For me, they both make financial sense. I believe they also serve as an indication to potential clients that I am a professional, not just someone who speaks two languages and thinks they want to give translation a try. Something drastic would have to happen for me to give up either of those memberships.


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Helle Gylling  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:15
Member (2013)
English to Danish
+ ...
Happy with ATA and Proz.com Jul 16, 2016

I am a member of the ATA and like Kelly said, I don't get a lot of business by being listed, but the agencies that do contact me, provide me with work that more than covers the annual fee. I also feel it adds a professional touch that I wouldn't want to be without.

The majority of agencies that contact me find me on Proz.com and while I love Proz.com for many reasons, it doesn't carry the same "weight" as being associated with the ATA does.

I have found excellent training in both places and plan to keep both memberships.

Helle


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 21:15
German to English
+ ...
The ATIO is important for me in Canada Jul 17, 2016

Over here many types of translations require being certified by a certified translator, and this has a certain legal status. End clients seek me out specifically because I am certified, and then also because I have proven myself reliable and looking out for their interests - so there's a word of mouth factor - but certification plays a big role. Agencies handling requests for certified translations have to use certified translators. It goes beyond just material for the government: universities, law firms, and a lot of companies over here prefer to see translations done by certified translators, or even insist on it. The alternative is "notarized" and that is an extra expense.

Considering the question:
With the burgeoning of online resources and communities, how important are translators'associations nowadays, apart from giving you a few letters to put after your name? Do you think their importance has increased, or have they become secondary to other forms of online promotion and association?

I can't think of any communities or on-line resources giving me what I have just outlined - it's apples and oranges, but then I don't know what kinds of things you are thinking of that associations (elsewhere?) have traditionally given. Communities give me a place to chat with colleagues, find out what is going on in the translation world at large, and are a resource for things like terminology and connecting with experts in related fields. My professional association never really played that role for me.

In regards to on-line promotion - pretty well everything that I have seen has seemed to be primarily for the benefit of the middleman who wants to make money out of translators. I see platforms and bidding and whatnot, with a general impression that rates are as much as 30% or even less than what I see in professional translation. The latest trend that's under hefty discussion right now is this new platform which lets clients "compare" according to number of TMs, where anyone who doesn't use those tools is completely out of the running. Speaking personally, that doesn't give me anything, and it doesn't affect the role that my association plays.


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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 22:15
Romanian to English
+ ...
Member ATA & NAJIT Jul 17, 2016

I have been a member of ATA for many years and I received many jobs from agencies that mentioned that they got my name from the ATA list.


Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about NAJIT. Actually, I think that it should be named NASJIT, since, for good reasons, it caters mostly to Spanish interpreters. At the last NAJIT Conference în San Antonio, I found out that there are over 35,000 Spanish interpreters in the USA and .... 3,500 for the other languages.

Although I am active on Proz, I am not a member and never bid or received a job.


Lee


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:15
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
UK associations Jul 18, 2016

I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and a Member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (FCIoL, MITI). These are the main professional organizations in the UK. I have had quite a few jobs through the ITI and one or two through the CIoL. I am happy to continue membership of both.

[Edited at 2016-07-18 07:27 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
ITI Jul 18, 2016

I always thought the ITI an utter irrelevance. If you don't test or monitor members, you cannot market them as good or better, and I object to that on principle.

Not being a member has never held me back.

All a bit like ProZ!!


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:15
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
ITI Jul 18, 2016

The ITI was founded on the basis of the Translators' Guild, a dependent branch of the IoL which objected to being dependent. I was a founder member of ITI, having belonged to the Translators' Guild, for which I did have to pass an examination. I didn't know the present entry requirements.

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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:15
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
ITI Jul 18, 2016

Chris S wrote:

I always thought the ITI an utter irrelevance. If you don't test or monitor members, you cannot market them as good or better, and I object to that on principle.

Not being a member has never held me back.

All a bit like ProZ!!


You do have to pass an exam and fulfil certain criteria to be a full member of the ITI and use the letters MITI after your name.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:15
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I would certainly consider it Jul 18, 2016

I wouldn't necessarily expect a real financial ROI - and would probably never know whether I'd achieved it or not - but I feel it would be worthwhile.

However, I haven't found one that's sufficiently relevant to me. I live in Spain but don't work in Spanish and any training course in Spanish would go way over my head. But the UK and French ones aren't relevant either as they are very local. The SFT didn't even seem much use when I lived in the south of France as everything was geared to Paris. I'd very much like to join one for proofreaders and/or editors and am toying with that idea. But even then they seem to expect all English editors to live in one or other of the English-speaking countries. The world isn't really all that small yet.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 08:45
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
ATA is utterly useless to me Jul 18, 2016

As a Hindi translator, the much touted ATA is completely useless to me (as are its equivalents in UK, Canada, Australia, etc), as it has no certification for Hindi translators. I can become a non-certified member, but that is hardly charming, as any tom dick or harry without an iota of translation abilities or Hindi knowledge could do that too, so it does not provide any differentiating value for me.

My translation business is wholly propped up by membership to non-formal translation associations like proz.com.


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:15
Portuguese to English
+ ...
The ITI exam is quite irrelevant Jul 18, 2016

as it does not lead to any recognised qualification. The ITI exam is basically an in-house test, but this has already been discussed here so many times.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I am a Chartered Linguist Jul 19, 2016

... and to maintain that status, I have to state that I have done some active CPU during the last year.

It is an addition to being a Member of the CIoL, and that does require approved qualifications. Many members have the Dip. Trans., but it is not often set in my language pair, so my postgraduate diploma was accepted instead. My diploma, and I believe also the Dip. Trans. are highly relevant qualifications.

I have been a member for a good few years now, so the CL status is to make sure I don't simply rest on my laurels.
Reading relevant books and private study also count as CPU, so the committee has to take my word for some of it, but I would be cheating myself as much as anyone else if I made exaggerated claims.

I am no longer a member of the Communication and Language Professionals in Denmark, as I have passed the age limit for the Trade Union benefits, and the subscription is quite considerable, but I have benefited a lot from their training courses etc. and can still attend if I want to. There was no formal exam. required for membership, but members are required to be employed or qualified for employment with languages, so it is not open to everyone.

As I did not have the required MA to be State Authorized in Denmark, I felt the need for some credentials.

But if professional associations are not relevant, one could ask, why not? They are what the members make them, and there never seem to be too many willing to take an active part in committee work, organization etc.
My thanks to those who do in teh associations I have benefited from.


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:15
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Hear, hear! Jul 19, 2016



But if professional associations are not relevant, one could ask, why not? They are what the members make them, and there never seem to be too many willing to take an active part in committee work, organization etc.
My thanks to those who do in teh associations I have benefited from.



It seems many colleagues mistakenly think that professional associations exist only to ''find'' them clients...


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Representing the interests of linguists Jul 19, 2016

As a separate point, translation associations can and should represent linguists (translators, interpreters, researchers, teachers, whoever) collectively to the general public and to politicians and decision makers. Here the Communication and Language Professionals in Denmark make considerable efforts and play a very important role.

Translators tend to be invisible - a successful translation doesn't read like a translation, and especially in some English-speaking countries, many people have no idea what our work involves. Education and training, working conditions for interpreters and rates of pay are all areas the associations can influence.

When so many in the profession are isolated freelancers, they can do very little individually, but can stand together to make a difference.
Again, if the associations are not relevant and important, why not? But to be fair, I know many people do work hard to make them relevant, at least in the Scandinavian countries, the UK and Germany.


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