How useful is an ITI or IOL membership?
Thread poster: David Mossop

David Mossop  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
Member (2010)
German to English
Jan 18, 2011

Dear All,

After three and a half years of working as a translator (first in-house, now freelance), I want to try and move my translation career on to the next level and am currently assessing my options for doing so. Can anyone tell me of their experiences in gaining membership (either basic or full) of the Institute of Translators and Interpreters / Institute of Linguists, and whether their membership has brought them tangible benefits? Is one institute any better than the other?

And a slightly tangential question: with a BA in German and English (which, thanks to the arcane rules of my former university, I can convert into an MA come autumn) and three and half years' professional experience, would there be any benefit in getting the IoL diploma in translation at this stage in my career? Or a translation MA for that matter?

Apologies for the long post, and if any of these questions have been covered previously - I did carry out a search, but couldn't find anything relevant. And many thanks in advance for any help.

Best wishes,

David Mossop


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
French to English
+ ...
brief answers Jan 18, 2011

David Mossop wrote:

And a slightly tangential question: with a BA in German and English (which, thanks to the arcane rules of my former university, I can convert into an MA come autumn)...


No time to address your questions fully at present (I'm sure I and others have posted at length about this before), but I just wanted to address the above; the Oxford MA isn't a "real" MA and it's probably not a good idea to pass it off as one. That's why we have to put MA (Oxon.) after our names and not just MA.

I did the same BA as you, without the English, and found further training in translation immensely useful later on, but I hadn't worked in the industry before undergoing training.

You could probably get full IoL membership straight away, and would have to take another exam before being admitted to ITI membership. In my opinion the relative usefulness of the two is analagous to the relative difficulty of obtaining them...


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David Mossop  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
Member (2010)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jan 18, 2011

Dear Angela,

Thanks for the speedy reply. I will have another search for previous postings on this topic.

Best wishes,

David


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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Isn't it the other way round? Jan 18, 2011

Angela Dickson wrote:

You could probably get full IoL membership straight away, and would have to take another exam before being admitted to ITI membership. In my opinion the relative usefulness of the two is analagous to the relative difficulty of obtaining them...


From memory when I got membership of the CIoL a requirement was that you had passed their Dip. Trans. whereas I don't remember any similar requirement for ITI membership. I've certainly had clients waiving the requirement for test translations on the basis that I'm CIoL member.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
French to English
+ ...
ITI/IoL Jan 18, 2011

Lisa Simpson wrote:

Angela Dickson wrote:

You could probably get full IoL membership straight away, and would have to take another exam before being admitted to ITI membership. In my opinion the relative usefulness of the two is analagous to the relative difficulty of obtaining them...


From memory when I got membership of the CIoL a requirement was that you had passed their Dip. Trans. whereas I don't remember any similar requirement for ITI membership. I've certainly had clients waiving the requirement for test translations on the basis that I'm CIoL member.


No, I do maintain, with reason I believe, that ITI membership is harder to get. You can apply for MITI status if you only have an undergraduate degree, but you have to pass their own membership tests - a highly specialised exam or an assessment of work (the latter only if you have 5+ years of experience).

There are no additional requirements for IoL membership once you have a postgraduate qualification and just one year of experience.


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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
ITI membership Jan 18, 2011

When I was an outsourcer I saw it as a reasonable guarantee that the translator was competent. I have also done assessments of applications for ITI membership in the past and I consider the standards pretty high.

It does take quite a long time to become a full member, and associate membership is also worthwhile, while working towards becoming a full member.

It is a valuable qualification to have and the institute is a useful source of information and support.


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
French to English
+ ...
Quality guide Jan 18, 2011

Gilla Evans wrote:

When I was an outsourcer I saw it as a reasonable guarantee that the translator was competent. I have also done assessments of applications for ITI membership in the past and I consider the standards pretty high.



I agree wholeheartedly with Angela and Gilla. I worked in-house for 5 years and freelance for a further 19 years before I eventually got round to becoming an associate member, and soon after a qualified member of the ITI - and I wish I'd done it sooner. Not because I didn't have enough work beforehand, because I did, but because it is a very valuable source of support and you can actually justify your professional status.

I'm well aware that there are some excellent translators out there who are not members of the ITI, but as an outsourcer I'm more inclined to opt for someone with ITI accreditation if I don't know anything else about them.

Having translated for so long, I opted for the assessment route when it came to applying for qualified membership and even finding suitable pieces for assessment was a task and a half because of client confidentiality, suitable text, length, no diagrams/equations, etc. To become an associate I think you have to submit a couple of references - one character and one professional, and evidence of a professional interest in translating and/or interpreting. As an associate member you'll be able to join the various ITI e-groups which are a valuable source of information and exchanges. You'll also be eligible for discounted professional indemnity insurance, which is well worth having.

In terms of work contacts via the ITI directory, I would say I've received quite a few approaches via the ITI since becoming qualified, but I've actually had far more valuable contacts over the years from being a member of ProZ - that's definitely down to my specialisms and agencies contacting me rather than applying for advertised jobs.

Good luck in any event!

Best wishes,

Claire


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David Mossop  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
Member (2010)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again Jan 18, 2011

Hello all,

Thanks for your very helpful responses. It does then seem well worth the effort of getting a membership with either/both institute(s).

Having investigated the application process for both the IOL and the ITI, it seems that the IOL require one to sit an exam, while the ITI require proof that one has translated at least 750,000 words. Both require at least two references as well.

I'm still not sure which institute I'll apply to, but I shall certainly try with one of them in any case, if not both.

Happy translating, and best wishes,

David


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
How... Jan 18, 2011

David Mossop wrote:
...while the ITI require proof that one has translated at least 750,000 words.


How would one prove that?


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
French to English
+ ...
Word count Jan 18, 2011

I wonder if you're looking at out-of-date application requirements? The ITI used to require that you translated a certain number of words per year, which is one of the reasons I didn't apply earlier, as I worked part-time when my children were younger. Looking at the documents I was sent a couple of years ago when I applied for qualified membership, the stipulation was that you must have translated part-time for 5 years or full-time for 3 years, but no word counts are specified on the application checklist. However, they do ask you to provide an overview of the volume of work you've completed over the past 3-5 years, showing word counts for each language combination. I seem to remember that took a very long time to do, so if you are thinking of applying, it might be worth investing in something like TO3000 now to make this bit a little easier. You could always apply for associate membership in the meantime. I'd kept my records on an old Works database since starting out, but it wasn't particularly easy to extract the relevant information. Fascinating when I'd done so, however: my total came to 2.25 million over the 5-year period, which is quite something.

[Edited at 2011-01-18 20:57 GMT]


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
Member (2004)
English to Italian
I can confirm... Jan 18, 2011

Claire Cox wrote:

I wonder if you're looking at out-of-date application requirements? The ITI used to require that you translated a certain number of words per year, which is one of the reasons I didn't apply earlier, as I worked part-time when my children were younger. Looking at the documents I was sent a couple of years ago when I applied for qualified membership, the stipulation was that you must have translated part-time for 5 years or full-time for 3 years, but no word counts are specified on the application checklist. However, they do ask you to provide an overview of the volume of work you've completed over the past 3-5 years, showing word counts for each language combination. I seem to remember that took a very long time to do, so if you are thinking of applying, it might be worth investing in something like TO3000 now to make this bit a little easier. You could always apply for associate membership in the meantime. I'd kept my records on an old Works database since starting out, but it wasn't particularly easy to extract the relevant information. Fascinating when I'd done so, however: my total came to 2.25 million over the 5-year period, which is quite something.

[Edited at 2011-01-18 20:57 GMT]


ITI membership is the most valuable one and it's fairly strict. IoL is OK, but not as strict. I would choose an ITI member on anyone, given equal qualifications. Maybe it's a British thing, but I know ITI inside out and I trust it. Having said that, it's not a guarantee.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
French to English
+ ...
?? Jan 19, 2011

David Mossop wrote:

it seems that the IOL require one to sit an exam


Um, no they don't. Unless my knowledge is out of date? When I joined, they required an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject AND three years of experience, or a postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject AND one year of experience. The IoL's own diploma counts as a postgraduate qualification but is by no means the only option.


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David Mossop  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
Member (2010)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
I'll ask Jan 19, 2011

Angela Dickson wrote:

David Mossop wrote:

it seems that the IOL require one to sit an exam


Um, no they don't. Unless my knowledge is out of date? When I joined, they required an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject AND three years of experience, or a postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject AND one year of experience. The IoL's own diploma counts as a postgraduate qualification but is by no means the only option.


They ask for test scores, but maybe these are not really required - I'll write and ask. Thanks to everyone for your opinions and feedback.


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philgoddard
United States
German to English
+ ...
. Jan 19, 2011

Angela Dickson wrote:

David Mossop wrote:

And a slightly tangential question: with a BA in German and English (which, thanks to the arcane rules of my former university, I can convert into an MA come autumn)...


No time to address your questions fully at present (I'm sure I and others have posted at length about this before), but I just wanted to address the above; the Oxford MA isn't a "real" MA and it's probably not a good idea to pass it off as one. That's why we have to put MA (Oxon.) after our names and not just MA.


I quite agree - Oxbridge MAs are a fraud and it's time the system was changed. I have one, but I always hesitate to put the letters after my name.

I'm a member of the ITI, and it's still my main source of new customers. I highly recommend joining.


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:16
French to English
+ ...
agree Jan 20, 2011

philgoddard wrote:

Angela Dickson wrote:

David Mossop wrote:

And a slightly tangential question: with a BA in German and English (which, thanks to the arcane rules of my former university, I can convert into an MA come autumn)...


No time to address your questions fully at present (I'm sure I and others have posted at length about this before), but I just wanted to address the above; the Oxford MA isn't a "real" MA and it's probably not a good idea to pass it off as one. That's why we have to put MA (Oxon.) after our names and not just MA.


I quite agree - Oxbridge MAs are a fraud and it's time the system was changed. I have one, but I always hesitate to put the letters after my name.


I agree that the system needs changing. Thing is, once you've got the MA you're not technically allowed to describe yourself as BA. I went so far as to get a "proper" MA just to be safe


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