“So I’ve got my interpreting degree – now what?”

If you follow the Diaries on Facebook and Twitter, it’s likely you will already know what I am going to discuss today. Readers who follow my blog through a subscription or feed only, or who are not overly active on the social networks, might be wondering why I’ve suddenly decided to leapfrog over the remaining training-related issues and start in on the topic of market entry for graduates. Let me assure you, there is method to my apparent madness.

I’m doing this because there is an event coming up which I believe will be of great interest to the Diaries’ readers, many of whom are either aspiring interpreters or graduates starting out in the profession. I’m referring to the upcoming session of the Interpreter Journal Club that will focus on advice to newly graduated interpreters.

If you haven’t yet heard of the Interpreter Journal Club, let me explain that it is a global initiative bringing together interpreters of all stripes to talk about the issues that affect us. This live (i.e. real-time) chat takes places on a fortnightly basis, and is run on Twitter, the technology par excellence for facilitating global conversation. The chat, which is identified on Twitter using the hashtag #IntJC, has been running since September, with sessions held on alternate Saturdays, and has already developed a loyal following among the global online interpreting community – although there is always room for more participants!

Practical considerations

Anyone who has ever asked themselves the question in my title should seriously consider participating in this upcoming chat on the topic. The session, which is the sixth in the #IntJC series, will be held this coming Saturday, November 19, at 10 pm Tokyo time (look up your local time here). You don’t have to be social media-savvy to join in. It requires taking only a few simple steps:

1)      Read the article that has been chosen for the session.

2)      Take at look at the proposed discussion points (and prepare some replies of your own if you like).

3)      Set an alarm to remind you when the chat is about to begin.

4)      At the designated time, get online (via a PC or smartphone) and get chatting!

If you are already registered on Twitter, then participating in the chat is as easy as logging in at the right time and adding #IntJC to your tweets so they enter the stream. You can also sign in to the #IntJC chatroom on Tweetchat.com if you like, but it’s not necessary.

If you are not on Twitter but would nevertheless like to know what is being said during the chat, don’t despair! You don’t have to set up a Twitter account to follow the chat. You can just go into tweetchat.com, enter the hashtag “#IntJC” into the box at the top, and then watch the conversation unfold before your eyes (click here for more information on what hashtags are and how they work). You won’t be able to make comments yourself, but you will at least be able to see what others are saying. You can go into tweetchat.com right now to test it, if you like, to see what sort of tweets are being sent right now using the #IntJC hashtag. It will look something like this:

If, for whatever reason, you are not able to follow the live chat at the designated time, then all is not lost – you can always call up the transcripts of the conversation, which are compiled using a service called Chirpstory and are available on the Journal Chat’s website shortly following the conversation. To see the transcripts of past #IntJC chats, click here.

Session 6 details

As I said earlier, the article that is going to be discussed this Saturday looks at tips for recent interpreting graduates. It is entitled “So I have my conference interpreting degree – what do I do now?” and was written for the Interpreter Training Resources website by Chris de Fortis, Interpreter Trainer and Senior Interpreter at NATO. In the article, the author goes through a number of practical tips and tricks for new interpreters to keep in mind as they start out on their professional career.

The discussion points for the #IntJC chat are based on the content of the article. I’ll reproduce them for you here:

1) What did you do (or are currently doing or plan to do) to enter the market after your training?

2) Of the article’s 16 sections, which contain the best advice? And the worst? Were any tips completely new to you?

3) Do you have a Unique Selling Point (USP)? Do you think it’s necessary to have one?

4) What do you think about the author’s comments on markets, competition and rates?

5) What would you prefer: staff or freelance? How about volunteer work?

6) What is your experience with consortia, secretariats, agencies? Any lessons you’d like to share?

There are likely to be veteran interpreters participating in the chat, as well as a number of newbies, and I am sure it will be an excellent learning opportunity for all.

See you this Saturday!

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7 thoughts on ““So I’ve got my interpreting degree – now what?”

  1. Sadly, it will be 3AM when the chats start, and I do love my sleep. I am thus hugely relieved that there are transcripts, which will serve as great breakfast reading material on Saturday.

    Thanks for the heads up!

    • Thanks for your interest! The timing is always a problem when you’re trying to organise something global :(. We’ve settled on this time for the chat because it covers Japan (where the initiative was born), Europe, and most of South and North America (although the West Coast must rise very early indeed to take part). It’s impossible to find a time that suits everyone, unfortunately.

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