Sound Advice for New Interpreters

I truly admire bloggers who manage to keep up their blogging schedule through the summer months. And I doubly admire one blog in particular for having made a number of valuable contributions to the interpreting blogosphere this summer.

I’m referring to Life in LINCS, a blog written by the members of the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies (LINCS) at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. If you follow the Interpreter Diaries on Facebook or Twitter, you will have seen me sharing a number of their posts over the past few weeks.

I particularly liked the three-part series “From gown to booth – Turning your degree into a job” on how to get started in the interpreting profession:

Hurdle nº 1: Experience required

Hurdle nº 2: Becoming a paid interpreter

Working for an international institution

So thanks very much to the people at Life in LINCS for all the great summer reading. I’m planning to address market entry for new interpreters on the pages of the Diaries in the weeks to come, so if the topic interests you, please stay tuned!

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Versatile Blogger Award

Okay, I’ll admit it: when I first came across this Versatile Blogger business, I thought it was one of those self-perpetuating scams, like those chain letters that people used to get in the mail, where they were instructed to photocopy and resend the letter to 100 of their closest friends or a piano would fall on them (yes, spam existed before the internet era).

Upon closer inspection, however, I realized that the Versatile Blogger Awards are actually a useful tool for helping bloggers share their favourite bits of the blogosphere – much like the A ♥ for Language Blogs initiative by Translation Times, the results of which can be found here. Also, there was no menacing clause in the small print warning me that I had to produce my post within 24 hours or I would suffer the same fate as George Clooney. So that decided it!

And now that I have been nominated not  once, not twice, but three times, I guess it’s high time that I made my own contribution to the blog curation effort. So here goes …

The Rules

Life is full of rules and regulations, and the Versatile Blogger Award is no different. So let’s get that out of the way first:

1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.
4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

In my case I have to thank three bloggers for nominating me: Catherine Christaki (@LinguaGreca), Aida González (@aidagda) and Cristina Lozano (@crislocrispis). I enjoy their blogs, so I am pleased to see the feeling is mutual. Next …

Seven things you didn’t know about me

1. I was born to a Dutch father and French-Canadian mother (which explains the name). Despite my multicultural background, my upbringing was mainly monolingual, in English – foreign language learning not being a priority in 1970s small-town Western Canada. All that changed when I turned 17 and decided that languages were actually kind of neat. I think one day I will write a post about that.

2. My hero is my Oma, who recently turned 100 years old, and until last year lived on her own and still cooked and cleaned with only a little outside help. Truly an inspiration.

3. I got my first grey hair at age 22, and it has been all downhill since then. But even if I make it to 100 like Oma, I will never dye my hair.

4. I am left-handed. My right hand is a useless appendage – so much so, that I even shampoo the right side of my head with my left hand. It’s not easy – try it some time and see for yourself!

5. I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian. This means that my life in Spain is full of restaurant meals consisting of tortilla española and ensalada mixta (“sin atún, ¡por favor!”). Arroz a la cubana (“¡sin salchicha!”) is also a good option.

6. I have the messiest desk this side of the Western Sahara. People who are used to me sending them instant replies to their emails (thank you, BlackBerry) are often surprised to find out that I can leave snail mail heaped on my desk, unopened, for months on end. If you don’t believe me, I will post a photo on my Facebook page to prove it.

7. I recently started doing yoga again, after many years away from my practice. When I signed up, I was given the option of doing yoga dinámico (which sounded scary) or yoga integral (which turned out to be a euphemism for “yoga for old biddies”). I immediately knew which one was for me – and now I spend every Tuesday morning doing yoga in the company of two lovely old German ladies (both of whom are named Renate, as it turns out).

Now comes the fun part…

I am not going to use this post to tell you about the interpreting blogs that I read, since I’ve already done that in my A ♥ for Language Blogs post. Instead, I’ll share with you some of the other blogs I enjoy checking out from time to time.

1. Not Exactly Rocket Science – My number one all-time favourite blog. I love everything about it. I particularly like the Friday posts entitled “I’ve got your missing links right here“. It is part of the Discovery science blog network.

2. Lessons From Sherlock Holmes – One of the many regular guest blogs that make up the Scientific American blog network, it offers psychology lessons from the greatest detective in literature.

3. Project Syndicate – Another major blog network, with a politics/economics slant. With regular contributors like Joschka Fischer (The Rebel Realist), Joseph Stiglitz (Unconventional Economic Wisdom) and Jeffrey Sachs (Economics and Justice), it could fill a 15-item list of its own.

4. Grantland – This is going to make you think I’m weird (assuming you don’t already), but from time to time this sports/pop culture blog network actually produces some entertaining stuff. I must have read their article on cricket at least three times – and I laughed louder each time.

5. Alexander Technique, Creativity and Health – Written by my friend, the AT expert and author Pedro de Alcantara. Full of interesting tips for musicians and writers, or anyone curious to know more about AT.

6. O Retrovisor – This blog has recently morphed from an antique photo blog into a collection of literary quotes from different sources.

7. 300 Words – refreshingly short posts (in German). Very well-crafted and always insightful.

8. roughly translated – The posts by dk provoke a ROTFL reaction in me. Every. Single. Time.

9. Diary of a Mad Patent Translator – Let’s face it, this blog is good. And well-written. And the author knows what he’s talking about. What more can you ask of a blog?

10. Daniel Greene’s Blog-o-Rama – I recently discovered this blog by an ASL interpreter when the author used a post of mine as inspiration. Very interesting.

11. Field Notes – This blog by conference interpreter Ewandro Magalhaes has been dormant for a while. However, the other day a post came out that I took straight to my Portuguese class, since I couldn’t understand a word of it. As it turns out, it’s full of Brazilian slang that even my teacher couldn’t decipher in some cases!

12. Language Hat – This is a very recent discovery. The author apparently speaks many languages and owns several hats (13 and 9 respectively, by his own count). This blog still makes me feel a bit dizzy when I read it. I can’t believe this man posts daily.

13. 1000 Lives in 100 Words – This community blogging project is worth checking out. If you look closely enough, you may see a couple of familiar faces among the 100-odd contributors to the project so far.

14. Mox’s Blog – I need a laugh from time to time, and this is where I get it (when there’s nothing new on roughly translated).

15. Chemistry 335 – This is my brother’s blog (no, I’m not the only blogger in the family!). In this blog, he replies to comments and queries from his senior chemistry students. I have to admit I don’t actually read this one, since I haven’t a clue what my brother is on about 99% of the time (scratch that: 100%).

So there you have it, that’s my list! All that is left to do now is notify the lucky winners that they have been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award. I can’t wait to hear back from Joschka, Jeff, Joe and company (not to mention my dear brother…).