What’s Next on the Diaries? You Tell Me!

Today, classes start up again on the Master’s in Conference Interpreting at the University of La Laguna. And while I won’t actually meet my new students in person for a couple of weeks (too much work-related travel getting in the way), I would like to take this opportunity to welcome them virtually to the training course.

While I’m at it, perhaps I could share with readers what my blogging plan will be for the next few months. When I launched the Interpreter Diaries, I set myself three main goals:

1) offer useful information about the conference interpreting profession to those who might be considering it as a career

2) give readers an inside look at conference interpreter training and guidance to students currently on a course

3) share useful information for new interpreters trying to break into the market.

For the past year and a half, I’ve been slowly working my way through this plan. The posts I wrote for the first series in the spring and summer of 2011 can be found under the category “for aspiring interpreters”. The second series, “for interpreting students”, was written over the course of the past academic year, between September 2011 and June 2012. Now I think it’s about time I tackled my third and final goal and started addressing topics of interpretes to new interpreters just starting out in the profession. I have published a few posts on the topic, which you’ll find under the category “for recent graduates”, but the section is still looking pretty anemic, and it’s time I changed that.

So, basically, what I’d like to know from you is: what issues would you like me to address under this category? What would recent graduates of a conference interpreting course like to know? I have some ideas of my own and have already started drafting a list of possible topics, but I’d appreciate some input. You can share your question in the comments section below, or tweet me your concerns at @InterpDiaries, or post a question on my wall in Facebook.

I’m certainly no expert in the subject of how to get a job as an interpreter, but I promise to do the best I can to answer your questions. And if I can’t come up with an answer, maybe I will know someone who can!

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

P.S. If you are a student of conference interpreting just starting your Master’s now and you want to find relevant articles for your stage of training, just flip back in the archives (located in the bar at the bottom of my homepage) and see what I posted starting last September

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Introducing the VEGA network (or how do you like my new hat?)

Interpreters are a versatile bunch. If you don’t believe me, just skim the transcripts of the recent Interpreting Journal Chat on Twitter that looked at how interpreters juggle their different professional profiles. During the chat (aptly titled “How many hats do you wear?”), we saw that freelance interpreters may also be translators, voice talents, entrepreneurs, business consultants, community managers, “fixers”, and much more.

My own set of headwear is not all that diverse by comparison, as most of it relates to the practice of conference interpreting and the training of the next generation. But I recently added a new hat to the collection, and that is what I’d like to talk about to you today.

Continue reading

“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!