If you’re a professional translator or interpreter and keen on developing your career, it makes sense to join a professional association. You might even consider joining more than one.
Here’s why I joined four (!) professional associations for translators, and some pointers to help decide which ones might be right for you.
How can a professional association help you as a translator or interpreter?
Joining a professional association is a significant career step. It’s a way of saying to yourself and others that you’re serious about what you do, your work is valuable and you’re a skilled professional. Different associations for translators and interpreters have different entrance requirements, and some have multiple membership categories to take career progression into account. As well as increased professionalism, translation associations offer lots of benefits for members, including:
- Directory listings (a big draw card!) – many associations (e.g. ATA, ITI, IAPTI, BDÜ) have directories of their members, which clients can use to find a translator or interpreter.
- Certification – some associations (e.g. ATA, ITI) offer assessments and certification programmes, which can provide useful credentials.
- Networking – joining an association can be a great way to get in touch with local, national or international colleagues.
- Professional development – you may be able to attend the association conference or other events, training sessions and webinars.
- Resources – many associations have a members-only section on their website that includes copies of their journal, as well as tools, resources and discounts for members.
- Code of ethics – most associations have a code of ethics that can give guidance to members in tricky situations.
- Promoting the interests of translators and interpreters – associations support the interests of their members, which is another good reason to join. Some represent translators and interpreters only, while others also have translation agencies as corporate members.
Which association is best for you?
This was a difficult question for me, which is why I ended up joining four associations! But it might be a bit more straight-forward for you.
First of all, it’s a good idea to belong to your local or national association for translators and interpreters. For me, this is the NZSTI. It means I can attend local events for translators and take advantage of discounts on things like professional indemnity insurance. If your clients are also locally based, you might not need to consider joining another association.
However, many translators have clients in different countries, so it can be worth joining an international association, or one in your source or target language country.
The umbrella association for translators’ associations, the International Federation of Translators (FIT), provides an online directory of associations for translators and interpreters. There is also a useful listing on Wikipedia, which includes associations that are not members of FIT.
Here are a few of the bigger associations which may be of interest:
IAPTI has an international presence and focus. It offers member profiles and a directory, professional development and support, webinars, relevant discounts and a forum to network with other members.
ITI is a UK association for translators and interpreters. It provides professional certification, member profiles and a directory, networking and professional development, discounts, forums and specialist networks.
In the US, ATA also offers certification, profiles and a directory, divisions for different languages and specialisations, regional chapters in various states, discounts, networking and professional development.
How about you?
Are you a member of a professional association for translators or interpreters? If so, which one(s) did you join, and why? Let me know in the comments below.
Please note that I do not have a commercial relationship with any of the organisations mentioned above.
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