Thursday, 22 April 2021 12:00

SIG report: The Southern SIG on the Ides of March

Written by Jasper Pauwels

Caesar Salad 2

On 15 March, about a dozen SENSE members came together online to enjoy a lively chat in good company. We had planned the informal get-together to last for one hour but it turned out, once more, that time does indeed fly when you are having fun. The event ran on longer than the convener had bargained for and we will definitely plan a longer event next time.

The main reason for this lively evening was down to one of our newest SENSE members, who had a few interesting questions about getting started as a freelancer. This sparked a civilised discussion on setting up shop, post-editing (which will be covered in another post) and the oldest trick in the teacher’s book.

In today’s labour market, everybody seems to be focused on having the right qualifications. Thankfully, the language industry has a more pragmatic outlook on certificates. Holding a Master’s degree in translation and a PhD in engineering is very helpful if you want to become a technical translator. However, most translators will agree that you learn most about translating when translating. Demonstrating you can provide high-quality translation, or meticulous editing, is more important than impressive degrees. As one SENSE member pointed out, many members started before there were any specialised translation degrees to attain. Another member confirmed she made a living from the ‘mere’ fact that she knows English and can edit English text.

That said, it can still be daunting to venture into the world of translation and editing. As this event proved, translators and editors are very supportive of one another. Most see each other as colleagues and peers rather than competitors, and are happy to help or answer your questions. Newcomers to the profession are encouraged to find a more experienced translator or editor to check their work regularly. If you are new to the field, you can also sign up for SENSE’s Mentoring Programme to benefit from the help and support of a seasoned colleague.

We also discussed that conferences can be a useful way to learn, and that they provide a good opportunity for expanding your network. The BP conference, named after its place of origin Budapest, is an online conference that comes recommended by several members. The conference focuses on business practices for linguists and is very affordable.

During our discussion, we received a great tip that every language teacher should know. Oftentimes, speaking softly will force your students to be quiet and listen, otherwise there is no way of knowing what you’re actually saying. It’s a trick of the trade to grab their attention. Conversely, raising your voice to rowdy students will only make the cacophony worse!

Finally, as is tradition, we appointed a Southern SIG Member of the Month, that is to say, the attendee who is located farthest down south. Our first Southern SIG Member of the Month, Karen Leube, was succeeded by Kees Kranendonk, who joined us all the way from southern Spain. Congratulations, Kees!

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