Event report: Starting Your Career as a Professional Translator

A review of CIOL’s Translation Division event by Francesca Montemagno, Student Affiliate

December has come, the year is almost over, but for CIOL it is surely not over yet: today, Saturday 1st December 2018, an event with a very promising title was hosted at the Hotel Novotel London City South, and I say promising because, as a newly affiliated student to the Institute at her first ever CIOL meeting, when it comes to guidance on working in the field of translation, any help one can get is very much appreciated.

After a brief introduction by Karine Chevalier-Watts MCIL CL, Chair of the Translating Division, the event started around 10:30 with two 45-minute talks by Karen Stokes FCIL CL on all the preliminary steps to take and aspects to consider when starting out as a professional translator, from the working environment to CAT tools to networking and everything in between.

Around noon, Jane Galbraith, Head of Membership, gave a presentation on CIOL in general, the various types of membership that it offers and the advantages that they bring including the steps needed to become a Chartered Linguist (CL). She mentioned the newly launched  CIOL Mentoring scheme, which matches experienced mentors with  mentees, providing the latter with support and guidance. .

After the lunch break, Janet Fraser FCIL FITI described the CIOL Code of Professional Conduct, the ethical obligations it establishes and the protection it grants to the linguist. This part of the event was interactive, with delegates  divided into four group discussing  a potentially ethically problematic situation and  trying to find a resolution  via the Code.

The last hour of the event was dedicated to a panel + Q&A with four guests. The first to speak was Flight Sergeant Neil Hutchinson, who works as an Intelligence Analyst for the Royal Air Force and described not only the features of his job and the intensive linguistic training he received, but also the range of careers that the RAF offers. Then Paul Kaye, Language Officer at the European Commission’s Representation in London, spoke about the opportunities for translators, interpreters and lawyer-linguists in the EU institutions, as permanent or temporary staff members, trainees,   external contractors and interns. We then heard from  Rebecca Beernaert, Production Manager at Wessex Translations, who gave an insight into the translation field seen from the point of view of an agency, giving, among other things, useful tips on how to be  remembered by project managers and hopefully receive more work. Finally, freelance translator Rebecca George talked about how she recently started out in the field, encouraging newcomers not to give up, even when requests do not come in steadily and panicking feels natural.

Throughout the day it was also possible to consult ‘Human Books’, that is, MCILs such as Ingrid Deane-Williams, Jennifer Radford and Karine Chevalier-Watts, who were there to answer any questions that the attendees might have on our professional field on a one-to-one basis.

Over 80 delegates registered for the event, it was a busy day with lots of opportunities to network with like-minded colleagues, an invaluable part of any CIOL event.