By Geoffrey Miller
One of the few advantages of the pandemic has been the huge increase in online events, including for translators and interpreters. As a German-English translator, I’ve certainly attended my share of Zoom meetings, including ones organised by the NZSTI’s German counterpart, the BDÜ. Being able to join colleagues overseas virtually has been a real boon, but the downside is that they are often held at rather inconvenient times for us here in New Zealand – fancy a 5 a.m. start, anyone?
Well, NZSTI now has a Zoom offering that is the perfect solution for breaking up our working day – ‘Linguists at Lunch’. Hannah Burdekin from the Auckland branch has kindly organised the first two monthly meetings.
Sixteen interpreters and translators joined the ‘Linguists at Lunch’ I attended on 28 October, ranging from people who had very recently joined NZSTI to experienced members. Hannah made us all feel very welcome and emphasised how it was absolutely fine to come and go as we needed – it was lunchtime after all! It really felt like the informal catch-up with colleagues we all need from time to time.
The theme in the session I attended was professional development (PD). We swapped ideas of professional development sources, such as NZSTI’s own ongoing PD programme and peer support groups for interpreters, the PD offerings of AUSIT (NZSTI members pay member prices) and Corinne McKay’s website. Many LSPs also offer webinars and self-paced training modules. Another easily available source for professional development opportunities is the wide range of online conferences organised by professional associations and translation software providers, for example. Many are free and they all offer great value.
There was general consensus that we all benefit greatly from PD and that in our fast-changing industry, it is important to stay up to date with current best practice and changes in technology. Attendees shared various strategies of how to set aside time for PD such as dedicating one afternoon a week to PD or using the time when we are not too busy with work to catch up on PD offerings.
Useful podcasts were also discussed – with Auckland members confirming that they were great for those daily lockdown walks! Recommendations included the ProZ podcast, Tess Whitty’s podcast, Translation Confidential, Translation Confessional, Speaking of Translation and SlatorPod for industry related news.
After the meeting, Hannah kindly sent attendees the chat transcript with the links to all kinds of resources. I now feel very motivated to check these out, knowing that colleagues like me who are also based in New Zealand have found them useful.
Especially for NZSTI members who do not have a local branch (I’m in Dunedin), online catch-ups like ‘Linguists at Lunch’ really are invaluable. I hope they continue in some form even when (or if!) we enter the post-covid period. (Editor: We will definitely be organising these regularly! Look out for details in our monthly newsletter, on Facebook and on nzsti.org)
Thanks so much to Hannah and the NZSTI Auckland branch committee for providing this wonderful new (and free!) opportunity.