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Careers in Translation and Interpreting Event, Aston University, 17.12.14

aston university

  On 17th December, with my translation (BA) colleague, Isabelle, from Cardiff University, we headed up the train tracks to the Midlands to the Careers event at Aston University. The day’s talks promised to offer multiple perspectives on the different kinds of jobs translators and interpreters can have. The pre-event coffee room was packed and attendance was good, our namebadges reflecting attendance from across the country – many undergraduates and also school students plus a rare few older participants. The event was sponsored by the Routes Into Languages program. Head of Aston’s language department, Christina Schäffner kicked off proceedings with a short welcome and introduction and the event was rapidly underway. We would be looking at different areas of work plus ways of getting started in the profession. The first hour introduced three different professional interpreters who vary in their employment. Rekha Narula gave a great presentation on working in the public service interpreting sector. The attitude of the interpreter and the professional skills they require was very interesting. There are ethical dilemmas and the rather individual, lonely work of the public service interpreter seemed very challenging. The work sounded very rewarding and valuable to society. Cindy Schaller, a French woman interpreter, who spoke almost perfect English with hardly a detectable accent at all, spoke about conference interpreting and also how volunteering could provide valuable experience for newcomers to the industry. Cindy had done a work experience placement at the UN in Vienna and had toured Africa and a variety of other destinations, working in the voluntary sector. Cindy discussed the skills she used as a conference interpreter, from chucotage, to booth work at various levels of comfort and technology. Cindy analysed the business skills that we would require – from accounting to building a client base, to billing and working as an individual. Cindy provided some useful web references for opportunities in the voluntary sector: Maisy Greenwood was next on the agenda and she had an amazing adventure tale to share with us. At university she had studied arabic in addition to Spanish and French. A job landed at her feet (or rather she had to put herself in the right place at the right time). She was recruited as an interpreter for a Saudi television documentary. For two months Maisy travelled across South America, acting as a Spanish>English>Arabic interpreter. The skills she amassed…

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