Reaching out

To forge the future of translation and interpreting, we need to reach out beyond the profession.

In the UK, foreign language provision in primary schools is comparatively low and very few secondary pupils continue their language studies beyond the compulsory period. We can all do our bit to encourage children to love languages and help increase the take-up of foreign languages at secondary school.

Modern language students in the UK’s universities can also benefit from an insight into life as a translator and/or interpreter in the real world.

Finally Google translate, MT, NMT and other advances in TI automation have shaken the industry. Most translators and interpreters will by now have understood what these tools can and can’t do – and perhaps even adopted some of them to improve their productivity – but we cannot work in a bubble. There’s a world out there that thinks they can replace human translators and we must put this right, not by preaching but through client education.

Indeed, the profession has been invisible for too long. It’s time we made our mark in an intelligent, informative and powerful way.

Each and every one of us owes it to ourself and the profession to do our bit but you’re probably wondering where to begin.

Alison will take you through some of the ways we can reach out to schools and businesses, explaining the resources which are now available on the ITI website. In addition, based on her own experience of attending client industry events and taking a stand with the Media, Arts & Tourism network at the 2018 Museums & Heritage Show, she will give tips and suggestions on how we can raise our profile in the business world.

Alison Hughes has been a freelance translator since she left the corporate world of wines and spirits in 1997. She translates creative texts from French to English, specialising in food and drink (with a strong focus on wine and champagne), fashion and beauty and contemporary art.

For the past two years, Alison has been working with Sarah Bawa-Mason and Angela Dickson on the ITI outreach and ambassador initiative. This has involved meeting with the Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT), visiting schools and attending SCILT-organised school events.

Alison is also the coordinator for the ITI Media, Arts & Tourism network, which took a stand at the 2018 Museums & Heritage Show at London Olympia, and on a more personal level, has attended industry events in her specialist areas.