The Linguist

The Linguist 59,2 - April/May 2020

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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32 The Linguist Vol/59 No/2 2020 INSTITUTE MATTERS meetings after all our events so volunteers don't have to travel in again, and it means we can analyse the feedback there and then. JT Christine, I would like to ask how the division has changed over the years. CP I would say networking is the thing that has most improved. I joined ID in the mid-1990s when electronic networking didn't exist. Very few members had email, so we developed a database and sent out newsletters through the post! InterpNet came into being with the arrival of e-groups. Due to the speed of communication, more events are advertised now, and no matter how hard we try, we sometimes have a clash of date or topic with another event. So plans are less stable and we end up doing more between meetings. MM How do you fit that around your work? CP I get up early and go to bed late! JT The flexibility of being self-employed helps. I know how to prioritise my time and put in an additional couple of hours a week. There can be a lot to do at times – I wonder what the main benefit has been for you? CP The ability to network. I've always been very much a people person and I feel like I've gained an invaluable professional family. MM So what do you do when things don't go according to plan? Following changes to the way the CIOL divisions and societies are run, with the organising 'committees' becoming less formal 'steering groups' and volunteers being appointed for up to six years, the Interpreting Division (ID) was looking for new volunteers last year. Having attended several ID events, Joanna Tloczek (main picture) joined the Steering Group at its November meeting. She talks to Editor of The Linguist Miranda Moore and ID Chair Christine Pocock (inset) about the division's plans for the future, what to expect from volunteering and how the division has changed. CP Joanna, I think it would be helpful if you could explain how you found out about volunteering with the Interpreting Division. JT I went from working in the legal field for 20 years to being a full-time freelance translator and interpreter. I wanted to learn as much as I could, but I didn't have a professional network. I really missed having colleagues, so I attended as many CIOL events as I could. At the 2019 AGM, you mentioned that ID was looking for people to join the Steering Group. I asked if I could shadow someone, but you encouraged me to apply. CP Under the new appointment system, we look at the applications and agree who has the skills we need. Then, when a person is appointed, I send them all the necessary paperwork and speak to them by phone to answer any questions they may have. JT I wasn't sure what to expect from my first meeting. I was excited and a bit nervous, but everyone was very friendly. I like that group members are responsible for different things. The InterpNet platform needed to be taken care of, so I offered to moderate. It's also great that people feel comfortable voicing their opinions at our meetings. CP We get most of the ideas for our events from the feedback forms. We hold group Pulling together Long-standing Interpreting Division organiser Christine Pocock and new recruit Joanna Tloczek discuss the benefits and challenges of volunteering CP You have to use your brain and not panic. Twice recently, the venue cancelled at the last minute, so one of the team in London went to check out a new venue. We were all set to advertise an event for this April, when the main speaker was injured and we had to postpone. Sometimes we can move things around or use a different speaker, and as we have a lot of skills in the ID team, it's sometimes possible for one of us to step up and fill the breach. JT What events have been most successful? CP Some time ago, we invited the BBC Listening Service to talk about fast news and lots of people came to that. 'Meet the Agents' is always busy, and events on hot topics, like the one coming up with Professor Joanna Drugan of UEA about modern slavery and trafficking. MM There's clearly a lot to do. If you had one piece of advice for Joanna what would it be? CP It's ok to ask if you don't understand something; the rest of the team was also new once. Flexibility when something goes awry is a great attribute: it enables the whole team to jump in and pull together. Email for information about the Interpreting Division and its events. © CHRIS CHRISTODOULOU

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