Is being a member of an Association important for your career? Well, I guess it is. Just like a doctor or a lawyer belong to an Association and are accredited by that Association, translators should also seek the same status.
As I mentioned in my previous post, there are lots of people calling themselves translators without any qualifications to do so. Unfortunately, this is still an unregulated industry, and in my view, something should be done to regulate it, as it would be beneficial for us and our clients.
Some countries already have great national translators associations, and regulate, so members of those associations are preferred to those with no accreditation. Australia is one of those countries. Here, if you need a translated document, most institutions will require you to hire a NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) accredited translator. Other countries, like the United States, also have a good Association. In the UK, the Chartered Institute of Linguists, from which I am a member, is one of the most reputable bodies in world’s Translation is also a great accreditation association for translators and interpreters around the world.
But, why do I believe this is so important? Well, the answer is very simple. To be a member of these Associations, you have to provide your qualifications and, in most cases, sit a test to prove you are a qualified translator. It is very expensive I must say, but it is a good investment in your career. Sometimes, you can be accredited by more than one Association. For example in my case, I’m accredited by the Chartered Institute of Linguists, where I got my Diploma in Translation, and I’m now seeking a second accreditation, this time with NAATI, so I can work with Australian companies.
Why is this important for my clients? Well, it is a proof that I’m actually a professional translator, not a high school student. They have my name in their list (NAATI doesn’t yet) because I satisfied them I was qualified to do this job, and they are satisfied that I am indeed fit to be one of their members.
You have to give them proof of your experience, references from clients and your qualifications. If you fail to provide one of these items you are refused membership/accreditation and you will need to get them all before you try again.
That’s why I think it helps my profession and why, in my opinion, it should be like that worldwide. When you see people charging ridiculously low rates and you think they are competitive, think why are they that competitive instead. While we have expenses proving our qualifications they simply advertise themselves.