By NOTIS member Elizabeth Adams
It’s spring and time to check in on our New Year’s resolutions. My resolution was to be more intentional about finding resources to help me be a better translator. While I’m grateful for the wealth of affordable webinars offered by the ATA and Proz.com, I realized after listening to a couple of webinars last year that there is an important reason we should also be making time for training that is not aimed at translators.
If you specialize in one or more fields, you need to look at the subject matter from a specialist’s point of view.
I’ve spent the past five years focusing on legal translation, but the webinars I’ve purchased on that topic have all been fairly general, covering a lot of ground and geared more toward non-native speakers of English. So I branched out: the Harvard online course on Contract Law was free, but it was also very basic and designed for the general public. Bryan Garner’s video presentation on the misuses of "shall" in drafting is targeted at attorneys. It cost exactly $200 more than the Harvard course, but I can already see improvement in my thought processes and my finished work.
I bet you see two drawbacks already, don’t you? Continuing education outside our supportive translation community is expensive. And it can be hit or miss finding training that is at the right level of difficulty. My strategy is to look for books, articles and courses that deal with the intersection between law and language – that way I know the material is relevant to me, even if it wasn’t developed specifically for translators.
But what about those pesky high fees? I think of it this way: I’d rather pay a couple hundred dollars for some really useful information than $35 for a webinar where I’ll end up paying my bills and cleaning off my desk while it runs in the background. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m always looking for high-value, low-cost learning opportunities just like the next person.
If you have tips for finding continuing education opportunities outside the translation industry I would love to hear them!
Elizabeth Adams is a Russian to English translator living in Everett, WA. She is a big nerd about continuing education. You can find her online here.