Translators Associations Europe: SVVT

Translation with a feminine touch

Translation Associations Europe: SVVTThe Women Translators and Interpreters Network (Stichting Vrouwennetwerk Vertalers en Tolken, SVVT) is a Dutch association established in 1981. It consists of a network of approximately 100 professional women translators and interpreters “who support and encourage each other in the work”.

The SVVT was originally part of an organisation called “Stichting Vrouwennetwerk Nederland”, a foundation created in 1980 with the mission of supporting self-employed women, as well as those working for companies, in positions of responsibility. The aim was “to encourage their professional development”.

Being under the umbrella of that national network, the SVVT chose to leave, some 20 years after its foundation. The national network has since been disbanded. However, SVVT maintained the same objectives and the commitment towards supporting and encouraging women in their professional careers.

The SVVT’s guiding principles is that “everyone should contribute to and benefit from the network”. The knowledge acquired by its members is “a reservoir” everyone can draw from, but which also needs everybody’s contribution as far as knowledge and experience are concerned”. A list of rules has been established for that reason and for other purposes as well.

According to the Dutch women translators association, “translators and interpreters have a crucial role to play in today's world of rapid internationalization” as “they bridge the gap between parties who don't speak each other's languages”. For that reason, it is vital to have an excellent knowledge of languages. However, it is as important to know a country’s history and cultural and to specialise in a certain subject.

A directory of SVVT members is available to people who are looking for a translator or an interpreter and a specific language combination. However, this directory is only available in Dutch.

Other than that, you might find interesting to read through the two brief guides the translation association has put together “to give clients a better understanding of what the work of translators and interpreters involves”. You can download it from the association’s website.

The association’s meetings are held every two months, generally in Dutch. There is a general meeting as well, with a speaker and a buffet supper, followed by individual language section meetings, except in January, when the only aim is to welcome the New Year.

At the SVVT’s meetings, members are able to discuss and exchange ideas in a “friendly, informal setting”. Associates come from different parts of the world and have “wide-ranging backgrounds”. There are freelancer and also translators and interpreters who work for public and private employers.

Other than the meetings, the Dutch translation association organises other activities, either on their own or in partnership with other groups, where they focus on “specific issues of interest” to the profession.

Women translators can become members of SVVT, as long as they have a university degree or an equivalent in a language-based subject. Other than that, they must have at least two years’ professional experience and “earn most of their annual income from translating and / or interpreting”.

Guests are allowed to attend two consecutive meetings before applying for membership, in case the secretary has been informed in advance of their presence.

Members are expected to attend meetings at least twice a year. That comes as a consequence of the association’s policy of “contributing and benefiting members”. If, as a member, you’re unable to attend a meeting, you should inform the secretary beforehand.

The English Section

The SVVT has a special section concerning those working with the English language. Its meetings, generally conducted in Dutch, take place after the network meeting and the buffet meal.

The section’s main objective is “to exchange information and optimise the quality of” translation and interpretation. The meetings generally consist of discussions about subjects like new dictionaries and other publications, neologisms and other linguistic issues, useful software and websites.

Keep in mind that Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands. It is also spoken by approximately 60% of Belgium and Suriname. There are around 24 million native Dutch speakers.

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