Translators Associations North America: TTIG

Born from collective efforts

Translation Associations North America: TTIGThe Translators and Interpreters Guild (TTIG) was founded in 1991, boosted by the collective efforts of a group of independent American translators and interpreters. The founders of this translators association felt that “the compensation and respect” received were not “commensurate with the effort” or “with the talent and the knowledge” they bring to the profession. It is an organisation run by volunteers, with volunteer staff who are committed in helping members to achieve their professional goals.

According to the translation association based in Washington DC, the reason why translators and interpreters join TTIG is because “they want to have more direct control over the conditions of their working lives”. Therefore, the Translators and Interpreters Guild chose, as a mission, to help raise professionals’ living standard. How? “By focussing on bread and butter issues”. What? Yes, for TTIG, this is the table equivalent to “assistance in finding work, lobbying for favorable legislation, helping beginners get into the field, and improving pay, benefits and working conditions”.

The American translators association is a member of the most important labour union in the Northern part of the continent. This means that members of TTIG have de facto collective strength, represented by numbers. CWA (Communications Workers of America) represents over 600,000 workers in both the United States and Canada. Through this union, TTIG assures members – independent workers of employees of translation companies – are also supported “for a better future quality of life”.

Nowadays, the Translators and Interpreters Guild is an organisation of professionals, there for the needs of the “vital and growing industry” that is translation. TTIG believes that the “efforts of TTIG members will create the understanding necessary for today’s increasingly interdependent world”. The aims defined by the translation association consist of establishing and maintaining linguistic standards way up high, but also to be a forum for communication between translators and interpreters as well as translation agencies and clients. In the end, TTIG wants to contribute towards lasting, productive and mutually rewarding individual relationships that will benefit its members and their clients as well.

If you wish to be a member of TTIG, it’s good to know that membership is open to both freelancers and in-house translators and interpreters, as well as those who aspire to work in the field. According to TTIG, its dues are “among the most reasonable in organised labour”. Furthermore, these dues may be tax deductible as a business expense. To pay your fees, you can request an invoice or pay via PayPal.

Because it’s part of the labour movement, the translators association has been able to establish a set of benefits that have been negotiated over the years. Examples of those advantages include “a low-interest MasterCard, life and dental insurance, travel and prescription discounts, mortgage and loan programs, and a legal service which provides free or low-cost collection and other services”.

TTIG has a newsletter called “The Voice”. It is published once every three months, to keep members updated on activities, issues and benefits, as well as to help them improve their translating and interpreting skills through educational articles.

In some parts of the country, networking is supported through local groups called “Units”, that organise regular business meetings, but also special events like networking evenings, professional seminars and social gatherings. At present, TTIG has units in Washington DC, Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, Massachusetts, New York City and New Jersey. Further units can be created if at least 20 members show an interest in doing so.

As a translation association, TTIG can support its members in securing fair treatment by their clients and employing companies. They can write letters concerning collection problems or other contract violations. In the past, the organisation has also examined legislative and regulatory changes that may affect members. TTIG has lobbied the American Congress to restore the deduction for health insurance premiums for self-employed professionals. It has also petitioned several court systems to improve the rates paid to interpreters. Other actions are being planned to benefit the community of translators and interpreters.

As far as beginners are concerned – as well as members who “do not yet qualify for the Referral Services or more established members who need help in a certain area” – TTIG has established a database of members who are keen in offering their help.

TTIG has two separate Referral Services: the Translators Referral Service (TRS) and The Referral Service for Interpreters (RSI). The goals of both of them are to “encourage direct transactions between TTIG members and clients”, to guarantee free market competition for translators and interpreters, to build a high quality reputation and, last but not the least, to encourage customers to expect and demand high quality services.

Keep in mind that in the United States of America, English is the official language. It’s the most widely spread tongue worldwide, with around 328 million native English speakers (the actual figures are estimated to be much higher).

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