Translators Associations North America: SCATIA

With eyes set in the future

Translators Associations North America: SCATIAThe Southern California Area Translators and Interpreters Association (SCATIA) is a non-profit organisation of individuals and corporations (such as translation agencies) engaged in the profession of providing translation, interpretation, and other language-related services.

This translators association was founded in 1976 by a small pioneering group of translators and interpreters “who discovered the professional merits of meeting and socialising with colleagues”. The informal gatherings have evolved into an organisation of almost 250 individual members, 20 corporate members, and last, but not the least, 1 student member. In 1988, SCATIA was awarded chapter status in the American Translators Association (ATA).

Although the words “interpretation” and “translation” are often used as synonyms, interchangeably, the Californian translation association reminds that, in fact, by strict definition, interpretation refers to spoken language whereas translation means working with written material.

According to SCATIA, to become a translator, it is very important that you have “a detailed knowledge of your subject matter”, which, in the end, might be as important as the academic knowledge that you have acquired through years of studying the language combination(s) in which you work. In certain cases, like technical manuals, judicial documents or medical material, specific knowledge of a certain theme plays a greater role than the actual language skills.

Obviously, if you want to be a successful translator, “an ability to write well is also important”. SCATIA says that both proofreading and editing are good ways to break into the industry and you will find that the skills you will gain will come in handy later on.

The translators association from the Golden State states that even if “a degree may not be absolutely necessary, a qualification in translation is important” for several reasons. One of them is that it provides you with a comfortable use of formal techniques and methodology “which will add integrity to your work”. A course will also give you opportunities to get tutoring and feedback on your performance. In the end, a higher education certificate will provide you with the appropriate – and treasured – confidence in the quality of your work. SCATIA reminds that “no course of study will ever be 100% perfect”. It is you who must judge whether it is right one for your needs.

The translation association adds that “apart from the Ivy League schools, most US university courses will provide practice, extended vocabulary and give you confidence in your language”. In the UK, “degree courses are much more focussed on the chosen language and culture”. However, according to SCATIA, “it doesn’t mean they are necessarily better for fulfilling your own requirements”.

The South California interpreters and translators association advises everyone who wants to become a professional in the field to... practice the language. SCATIA says that a language course or a degree or “whatever you feel is appropriate” will always be of help. Another common exercise – but with evidence of success – is to read newspapers and magazines in the respective language. This will not only help you with vocabulary but also with keeping abreast of the culture. Furthermore, you can listen to music and news from the country if you’re able to. It might be useful, in case your finances allow it, to travel to the country as often as possible.

Basic qualifications will help you in the beginning; however, afterwards it will be your experience on the job and your performance as a translator or an interpreter, both freelance and as an employee at a translation company, that will count. You should practice your translations when you don’t have anything to do. It will help you keep sharp for when work comes.

In SCATIA’s view, it is very important to attend local translation events and seminars. Not only will it help you to learn more about different themes, but it will also aid you in the making of contacts in the field of translation and interpretation. Getting involved in your local translators association is another good way to network.

The translation association argues that “there are more opportunities for freelance translators” than for those working for translation agencies.

Keep in mind that in California, as well as in the rest of 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). The population of California is of over 37 million people.

When you fill-in your profile details to become a Lexis member, always choose your mother tongue as your working language. Lexis – Connections with meaning

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