The Translation Tribe

We've both been on the road quite a bit lately -- actually, we have been traveling to workshops and conferences in Europe together, which has been truly fantastic. During our workshops (we do some jointly, and many individually) we like to emphasize how important it is to have great working relationships with your colleagues. These professionals are your friends, your support team, your cheerleading team (if you need them), your linguistic consulting group (think listservs and industry boards), problem-solvers and very oftentimes your friends. Colleagues and friends help you out when you get sick and cannot complete a translation, serve as contractors if you need them, refer work to you, recommend you, help you, etc. We have always invested time into building our relationships with fantastic friends and colleagues around the world, and for the first time during a workshop in London, Judy came up with a catchy term: the translation tribe.
Part of the translation tribe at the Proz conference in Recife, Brazil.
Unfortunately, many times we see some unnecessary fighting and needless disagreements between members of our tribe, be it in person or online. It's certainly true that it's impossible to get along well with everyone, and that there will always be people with whom you cannot agree, and it's fine to disagree. However, rather than weakening each other's position, we think it's crucial to strengthen and build each other up by the power of this international translation tribe. 

So let's make a commitment to each other and to ourselves to treat our translation tribe with all the respect, professionalism and yes, love, it deserves -- even when we disagree. We are not saying, by any stretch of the imagination, that our industry doesn't get along, but we have noticed occasional negative interactions and tones, especially in the online space. However, we think it's important for all of us to have a positive, welcoming place (well, a virtual place) to go to with problems, challenges, and concerns: we should be able to turn to our translation tribe for help and support. 

We think about this quite frequently: that we would never have made it thus far in our careers without the love and support of mentors, more experienced translators, associations, volunteers, and endless hours of advice and support from our friends. We are extraordinarily grateful to be part of this great translation tribe, which is composed of thousands of individuals. Let's all take a moment and thank each other at some point for how far we've come as an industry. We still have a long way to go, but there's no doubt that we are stronger together. No translator is an island, and you truly cannot do it alone. And you don't have to: you've got your translation tribe!

What about you, dear readers? Do you feel like you are part of the translation tribe?


14 comments:

L. Carney said...

Well done once again girls, fully agree with you!

Rosana Bergquist on October 11, 2013 at 11:30 AM said...

Totally agree with this. Time is precious to a translator; let's not waste it!
LOVE the name: Translation Tribe...

Penn Tomassetti on October 11, 2013 at 1:01 PM said...

I really like the name 'translation tribe' as well. It is very fitting.

As a newbie to the trade (or 'tribe'), I have certainly noticed an unusually high level of negativity among translators in various forums, though it can be found in any field.

I actually appreciate those in the tribe who make discouraging remarks in certain contexts, since they do tend to provide motivation for newcomers like me to try harder. That's one way I like to look at it.

I agree with you that respect is a great way to build solid relationships with others in the field.

Thanks for your comments.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on October 11, 2013 at 1:04 PM said...

@L. Carney (Lidia, right?): Thanks so much. Here's to our international translation tribe!

@Rosana: Great to see you here, Rosana -- what a pleasure. Yes, excellent point about time: it is our most precious resource indeed.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on October 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM said...

@Penn: Thanks so much for joining the conversation, and welcome to the tribe. We truly are huge believers of focusing on the positive, as we are convinced that nothing good can possibly come out of focusing on negativity. Sure, sometimes it's great to vent, and it's important to be aware of the downsides of our profession, but we think staying positive is the way to go indeed.

You are right that sometimes negativity pushes newcomers to try harder, but we hope you also find your positive tribe -- actually, you just have!

Stephanie Mitchel on October 11, 2013 at 2:15 PM said...

Of course, of course! I came of age (educationally speaking) before social media, so it was vitally important to belong to groups and chapter groups and just hang out with other translators and interpreters. I met some of my very dearest friends through my work, and I know I'd be nowhere professionally without them. Not to mention the invaluable griping sessions and comparing notes on delicate subjects like ethics, rates and whom (not) to work for.

Eve Bodeux on October 11, 2013 at 8:25 PM said...

Perfect for a bumper sticker :) Very catchy!

EP on October 15, 2013 at 11:24 AM said...

Judging by that picture, it looks like it's more fun translating in Brazil. Let's move the party over to Europe!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on October 16, 2013 at 9:34 AM said...

@Stephanie: Thanks for your insight. We completely agree -- the personal contact was even more crucial before social media, and even today, there's no substitute for spending time with colleagues in person, is there? We are so grateful to everyone who has helped us along the way.

@Eve: We love the way you think. We should look into this...

@EP: Oh yes, the Brazilians know how to live it up for sure, but we also have plenty of fun in good old Europe.

Anna Barbosa on October 18, 2013 at 7:56 AM said...

I'm definitely part of the Translation Tribe and couldn't agree more with you. Let's work together...
My sister and I are both translators and have recently started a working partnership, which is great: inspiring is the word. Working from Brazil, we manage to learn, work, and have fun, here and anywhere.
Loved this post!

Anna Maria Smith on October 30, 2013 at 3:29 AM said...

agree :-)

Alessandra Domenico on October 30, 2013 at 4:02 AM said...

translation tribe :-)

1Globaltranslators on November 19, 2013 at 2:23 AM said...

Another good one. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm joining this conversation about a year late as I'm fairly new to translation (I did a postgraduate degree in translation about a decade ago and then took a detour through financial services before deciding I actually really do want to be a translator!), but I really like the notion of a 'translation tribe'. Living in an out-of-the-way town in the Middle East (my languages are French & Spanish into English) I realise I probably have to rely solely on finding 'online' colleagues, but I'm struggling to make these initial connections. In line wtih the translation tribe idea, I wondered if you knew of any mentor programmes pairing experienced translators and newbies like me? Thanks! Jo.

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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