The future is now

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Standing Out

I started travelling before the Internet was born. To book a flight ticket or a hotel room, you had to go to a travel agency; to learn about a country, to a bookshop. As the Germans say, “Vorfreude ist die schönste Freude” and a thrill of anticipation (“better than the real thing”) materialized in front of shelves with travel guides arranged alphabetically.

In line with the saying, the “real thing” usually turned out to be far less colourful than the pictures in the travel books. The pictures reframed the reality so that most of the “real thing” remained outside the frame. Usually, it was the less thrilling part.

At that time, I discovered that travel books fall into two categories. The predominant type was books that described an ideal world or dealt with the country’s heroic history, extant monuments and age-old culture. Books offering practical advice were few and far between, with only a handful standing out like a sore thumb due to their no-bullshit attitude and deliberate understatement or mildly ironic undertones. I developed an immediate liking for Let’s Go, The Rough Guide and The Lonely Planet, which seemed to celebrate the bright side of travel for easy-going, positive-thinking and low-cost backpackers.

Today, I can understand the criticism of the “lonely planet-ization of travel”, though I still prefer no-frills, feet-on-the-ground paperbacks over all the academic, glossy or kitsch panegyrics so popular during those pre-Internet travel days.

It was the “lonely planet-ization of travel” that became the object of a parody in 2003 when a book by three Australians was published. The book became a huge success in Australia and a cult classic elsewhere provided that Monty Python had already become part of the national cultural DNA.

The guide’s three authors made up an entire country – and wrote a seriously hilarious travel guide about it. After the collapse of the Eastern bloc, Molvanîa opened to foreign tourists, though the risk of visa denial for vegetarians was still high, as was the risk of leaving the country with only one kidney. The Great Wall of Lutenblag, Molvanîa’s ancient capital and home of the bubonic plague, fell down (due to inferior construction materials), meaning backpackers can now follow in the footsteps of invaders from the past: Molvanîa was previously conquered by Goths, Tatars, Huns and militant Spanish nuns. The Romans were scared off by a description of Molvanian women and the taste of the national beverage – a mixture of garlic brandy and beetroot juice.

If you have never heard of Molvanîa, you will now have an idea of this country. You may also guess how the sequels to “Molvanîa” unfold – mock travel guides for Phaic Tăn (a country that went through many political changes from Enlightened Feudalism to Post-Communist Yoga and Pilates) and the Democratic Free People’s United Republic of San Sombrèro (where you can get arrested without a warrant for calling the country just “San Sombrèro” as an abbreviated form).

From a linguist’s point of view, all three countries are quite interesting. In Molvanian, for example, articles change their form depending on whether a noun is masculine, feminine, neuter, or a type of cheese. Phaic Tănese is a tonal language with quite a few unusual sounds (the use of certain tones is governmentally restricted) and an average speed of 192 syllables per minute, whereas San Sombrèran is a fascinating dialect of Spanish that is spoken really, really fast (it is considered impolite to take a breath during a sentence).

However, it is not linguistic idiosyncrasies that motivate me to recall these books. My memory of Molvanîa is tied to a number of bookstores where “Molvanîa: A Land Untouched by Modern Dentistry” (Jetlag Travel Publishing, 2003) landed on the shelf alongside travel guides for Mongolia and Montenegro or among other books in the “Balkans” section.

Yet, my brightest memory of Molvanîa goes back to a further education academy in Germany where I used to work as an interpreter for foreign students. One day, the Head of the Eastern European Department discovered the book in the staffroom. Why didn’t we mention Molvanîa in our image brochure, he asked the teachers who were grading their students’ papers or drinking coffee in front of their computers. “Actually, the Molvanian students I met at the reception ceremony a month ago would make for a perfect cover picture if we want to update our booklet next time,” he added.

I have no remembrance of the reaction of the faculty members in the staff room. Quite probably, there was none. The Boss may be wrong or even embarrassingly wrong, but he is still the Boss. Perhaps, you had better keep a serious poker face if your boss seems to take this or that seriously. Or sit on the fence and wait until someone else spots the bluff.

Molvanîa is a very clear-cut case, though. A clearing in the jungle of far more intricate cases and borderline stories. Today, you never know if the emperor truly puts on his new clothes or puts on an act and plays an haute couture spoof.

Similar to "Vorfreude" ("joyful anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures"), another German word that you have to describe verbosely in English is "Fremdschämen”. According to the Wictionary it means “to be embarrassed because someone else has embarrassed himself (and doesn't notice)”. It was certainly embarrassing to take Molvanîa for a country somewhere in the Balkans, but far more embarrassing to witness your boss praising the Molvanian emerging market. My feeling of “Fremdschämen” would have probably been most acute, if someone had tried to sell tickets to Molvanîa. Or if I had happened to encounter people willing to buy some.

No industry is immune to selling and buying into the Molvanian stuff. Ittakestwototango, like they say in San Sombrèro. Regardless the industry, it takes both sellers AND buyers to make it happen, preferably more buyers than sellers. In the translation business, for example, a rough how-to guide for selling tickets could be like this.

Start up a forum for freelancers, welcome your visitors as friends and colleagues. A community of colleagues is great for recruiting customers. But first, you should show that you can teach them a few things.

Your fellow translators might not realise that teaching something may be easier than practicing something. Contrary to what they may think, teaching is possible with no expertise in the subject. You don’t have to talk about the nuts and bolts of translation, you can craft your pitch like a translation guru with any translation-unrelated, general, positive and uplifting insights. Cues like "invisible energy" or "secret toolkit/mindset" won't impress those who are way too familiar with motivation teachers (or esoteric book shops). But to tap into a new, unspoiled Molvanian market, they will be the real thing. Call it personal development.

Personal development works much the same for aspiring real estate agents, amateur traders of the E-Mini S&P futures or freelance translators just starting out. Start teaching your colleagues (now hopefully followers). Teach them Attitude. Teach Authenticity. Throw in a couple more “A”s (but avoid “Amateurishness” or “Agency”). Now you have a philosophy with a nice combination of the “A” characters in place.

You can never be too generic or hollow. Turn your style, your mood, your pitch up to 11. If your followers are willing to stand out, they should stand more. Feed them truisms about a life-enriching freelancing lifestyle (with or without dabbling in translation). Keep the advice to hug trees to become better translators for later, though.

Use images, ignore what professional photographers and graphic designers tell you about Terrible Photography Clichés Like That One Full Color Item In a B&W Photo and other no-nos. Kitsch works. Share some of the Molvanian art.

Use videos. Some people might take them for a parody of psychobabble. Others, more impressionable, will take them at face value. Add some easy-listening sounds – someone will find them Zen or phaic-tan-tonic. Compile reviews and testimonials. Still better, essays. Your followers would be happy to contribute: when you are done with coaching translators you can start teaching feel-good copywriting instead. Or wholesome typesetting. Or Traveling through the Seven Circles of the Freelance Mandala. Above all, capitalize the opportunity to sell books and webinars. Later, you can think of diversifying into therapeutic gardening. Or growing olives and making goat's milk cheese at home instead.

Now you are all set and ready for the journey. Tell your followers (now hopefully your clients) that your journey will be a fascinating one. Say: “I want you to come with me to Molvanîa. We will travel through your Inner World first. Then we will go to Phaic Tăn. I think that Phaic Tăn is a really good place for us to travel together.”

You can add, as an afterthought: “By the way, did you know that the country’s name means “fruitful ground deep beneath the waterline” in Molvanian? Actually, they grow nice olives there. Be sure to taste some. In Phaic Tăn they grow papaya. Green AND black. We should try both.”


Die Konsolidierung schreitet voran. Das gilt gleichermaßen für viele Branchen, ebenso für unsere „Sprachindustrie“. Darunter verstehe ich nicht nur die üblichen Verdächtigen, sprich Übersetzungsagenturen, traditionell eher auf den Handel mit Sprachdienstleistungen aller Art spezialisiert, sondern vielmehr die Produzenten, die eigentliche industrielle Kraft unserer Branche. Mit anderen Worten: Die fortschreitende Konsolidierung umfasst auch freiberufliche Dolmetscher und Übersetzer, genauer genommen, deren Verbände.

Vor einigen Wochen haben sich Übersetzer und Dolmetscher in Norddeutschland zu einem Landesverband (LV) zusammengeschlossen. BDÜ Nord (die Seite vom LV Bremen und Niedersachsen wird demnächst überarbeitet) ist ein überregionaler Landesverband unter dem Dach des BDÜ, der zahl- und einflussreichsten Vereinigung deutscher Sprachdienstleister. Die Gründung war überfällig: Warum der BDÜ, als der Bundesverband qualifizierter Dolmetscher und Übersetzer bundesweit agierend, nicht auch in Hamburg und Schleswig-Holstein formal präsent war, ist für Außenstehende nicht nachvollziehbar.

Im neuen BDÜ LV Nord gilt mein Interesse primär der Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, insbesondere den Netzwerken und sozialen Medien. Zwar habe ich bewusst die Entscheidung getroffen, für den Vorstand für PR und Social Media zu kandidieren, jedoch war ich wenig vorbereitet, mich vor der Mitgliederversammlung in Bremen vorzustellen. Umso mehr meine Dankbarkeit an all diejenigen, die mir ihr Vertrauen geschenkt und ihre Stimme gegeben haben. Ein paar einleitende Worte zu meinem Aufgabenfeld (und wie ich es verstehe) bin ich ihnen schuldig. Soviel zum Anlass dieses Blogeintrags.

Eine hohe Mitgliederzahl bedeutet eine große Vielfalt, aber auch große Unterschiede. Unter anderem in bezug auf die Einstellung zu und Nutzung von sozialen Netzwerken und Internet insgesamt. Laut einer informellen Facebook-Umfrage des schwedischen Übersetzers Erik Hansson haben etwa 60 % der freiberuflichen Dolmetscher und Übersetzer keine eigene Website. Mein Eindruck ist, dass der gleiche Prozentsatz, wenn nicht sogar ein niedrigerer, auch im Falle einer Umfrage in unserem Verband zustande käme. Die Anzahl derjenigen, die in sozialen Netzwerken beruflich und privat unterwegs sind, ist vermutlich noch geringer.

Eben kommt eine Meldung vom BDÜ-Landesverband Sachsen-Anhalt, der die Meinung, die sozialen Netzwerke würden beruflich wenig taugen, als Irrtum darstellt. Ob die Nutzenargumentation pro Xing und andere Plattformen ausreicht, die zweifelnden Mitglieder umzustimmen, sei dahingestellt. Zwar wird die unten zitierte Empfehlung zum Irrtum erklärt, doch ist es einfacher, ihr zu folgen (was viele KollegInnen ohnehin, mit oder ohne Empfehlung, tun): „Verlieren Sie … nicht zu viel Zeit auf solchen Websites, sondern knüpfen und pflegen Sie Kontakte lieber persönlich. Besuchen Sie Kunden, melden Sie sich zu Seminaren an, gehen Sie auf Messen etc.“

Meine Meinung dazu ist ganz pragmatisch. So wie in dem Posting von unseren Kollegen aus Sachsen-Anhalt taucht der Begriff Social Media immer häufiger im Zusammenhang mit „beruflichen Zwecken“ auf: Es geht um Neukunden und darum wie man „Aufträge an Land zieht“. In der Tat: Kaum ein anderes Thema beschäftigt uns, Freiberufler, mehr als die Kundenakquise. Und jedesmal, wenn die Frage gestellt wird, wie kommt man an neue Kunden, wird über Werbekampagnen, Networking, WOM (word-of-mouth, neudeutsch für Mund-zu-Mund-Propaganda), Kundenansprache auf Messen usw. hin und her diskutiert. Dabei muss ich immer an einen augenzwinkernden Chinesen denken, von dem ich mal den Spruch hörte: „you hunt, we catch“.

Ich weiß nicht, wie es euch geht, aber ich bekomme ständig Anfragen von potentiellen Neukunden, die mich über meine Website finden. Diese „Entdeckung" schulden sie den Suchmaschinen, allen voran Google. Dass die Suchmaschinen meine Website als Treffer anzeigen, wenn der Kunde nach bestimmten Kriterien sucht, liegt daran, dass die Inhalte auf dieser Seite offensichtlich als relevant eingestuft werden. Und das wiederum liegt daran, dass auf meine Seite von anderen Seiten verlinkt wird und die Inhalte mit den Themen bzw. Schlüsselworten auf anderen, ebenso relevanten Seiten korrespondieren. Zwar gehören die Google-Algoritmen angeblich zu dem meist gehüteten Geheimnissen unserer Zeit, jedoch ist die Rolle der Foren und der sozialen Netzwerke dabei unumstritten.

Auf das Risiko hin, dass das Fazit etwas plakativ-populistisch klingt: Keine ausgeklügelten SEO-Tricks, sondern Inhalte und Aktivitäten in Foren und auf anderen Seiten, darunter auch in sozialen Netzwerken, sind entscheidend, ob potentielle Kunden euer Angebot im Netz finden und auf euch aufmerksam gemacht werden. Im Falle unseres Verbandes ist es ein kollektives, in seiner Vielfalt kaum zu schlagendes Angebot, dass sowohl nach innen (an seine Mitglieder), als auch nach außen (an alle Kunden und Interessenten) gerichtet ist. Es hängt also von uns allen ab, ob der BDÜ als die erste Adresse für qualitativ hochwertige Sprachdienstleistungen auffindbar und sichtbar wird.

Im Klartext: Ich finde es schon nett, wenn unsere potentiellen Kunden auf der Suche nach einem geeigneten Dolmetscher oder Übersetzer nicht in erster Linie das vermittelnde Gewerbe, sondern unseren Verband auf der ersten Trefferseite finden. Das ist gut für unsere Kunden und für unsere Mitglieder (obwohl zugegebenermaßen die Online-Datenbank der BDÜ-Übersetzer und -Dolmetscher stark verbesserungsbedürftig ist).

Je präsenter der Verband im Internet ist, je häufiger die entsprechenden Webseiten erwähnt und referenziert, sprich verlinkt, werden, desto größer die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass der BDÜ und seine Mitglieder von Kunden gefunden werden. Ob man auf solchen Seiten wie Xing „zu viel Zeit verliert“ (siehe Zitat oben) oder nicht, hängt also davon ab, wie konstruktiv man seine Zeit und diese Seiten nutzt. Auch davon, ob man gelegentlich an die Wirkung von keywords und backlinks denkt. Selbstverständlich gilt es für alle öffentlichen Netzwerke, ebenso für die eigenen BDÜ-Foren, vorausgesetzt dass sie offen sind. Noch wichtiger ist es, nicht nur dort präsent zu sein, wo sich überwiegend Übersetzer und Dolmetscher austauschen, sondern wo unsere Kunden – unsere Zielgruppen – sozialnetzwerkmäßig unterwegs sind.

Die sozialen Medien heißen „social“ und nicht „corporate“, weil sie von vielen Individuen, mit ihren persönlichen Stimmen und Meinungen getragen werden. Das Potential eines mitgliederstarken, von gemeinsamen Interessen geleiteten Verbandes ist gerade in diesem Bereich enorm. Das Bedürfnis, eigene Privatsphäre zu schützen und bei dem einen oder anderen Meinungsaustausch unter sich zu bleiben, ist verständlich und legitim. Dass einige Bereiche nur für Mitglieder zugänglich sein sollen, steht außer Frage. Nichtsdestotrotz: Alle Inhalte, die aus dem einen oder anderen Grund unter der Decke gehalten werden, sind für das Ziel einer pragmatisch betrachteten, am Marketing orientierten Öffentlichkeitsarbeit – Bekannt- und Gefundenwerden – kontraproduktiv. Bleibt man unter sich, verschließt man sich gegebenenfalls auch den potentiellen Kunden.

Betrachtet man die Suchmaschinenoptimierung als die Gesamtheit all der Maßnahmen, die helfen, eigene Webseiten im organischen Ranking nach vorne zu bringen, so besteht für unseren Verband die wichtigste SEO-Aufgabe darin, möglichst viele Mitglieder zu einer offenen, aktiveren Nutzung von Social Media und zu mehr Präsenz im Internet zu animieren. Allein dadurch entsteht mehr natürlicher, relevanter Content, als was die SEO-gesteuerten Seiten durch eine höhere Suchwortdichte künstlich zu generieren versuchen.

Also nochmals, liebe KollegInnen: ganz pragmatisch bedeuten soziale Netzwerke in ihrer Folge mehr natürlicher, relevanter Content und ein höheres Ranking, im buchstäblichen und übertragenen Sinne. Daraus ergeben sich bessere Chancen, von Kunden gefunden zu werden, als Verband, als Einzelmitglieder, als ÜbersetzerInnen und DolmetscherInnen für entsprechende Thematiken, Spezialisierungen und Sprachkombinationen. Selbstverständlich schließt das „passive" Gefundenwerden all die anderen, „aktiven" Marketingempfehlungen (Kontakte pflegen, Kunden auf Messen besuchen…) keineswegs aus. Aber denkt daran: Marketing, ähnlich wie Tourismus, kann sowohl „outgoing“, als auch „incoming“ sein. Die chinesische Weisheit, finde ich, bringt es auf den Punkt.

ADÜ Nord, Assoziierte Übersetzer und Dolmetscher in Norddeutschland

I was extremely pleased to find out that my impressions of the IAPTI Second International Conference virtually coincide with those of Kevin Lossner (“Surprises from the IAPTI 2014 conference in Athens”). The same goes for my understanding of IAPTI, its role and place among professional organizations and, generally, in the language services industry nowadays. In contrast to my friend Kevin, I wouldn't call it a surprise. Today, IAPTI is probably the only global and most vocal representative of hopes and concerns shared by translators and interpreters worldwide – that has been my conviction ever since I became an IAPTI member and long before the Athens conference.

The element of surprise that I had in mind when titling this blog post refers to another organization. “In the past when some friends asked my advice about joining professional organizations, I consistently advised them to focus on the large, established groups such as the ATA, ITI, IoL, SFT, BDÜ, AdÜ Nord, etc.“, wrote Kevin. Whereas my knowledge of the first four in this list is only from hearsay, my experience with the other two is first-hand. In fact, I have been member of BDÜ and ADÜ Nord in Germany for many years. The organization that gave me a surprise, just a few days ago, is ADÜ Nord.

Here are some basic facts for reference, before I start my account.

ADÜ Nord was set up as a spin-off from BDÜ, Germany’s largest association of language professionals, some twenty-plus years ago. The spin-off was caused by internal strife with BDÜ, a David’s fight against Goliath, and resulted in then Goliath’s, that is BDÜ’s, complete withdrawal from Hamburg, the rebellious city-state. The relationship between both associations has been loaded with tension ever since. In particular, BDÜ’s recent plans to re-establish its regional subsidiary in Hamburg were sharply criticized by ADÜ’s board and even branded as “expansionist ambitions” of André Lindemann, BDÜ’s president. At the moment, ADÜ Nord is clearly positioned as a regional association of translators and interpreters in Hamburg and North Germany and has a membership of about 350. The current chairperson, Georgia Mais, was elected at the 2013 general assembly where 41 members (round 10%) were present for the vote. The annual membership fee is €190.

I have been an ADÜ Nord member for more than 10 years, but the story I am writing about started last summer, when I went to a meet-up of fellow translators in downtown Hamburg. There and then, I had a lengthy talk with Georgia Mais, ADÜ’s chairperson.

My growing concern about ADÜ Nord was the organization’s inability to make its presence felt, even on its home ground. If you google up Übersetzer und Dolmetscher in Norddeutschland, what the association's name in German actually stands for, the websites that show up in the first search results will be those of Across (!), BDÜ, etc. Respectable municipal and University websites like “” or “” will be followed by rather dodgy, but obviously SEO-savvy translation agencies. It is highly unlikely, though, that you find ADÜ Nord, the association of translators and interpreters based in North Germany, on top of the list of Google searches.

You won't find ADÜ Nord, the association of translators and interpreters based in North Germany, on top of the list of Google searches for translators.

Although ADÜ has an online directory of translators and interpreters on its website (only in German), you won’t easily come across it when looking for a professional translator or interpreter, even if limiting your search to Hamburg. As an individual professional, you have far better chances to be found by prospects if you are listed in an online directory of BDÜ, but ADÜ… To tell the truth, with quite a decent double digit number of new enquiries monthly, I have yet to meet a direct client who ever heard of ADÜ.

Unfortunately, the issue of visibility – resulting in the marketing opportunities lost – never seemed to be a concern for ADÜ. I remember contacting the association’s board about the database project that we were so thrilled about in late 2012 (“Something A-Changin’?”). At that time, there was no response. All my ruminations about ADÜ’s zero visibility were met with sheer incomprehension of why it matters to be found in Google searches!

Another concern that I tried to address when talking with Georgia Mais a year ago was lack of communication channels for ADÜ members. In fact, ADÜ’s zero visibility to external parties went hand in hand with its inability to communicate within the organization and provide an open communication platform or have a presence in social media. Again, the subject of internal communication is usually brushed off with arguments that indicate a failure to understand the significance or, at worst, sheer ignorance of what today’s networks mean, both for the organization and its individual members. In their email dated October 3, the association’s board plainly states: “We cannot understand that ADÜ lacks communication channels”. Well, “you cannot not communicate”, as Paul Watzlawik once said. But it looks like ADÜ’s leading members with their bold “yes, we can” have set out to refute this statement.

Since our first meeting in summer 2013, I had several telephone conversations with Georgia Mais. I had to explain the difference between an online discussion forum and a Yahoo mail list. I felt compelled to press the case of Facebook users who, contrary to Georgia’s belief, were not necessarily a bunch of teenagers gossiping or being nasty about each other. I felt like I had to dispel fears (that I never suspected to exist) and point out benefits (that would seem too obvious for most fellow translators and interpreters who I am personally familiar with). I even sent Ms Mais an email with a link to my blog post with a record of the discussion of CAT tools that took place in one of the popular Facebook groups.

Again, there was no response. In fact, the conversations that I had with Georgia Mais (and several other ADÜ members) made me increasingly feel like an O’Henry-esque character promoting the railroad as a revolutionary means of transportation. “Well, you can board a train in Chicago in the evening and arrive in Cincinnati at 5 a.m. next morning, what d'you say to that?”, argues the preacher of the steam-powered age. The reply leaves no room for further argumentation: “But what the hell are you supposed to do in Cincinnati at 5 a.m.?!” It would have been funny if it were not so sad. I am no preacher nor a motivational speaker. I simply have no answers to such questions. The conversation ends.

An overnight trip might be not a good simile when talking about an organization with a history of twenty-plus years. Nevertheless, ADÜ’s history is also a journey of some kind. Whereas the point of departure still remains a memorable event, the further route becomes fuzzier and slower, the destination unclear. The days when the journey started are bygone, but the move into a new age is never made. More and more travellers get off the train.

There is something charming about the stubborn refusal to move with the times, but this charm is better suited to fiction, not the reality of a globalized industry and the challenges that a professional association has to tackle today. Yet, being stuck in the glorious past of a David’s fight against a Goliath and confining itself to the narrow, provincial and rather irrelevant, scope of a “regional identity” seem to be the two only noticeable core assets of ADÜ. You cannot add zero visibility and the lack of a discussion culture (or opportunities for an open discussion) to the list of benefits to the association’s members nowadays, can you?

Having failed to make my points clear in our first conversation more than a year ago, I promised Georgia Mais – if I make up my mind to resign from ADÜ – to write an article about my experience and reasons for Infoblatt, ADÜ’s bimonthly magazine. And so I did. That is to say, I both resigned and wrote my article explaining the reasons for my resignation. On September 1, I submitted my article to the editorial board of Infoblatt, which, as it turned out, is now headed also by Georgia Mais as editor-in-chief.

Übersetzer in Hamburg, Zeitschrift ADÜ

Well, any editor is free to accept or decline a publication offer. ADÜ’s board didn’t care to inform me of their decision to publish (or not) my article, titled “Why I Resign – Open Letter to ADÜ Nord”, in Infoblatt. Instead, they used it as a PDF attachment to their mass email with the invitation to a “strategy workshop” and the board’s official reply to my “open letter”.

I am not going to fret over the fact that this mass emailing of my article was done without my consent, though this may be quite shocking for any author and journalist, especially in Germany, a country with an obsession about proper handling, use and dissemination of digital data and intellectual property. I probably spend 90 percent of my working time as a German to Russian translator, but when I write a magazine article, I do feel as an author and journalist. Considering the thinning out of meaningful content in Infoblatt, anyone who volunteers deserves to be treated as such, in the very least.

Imagine someone submitting an article for publication in a magazine that the magazine’s editor decides to email to everyone on her email list.
Imagine a magazine editor who refuses to see the difference between a publication in her magazine and mass emailing of the submitted content.

My apologies for my lack of imagination. In my case, that turned out to be a surprise!

But enough of that…

I am seriously convinced that the future our profession lies in effective communication. As translators and interpreters, we don’t merely replace words and idioms of one language with those of another. We help our clients communicate with their audience, get the message across and achieve the desired results. An organization that fails to embrace the value of communication or the organization’s board who openly admit to have “no time” for that (as they did in their reply to my article) cannot lay claim to represent their members, professionals in language communication.

Luckily, ADÜ seems to be an exception among professional organizations that I have first-hand experience with. I started this post with a reference to IAPTI, but BDÜ in Germany, too, made decent headway toward more openness and professionalization. Like Kevin, if asked about professional associations, I would recommend “to focus on the large, established groups”. I just think Kevin’s list needs a bit of an adjustment. And I think this list would become shorter over time.

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