April 1, 2022

MSTI Winter Speaker Series: Academic Language Experts

The MS in Translation and Interpreting (MSTI) collaborated with Academic Language Experts (ALE) on our Winter Speaker Series. In this series, professionals in the translation and interpreting industry spoke to MSTI students, giving wonderful advice and sharing helpful tips for navigating the language professions.

First up was Avi Staiman, founder and CEO of ALE, who spoke to our students about “Building a Business in Academic Translating and Editing.” Avi began with the story of how ALE was founded.

After working as an academic translator for a while, Avi realized, “I’m not an expert in every field. In fact, I’m not an expert in most fields.” Avi advised MSTI students to find a specialization. “Try and think about what you really enjoy,  what you’re really passionate about, outside of translation. [...] For some people, it might be literature. For some people, it might be the automotive industry. For some people, it might be computer science. Think about what else it is you enjoy.” 

Once a translator has a field they’re interested in, they have to be proactive in seeking that out. “If you’re a car geek, sign up for an automotive conference. I promise you that you will be the only translator there, or maybe one of two. It’s not what people are thinking about. [...] If you pick the right conference, you’ll find that people will be coming to you rather than you coming to them.” 

Avi Staiman speaking to MSTI students on Zoom

Next up was Gabrielle Fine, Director of Recruitment and Translator Relations at ALE, on “So You Have Finished Your Translation and Editing Degree. Now What?” Gabrielle focused on networking and availability as a translator. There are so many ways to get in contact–websites, listservs, associations, LinkedIn–but Gabrielle emphasized the importance of being sure that your contact information is always available. “I don’t want to spend three hours looking for your email address. If I can’t find it in two minutes, I’m not going to bother contacting you about a project. Give me all the information, as much as possible.” 

Gabrielle Fine on Zoom

Gabrielle Fine speaking to MSTI students on Zoom

Gabrielle also highlighted the importance of context for the language professions. “The more knowledge you have, the easier it will be for you to do a good translation or edit. Most academics love speaking about their research, so don’t be afraid to ask.” Gabrielle also shared a great tip while working on longer projects: “If you see when you’ve gone through the project that there are a bunch of terms that repeat themselves, put them together in the glossary. If you’re not 100% sure, send it to the client and say, ‘These are the main terms that keep popping up; I want to make sure I have the translation correct at the beginning.’ Send it to them and ask them to approve it early on. It shows you’re being conscientious about it.”

Thanks to Avi Staiman, Gabrielle Fine, and ALE for sharing with the MSTI program’s students! ALE currently has an internship available. If interested, please apply through NYU Handshake.

A translation and interpreting degree can help you to take charge of your career, whether you are new to the field or already working in the language professions. Apply for CALA’s MS in Translation & Interpreting, a fully online, 36-credit graduate program.

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