Although there is no statutory obligation making it compulsory for translators and interpreters in France to acquire on-going training, it’s our professional duty to keep up to date regarding developments in our fields of specialization. Not only is this good professional practice, it also makes our job easier when we are hired at short notice and are not given a lot of time for preparation.
photo credit: robertpaulyoung
I interpret on a fairly regular basis in Agriculture and other closely related fields –biotech plants and biofuels– and I therefore I need to keep tabs on what is happening in those areas, not only in the obvious areas of world markets trends and the present food situation, but also more down-to-earth subjects such as farming techniques, plant biology and pathology, pests, farmers’ income. This by the way fits nicely with my other area of interest, rural development.
NPR has a series of short podcasts on the US Farm Bill, which is still under discussion, despite the fact that it should have been finalized and adopted in 2007. There was also an interesting link to a fairly general, but complete description of the Farm Bill history and content, dating back to last fall. The New York Times also runs articles on food and the development of biofuels in the United States on a regular basis. The recent unhappy state of affairs in world markets has not sprung on us suddenly, it’s been in the making for some time, but only when people start rioting do the general media start to take notice.
This is only part of our ‘general’ on-going preparation. Looking at what happens in the World Trade Organization, at the future of the Common Agricultural Policy in the European Union, at developments in Eastern European countries, amongst others, is only a part of the knowledge that a translator in this field needs to build.
This is just the framework. When we are preparing a specific conference, and therefore a specific topic, more specialized documents have to be read and analyzed. Those effectively used in the meeting are normally provided by the client or organizer. But more is sometimes needed. That’s when the power of the Internet reveals itself fully. How otherwise could we access, for instance, the mass of documents available within the European Union? EU Directives and many other webpages provide the necessary background and explanations, and much of the terminology needed. This involves a lot of searching, but it’s also much more specific and focused than press articles.
Not to forget other sources of information, such as podcasts, which are now widely available.