Strength in Numbers: How joining a professional association benefits you, your clients and your field

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Are you looking to establish and build a new career as a translator or interpreter or are you an already an established professional looking for ways to continue your professional development? Interested in becoming more actively engaged in your chosen field of translation or interpretation? Membership in a professional association has numerous benefits for both early career translators and interpreters and more seasoned professionals. 

Some of the benefits of joining a professional association are practical and tangible. A professional association is a trusted source for clients seeking translators and interpreters, so being included in a respected association’s directory will make it easy for prospective clients to find you. Membership, whether at an associate or certified level, also designates you as a professional in your field. This indicates to prospective clients and employers that you have a certain level of experience and training. ATIA members undergo an application and certification process tailored to their specialization. There are five categories of ATIA membership: Translator, Court Interpreter, Community Interpreter, Medical Interpreter, and Conference Interpreter, and members may attain certification in multiple categories. 

In addition to standardized membership requirements and certification, many associations offer professional development opportunities and resources such as seminars and webinars. ATIA has offered webinars in topics ranging from exam preparation, to how to freelance as a translator, to elevating your English grammar skills, as well as mini-courses on different specializations within the field of translation and interpretation. 

Other advantages of involvement in a professional association, such as collegiality and a deeper engagement with your chosen field, are less tangible but are still important to developing a successful and rewarding career. For younger professionals, joining an organization opens opportunities to network, learn their new industry, and access a degree of professionalization while building early career experience. It is often recent graduates and new professionals who are most likely to seek and utilize networking opportunities, but experienced professionals should not underestimate the importance of collegiality and connection. Participating in a professional association is a way to maintain and develop professional connections and to stay in touch with industry developments and news. Ongoing learning and active engagement keep skills fresh and careers dynamic.   

Professional organizations, whether at a provincial level such as the ATIA or national, contribute to the health and strength of the entire professional field. By developing and implementing standardized certifications and Codes of Ethics, professional associations maintain the quality and consistency of the field, protecting the interests of both clients and providers. Standardized certification and regulation ensures that the expertise that translators and interpreters work hard to attain is recognized as a profession. It also ensures that clients and employers are able to connect with consistent, quality services. A professional association’s strength is in its members, though! Each individual who joins a professional association contributes to making that association a robust and active presence in its field.

 The Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta is itself a member of the Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC), and through the CTTIC is affiliated with the International Federation of Translators (FIT). To find out more about the ATIA membership categories and the membership process, check out the Membership page.