10 reasons to join an ITI Network
We all like to feel at home and part of a community. Fiona Gray explains how the ITI Networks achieve just that.
Whether you’ve just joined ITI or you’ve been around for a while, the best way to get nicely settled into your professional home is to find your family. Not sure where to look? Let me point you in the direction of the ITI Networks…
You can check out the long list of networks here on the ITI website or right at the back of the ITI Bulletin. With language, subject and geographical networks (and more) to choose from, there really is something for everyone. And you can join as many of them as you like!
Not sure what to expect? Here are my top ten reasons to join an ITI Network…
Life as a freelance translator or interpreter has the potential to get a bit lonely from time to time. Many of us are working on our own at home and don’t necessarily have colleagues we feel we can turn to. But the ITI Networks are ready-made support networks made up of like-minded professionals ready to welcome you with open arms – no matter how much experience you have or what stage of your career you’re at. You’ll feel right at home before you know it.
You don’t need to have been in a network for long to realise that ITI members are a supportive bunch. Most of the networks have an online forum of some kind so you can ask the rest of the group for advice and draw on their collective wisdom. Know you need to set up your own website but not sure where to start? Hoping someone out there can recommend a podcast relating to your translation specialism? Stuck on an impossible sentence in a tricky translation? Chances are that someone in your ITI Network has the answer and will be more than happy to help. Rule #1: There’s no such thing as a silly question!
ITI encourages its members to log 30 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) in each membership year. And the ITI Networks are a rich source of in-person and online events designed to help you learn and develop. From webinars to workshops and demonstrations to discussions, there are new learning opportunities popping up all the time. These may be super-specific and subject-related or offer more general guidance on how to build your business and take your career to the next level. And the best bit? The networks are usually looking for suggestions from their members so they can deliver the exact CPD they need.
A quick glance at the ITI calendar is enough to tell you that the ITI Networks know how to have a good time too. Fun social events are a staple and you’re never far from a pub lunch, outdoor adventure or afternoon tea. Most of the networks make the most of the online networking opportunities, with some arranging informal chats to give members a chance to catch up and put the world to rights. Sometimes there’s a loose theme and sometimes things go off on a tangent – and that’s perfectly OK! One thing’s for sure – it’s refreshing to spend some of your downtime with like-minded people who really get what you do for a living.
It’s hard to keep on top of everything that’s going on in our professional sphere. ITI is buzzing with events you don’t want to miss out on and then there’s all the news coming from the wider world of translation and interpreting. Surveys, reports, podcasts, webinars, training courses, mentoring schemes, job openings and the list goes on! Members of ITI Networks are always sharing updates with each other – and you can bet they’ll be updates that are directly relevant to you more often than not.
You might not have thought about this benefit, but the ITI Networks can even be a place to pick up work or find someone to collaborate with on an exciting new project. Members often share job opportunities with their networks – whether they don’t have the capacity themselves or a client needs a language pair or specialisation they don’t offer. I started working with one of my favourite direct clients thanks to a recommendation from a colleague in the ITI East Anglia Network. And I found the perfect person to translate my own website into German by putting a call out on the ITI GerNet forum. You never know where your next interesting enquiry is going to come from!
They say two heads are better than one, right? Just imagine what a whole network of translators and interpreters can achieve! We put this to the test twice recently in the ITI East Anglia Network with a Halloween horror writing workshop and a Christmas carol translation challenge. We were all amazed at how working as a group helped our creativity to flow so much more freely. It may be that you need to bounce around a few ideas to come up with a creative translation solution. Or it could be that you’ve thought of an idea for an exciting event or innovative initiative. Never been done before? Explore it within your network and prove it’s possible!
If you’ve been thinking about getting more involved in the ITI community, look no further than the networks for a whole host of opportunities to suit your skills and availability. The network committees are careful to divide the workload up between them, with many of them having clearly defined roles. So you could choose to update the social media accounts, organise events or edit the newsletter. Play to your strengths and choose a role you know you’ll enjoy. And don’t forget to log it all as CPD!
Being an active member of an ITI Network can open up doors for you. When I was first starting out as a freelance translator, I would often volunteer to write up reports on network events for the newsletter or the ITI Bulletin. This was a great way for me to practice writing content for publication and get my name out there. Some networks have started publishing member profiles on their websites and social media accounts. And others organise outreach events with local universities or business communities. The opportunities are endless!
An ITI Network is a safe space where you can feel you really belong. I know I have made lifelong friends and found colleagues I can truly trust. At the last ITI Conference, I realised there was nobody I’d rather sit with at the Gala Dinner than my friends from the ITI East Anglia Network. And we had so much fun and made memories to last a lifetime.
So there you have it. A ready-made community of translators and interpreters you know you can turn to for support and advice. A steady flow of training and development opportunities you can share with like-minded professionals. And a safe space where you can have fun and feel like you belong.
That only leaves one question… Which ITI Network are you going to join first?!