ITI Profile: Kari Koonin FITI
Having studied languages with a translation/interpreting bias, it never occurred to me to become a freelance translator, but after my daughter was born an opportunity came up to start working freelance and I absolutely loved it.
Not just the act of translating but the freedom of being my own boss and the flexibility that freelancing offers. And I still love it 28 years on!
I joined ITI very soon after going freelance (I was able to gain MITI status having worked as a full-time in-house translator for 3 years previously). I had no direct contacts in industry as a potential source of business, so I depended on translation agency work to become established and being listed in the ITI directory was an essential source of business in my early years.
What else have I gained from ITI membership over the years? Friends, colleagues, contacts, social activities (freelancing can be very isolating), training and learning, personal and professional development opportunities, career progression (working towards and achieving FITI status), opportunities to give back to the profession – my membership has played a key role in getting me where I am today in my career.
My tip for those looking to join the profession: don’t just sit at home working, get out and network, network, network! Both with translator/interpreter colleagues through professional associations such as ITI – word-of-mouth recommendations are an important source of business – and at the industry events where your potential clients hang out. Also, get as much advice from practising colleagues as you can. Everyone is more than happy to share!