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Episode 16: State of the FLD June 2020
Cathy-Eitel Nzume: Hello and welcome. This is Cathy-Eitel Nzume, host of the Continuing Education Series, a podcast we produce as a benefit for the members of the French Language Division of the American Translators Association. This series tries to offer educational content about the craft of French to English and English to French translation and, of course, about our division.
For today’s episode, it is my pleasure to welcome our wonderful administrator, Jenn Mercer, and Andie Ho, our dedicated assistant administrator, for our state of the French Language Division session.
Jenn Mercer: Thanks for having us.
Andie Ho: Thank you for having us.
Cathy-Eitel Nzume: You’re welcome! We have so many things to talk about today, I’m not sure where to start. Jenn, would you like to start off by telling our members about the highlights of the year?
Jenn Mercer: This is not a year that is bursting with highlights, but one big change that I think everyone has heard is that we have a new podcast host. Thanks, Cathy-Eitel; welcome to the team. Otherwise, I think we have all been adjusting to the new normal in many cases. Some of us have less work, some of us are maybe doing a different variety of work. Interpreters are being forced to adjust to either a lot of remote work or going onto the front lines with healthcare workers. Hats off to all of them!
Cathy-Eitel Nzume: Jenn, I recently joined the Discord platform. Can you tell us about FLD’s online presence, social media, websites, and new platforms, such as Discord? As a reminder, this is all managed by the volunteers of our Leadership Council. Can you tell us what the Council has been up to, or can you tell us what are the rules and the purpose of the new platforms? I know these are a lot of questions at the same time, but could you please tell us a little bit about our online presence?
Andie Ho: I’m going to jump in here and talk about our website, and that is at www.ata-divisions.org/FLD/. There you will find information about the Leadership Council, upcoming events, and our blog/newsletter, which is being run by Ben Karl; he is doing a great job at that. We have our Twitter account, which is @ATA_FLD. We have our Facebook group, which is ATA French Language Division. That one you have to be an FLD member for, so if you just click to join the group, you will be let into it once it is confirmed that you are a member. We have our LinkedIn page, and that one is called French Language Division of the American Translators Association. And then we have our listserv, our email list, which has moved. It is now under Groups.io, instead of the Yahoo group that we used to be under. If you are not subscribed, and you would like to subscribe, contact me or Jenn, at divisionfld [at] atanet [dot] org and we will get you all set up.
Jenn has news about our new social media options.
Jenn Mercer: This is a very isolating time because of the coronavirus. Myself, I work in an office all alone, what would be different? But somehow it still is. Because of that isolation and because it sounded like fun, we started a monthly zoom meeting. We have established a regular schedule now; it’s going to be on the second Thursday of each month. It’s hosted by Eve Bodeux, who is our former French Language Division administrator. You can find information for that on the FLD mailing list, the listserv we mentioned before. It is on Facebook, and you can also find it on our new Discord server. The Zoom meeting is once a month, but Discord is available anytime you feel like chatting. If you are familiar with Slack, Discord is a lot like that, but it is just a smaller, simpler server. You can get an invite link for that in the monthly announcements for our social networking, or, again, you can email divisionfld [at] atanet [dot] org and we will get you connected. Both this and the Zoom sessions are FLD member benefits, so just for us. There are rules posted in the Discord chat, but if you are familiar at all with FLD and the ATA, you probably know a lot of these already: be respectful, be professional, and never, ever discuss specific rates in any form.
Cathy-Eitel Nzume: Thank you so much, Jenn. Andie, sadly we are all aware of what is going on around the world right now, namely, the world is facing the challenging COVID-19 virus. Have you been keeping busy during the quarantine?
Andie Ho: Keeping busy hasn’t been the problem, the issue for me has been staying sane! A friend of mine put it really well yesterday. He said, “no matter what your situation is at home, there is some aspect of your life that makes quarantine and the pandemic especially hard for you.” Whether you have kids or you don’t have kids, you are living with someone or you don’t live with someone, somehow you have some sort of exacerbating circumstance. Personally, to be completely honest, I spent March in denial about Covid, and then I spent April hyperventilating. Like many, though not all, translators, and especially interpreters, my business is at an all-time low. But now that I have had some time to collect myself and my thoughts, I have reached the acceptance phase, as I call it, of this crisis. Now I am focusing on improving my business, whether that is through continuing education and webinars, or redesigning my website. I am also thinking about the future, about what things I can do now so that I can pull the trigger on them once the economy comes back and once things become somewhat normal again. I’m not going to lie, the pandemic has been pretty hard on me; but I am an optimist by nature—I continue to hold out hope that we will come out of this better than before. That said, I would be remiss not to mention that we have FLD members and ATA members who have been personally hit by COVID-19, or who have had family members come down with it, and even die from it. I am confident that I speak for everyone when I say that our hearts go to those colleagues of ours. Stay strong, stay healthy everybody.
Cathy-Eitel Nzume: Absolutely, thank you. Our hearts go out to all of the people who have been affected by this disease. Jenn, I have heard from many fellow translators that the corona crisis has also had a big impact on their workload. I know I share the same issue. Can you tell us how it has been for you, how you think it will affect the ATA convention in Boston—any word on that? Do you have any suggestions for our fellow colleagues?
Jenn Mercer: My situation, Andy said it really well. She mentioned she is in the acceptance phase. I started off in the denial phase. I said, lockdown, seriously, how is that different from my normal life? I work from home already…. Until I realized that no one was contacting me. No. One. So, I have absolutely seen a decline. I have started to see some tiny signs of life in different corners than I usually work, but I’m not complaining. I think none of us can really say for sure what things will be like in October. Personally, I have not made plans, I am just waiting to see what happens. I have a couple of quotes from a recent ATA board meeting. I don’t speak for ATA, but these are some things to keep in mind. This is from the treasurer:
Our initial estimates of potential losses for the Boston conference indicate that cancelling at this time would result in the greatest loss; holding an in-person event would result in a smaller loss, and holding a hybrid event would result in the smallest loss. At this time, we assume we will have a loss for all 2020 models.
I think we all feel that deeply. Also:
Although the situation is changing really fast, it has been determined that there will be an online component for the 2020 annual conference.
That is information I have. I think we can all understand that is only some information. As admin, I saw a lot of exciting ideas for the French track coming through. I’m actually starting to hear from people who have received acceptances. It sounds great. I just don’t know what form it will take. Also, of course, we all need to be concerned about our own health and risk factors, as well as, some of us, our finances might not be as robust, and you always have to take a look at your own situation, and your own health, in anything, I think.
Cathy-Eitel Nzume: Thank you. As a reminder of what we have accomplished so far, the Continuing Education Series aired fantastic episodes about legal translation, sustainable development, genealogy, and even a translation slam. As for the upcoming ATA annual conference, we are accepting suggestions from all members and non-members who would like to share their knowledge with the division and other colleagues during the conference. Don’t be scared! No public speaking experience is necessary. If you are interested, please email us at divisionfld [at] atanet [dot] org. We are interested in all topics, all subjects. Speaking of topics, we have one English to French topic about poorly written source content that needs a guest speaker. If you are interested in discussing terrible source content, or anything else, please get in touch.
Thank you, Jenn. Andie, thank you so much for joining me today. Have a great summer and, hopefully, see you soon in Boston.
Jenn Mercer: Thanks.
Andie Ho: Hope to see you there!
Cathy-Eitel Nzume: This concludes our episode for today. You can subscribe to the Continuing Education Series podcasts on SoundCloud at soundcloud.com/ata-fld or on iTunes by searching for Continuing Education Series in the iTunes store. You can contact the FLD at divisionfld [at] atanet [dot] org. Visit our website at www.ata-divisions.org/fld or get in touch with us on social media. This is Cathy-Eitel Nzume signing off. Thanks for listening, et à bientôt.
ATA Podcast host Cathy-Eitel Nzume is a certified French to English and English to French Court Interpreter, translator, Department of State Certified Linguist and legal professional. She specializes in legal and conference interpreting as well as legal and financial translation. You can find her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cathyeitelnzume/ or on Twitter at @CathyENzume.
Andie Ho is a certified French to English translator specializing in the food industry. She earned her M.A. in translation from Kent State University and is now based in the Houston area. She currently serves as the ATA’s French Language Division administrator. You can follow her on Twitter at @JHawkTranslator or email her at andie [at] andiehotranslations [dot] com.
Jenn Mercer is a certified French to English translator.
Transcribed by Virginia (Ginny) Layton-Leal. She is a French and Spanish to English translator specialized in wellness and evidence-based complimentary medicine, and a French and Spanish medical interpreter with experience in medical examiner and medical weight loss interpreting. She holds a Certificate in Professional Translation and Interpreting (Spanish) from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a BA in Romance Languages (French/Spanish) from Mount Holyoke College. She is a member of ATA and NETA. When Ginny is not working with words, you will find her at an East Coast swing dance.