An in-person and online Social Saturday event
I attended this event as, during my long career, I have on several occasions been called upon to translate some documents or sections of documents with which I was not as comfortable as those relating to my specialism of [re]insurance and contracts. This was particularly the case when translating larger volumes of insurance texts, which might then for example contain one or more pages of medical text! And it was precisely this kind of situation that Maureen Cohen, our excellent speaker for the event, addressed early on in her talk when she asked us whether we had ever had a situation in which we were confronted with a project which subsequently turned out to be somewhat more challenging than we had anticipated. As this was a hybrid event, those attending via Zoom were sent into so-called “break-out rooms” to deliberate and discuss, which worked well despite our organiser’s Katell’s concerns and understandable stress levels….
We also looked at the question of tackling subject matters that were currently beyond our remit but that we were interested in investigating further and the best approach for doing so. Maureen herself is extremely well-qualified, having managed to obtain two degrees and a masters! She is now focused more on physics but, earlier in her career, when working as a full-time translator, she suffered from imposter syndrome; to counteract this, she completed a chartered linguist diploma and paralegal diploma to enhance her knowledge of the subject matter, so is clearly in favour of CPD. On that note, we discussed the various options available through universities and through the ITI, together with Linkedin Learning, all of which offer freelance translators and interpreters the chance to become better acquainted with certain topics in an effort to eliminate the feared imposter syndrome…
Turning to the subject of imposter syndrome from a psychological point of view, we learned that it is quite common, particularly among those who do in fact have a higher level of knowledge than they realise. I for one was very pleased to find that my long-held suspicion that ignorance and arrogance often seem to go hand-in-hand is borne out by an actual psychological theory of the “paradox of knowledge” (Dunning- Kruger Effect)!! Maureen also informed us that imposter syndrome is largely unrelated to low self-esteem, which is more of a mental health issue.
Finally, we looked at the pitfalls of jargon and specialist terminology, which represent one of the risks of venturing outside our areas of expertise, and how to overcome this. The knowledge-based economy means that we all have to cope to some extent with subject matters such as e.g. information technology and keep up-to-date with developments in our fields. We also touched on the problem of ambiguities in the source document and the reduced opportunity for discussing this with the author, given the intervention of agencies.
All in all, a very interesting and thought-provoking event hosted by a highly-qualified, learned person!
Academic liaison/Events team member
English into French translator & subtitler