Going Back to School through ATA’s School Outreach Program
By Meghan McCallum, MATI Director
When was the last time you stepped inside a school? For some of us, it may have been a while. If you teach or have kids, perhaps you’re a regular at a local school. No matter how long it’s been, it’s time to get out those school supplies and take on a new assignment: School Outreach!
ATA’s School Outreach Program encourages translators and interpreters to visit their local schools and talk to students about their exciting careers. With over ten years under its belt, the program has helped countless language professionals around the world make the trip back to school by providing presentation materials, speaking tips and information about how to schedule school visits. Ready-to-use presentations and activities can be downloaded directly from the ATA website and adapted for each specific visit.
During School Outreach visits, translators and interpreters speak to students at all levels, emphasizing the benefits of foreign language study and outlining the specialized skills needed to become a translator or interpreter. Activities can be catered to all age levels and interests, from young children just starting a second language to students in specialized translation graduate programs.
In recent years, School Outreach has even gone virtual thanks to modern technology. With videoconferencing programs such as Skype, translators and interpreters can virtually visit with students across the globe. All it takes is simple software skills and coordination with time zone differences—familiar territory for all of us!
As an added incentive, the ATA School Outreach Program also holds an annual contest based on photo submissions from translators and interpreters who have made school visits. By submitting a winning shot of him/herself in the classroom, one person each year is awarded the grand prize of free registration to the ATA conference. Now that’s a big payoff! The winner also receives recognition at the awards presentation during the ATA conference and in the ATA Chronicle.
To learn more about the School Outreach Program, access resource materials, read stories from previous school visits, and get details about the School Outreach Contest, visit https://www.atanet.org/ata_school/.
Have you made a school visit recently to talk to students about translation and interpreting? Tell us about it! Send a message to School Outreach Program Coordinator Meghan McCallum at firstname.lastname@example.org.