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MATI Reaches Out to Students

02/03/2017 12:35 PM | Meghan McCallum (Administrator)

MATI Reaches Out to Students
By Meghan McCallum, MATI Vice President

MATI members are actively visiting schools (both in person and virtually!) to speak to students about the exciting careers of translating and interpreting. Read on for a few recent examples of MATI members’ School Outreach visits.

MATI Director Ghada Shakir, an English-Arabic translator and interpreter based in Mequon, WI, visited West Allis Central High School in March 2016 for the school’s career fair. She started with the basics, helping the students understand the differences between translation and interpreting. Next, Ghada explained potential career paths for these language skills, giving examples of translation and localization of websites, mobile apps, marketing materials and subtitling. She also provided examples of cultural differences and how important they are for translation. Finally, Ghada concluded her presentation with a demonstration of machine translation bloopers, showing the students the importance of professional human translators. Ghada reported that she thoroughly enjoyed her school visit. “It is my mission to pass on my expertise to the next generation of translators and interpreters,” she said.

MATI Director Marina Ilari, an English-Spanish translator based in Milwaukee, WI, gave a webinar on freelance translation to translation students at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She told the students about lessons she’s learned from her many years of freelance translation, sharing resources and providing tips on running a freelance business. Her presentation included recommendations for marketing, attending professional conferences and networking events, continuing education and building a client base. Marina admits she was nervous to present the webinar, but in the end found the experience to be incredibly rewarding. Looking back, she said, “I wished my university had prepared something like this to help new translators enter the market more confidently!”

MATI member Amanda Bickel, a French-English translator based in Monona, WI, has offered her expertise to language students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison each semester since 2015, and has plans to visit the university again early this year to participate in another alumni mentoring event. She has also developed and given presentations on freelance translating as a career. Her goal is to offer students candid knowledge about the logistics of being a freelance translator, as opposed to language-specific translation instruction. “You can learn actual translation skills from taking classes, but many are remote,” she said. “I lacked a personal connection with someone in the industry when I was starting out. I could have really benefitted from that when I was in college or after. I’m hoping to give the students some tips and insight that I had to learn over time through trial and error.”

Are you interested in visiting a school to talk to students about translation and interpreting? Find out more about the ATA School Outreach program — and enter for a chance to win free registration to ATA’s 58th Annual Conference — at


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Midwest Association of Translators & Interpreters
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American Translators Association
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