MATI Member Spotlight: Erin Woodard
Language Pair(s): French > English
Degree(s)/Certification(s): Master of Professional French Studies and Translations Studies Certificate
How long have you been a MATI member? Since 2015
How did you acquire your B language(s)?
I have my Master’s degree in French and I lived and worked in Grenoble and Paris, France.
How long have you worked in your field? How did you get started in the field of translation and/or interpretation?
I started to work in the specific field of translation in 2015. Prior to that I worked for an international nonprofit that provides grant funding for international development initiatives. At the organization, I had the opportunity to work with people and languages from around the world.
What inspired you to get into your field?
I love foreign languages and have always been very passionate about them. I have found that the field of translation has allowed me to focus specifically on that passion, while continuing to work in an international field which I also truly enjoy.
Describe an especially memorable or fulfilling professional experience.
My favorite translating experience has been translating microcredit loans for the nonprofit Kiva. It is an organization that crowdsources funding for entrepreneurs outside of the traditional banking system. Online lenders can contribute to loans for individuals or groups who use the funding for their businesses and pay it back in installments. Once the loan is fully refunded, lenders can use those funds to support another individual. All of the foreign language loans are translated into English by Kiva’s team of volunteers and are posted online on the nonprofit’s website. I love seeing loans I’ve translated receive funding and knowing that entrepreneurs are benefiting as a result of a translation.
What program/tool/dictionary couldn’t you live without?
I really enjoy using memoQ. I learned to use it in school and am always excited when I learn new functionality or find a way for it to help me be more effective with my work.
Do you have a book, blog or methodology that you would like to recommend?
I try to read all of the ATA’s Savvy Newcomer blog posts, as it which covers a variety of different topics in the translation industry. I find it enlightening and it exposes me to new topics in the field.
Do you have any tips for those starting out in the field? For those who’ve been in the field?
I have found that meeting with other translators is particularly motivating. In Madison, there is a group that gathers to discuss translation on a monthly basis, and I find these meetings energizing and inspiring. I enjoy hearing other linguists’ stories and learning how they work. I would encourage translators who are starting out to look for fellow professionals, either in person or online, and to join in the conversation.
Why did you decide to join MATI?
I joined MATI because I wanted to meet other local linguistic professionals and to continue my professional growth in the field. I have enjoyed attending MATI events and reading the organizational newsletter. I was also interested in finding additional information about translating as a freelance career, as well as learning more about translation theories and practice.
Why do you think it’s important to belong to professional organizations like MATI?
I think that being a part of professional organizations demonstrates that one is serious about their field and serious about learning and developing their professional skillset.
Would you like feedback from your MATI colleagues on any challenges you have faced in the field?
I am always curious to hear how others differentiate themselves when reaching out to potential clients or translation agencies, and finding ways to stand out in the crowd of other translators.
What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy spending time outdoors with my family and getting to the yoga studio.