The Group Translation Chats Story

Once upon a time, there was a lonely translator in a pretty nondescript room in a rather untidy house. She was sitting down to work rather than walking on her treadmill in front of her stand-up desk as the repetitive movement had given her painful plantar fasciitis.

Besides that problem, she was trying extremely hard not to turn green with envy when reading the feeds of her colleagues during her social-media breaks. Because they all seemed to be jetting off to conferences, workshops and other get-togethers and generally enjoying themselves. Life isn’t always a barrel of laughs when the unthinkable happens, you become a carer and are stuck at home. So she hit upon the plan of asking her fellow translators whether anyone fancied a chat.

The chats started off as one-to-one sessions on Skype lasting around half an hour. We talked about a range of topics from business to personal with a good dose of politics thrown in too. And because some of the chatters wanted to meet other translators and keep on talking, the idea was floated of bringing people together. And that’s how the Group Translation Chats began back in November 2018.

Since then we’ve held sessions on a specific topic every month. Some recent examples are educating clients, websites, portfolios, copywriting, wellbeing and work-life balance. The chats are moderated by a host who decides on the subject and leads the call. Anyone can volunteer to be a host and everyone is encouraged to have a go at least once.

We limit attendance at hosted chats to a maximum of 10 so that everyone can get a chance to join in the discussion. These are not webinars and chats are not recorded as the aim is for them to be a space where colleagues can talk freely, support each other and share knowledge in a relaxed, informal atmosphere without having to worry that what they say will be “out there” in the public domain.

Given the unprecedented times we live in as a consequence of COVID-19 resulting in many of us having less work, we’ve added two coffee-break chats every week. These take place on Mondays at 17.00 CEST and on Fridays at 10.00 CEST. As there are no attendance limits for these chats, any member of the group can drop in any time to say hello.

We’ve even had a dance chat, run by Ellen Singer, one Friday afternoon, which was a great way to let of steam and get some exercise without having to leave the house. Ellen is planning on repeating this event soon.

If you think connecting with colleagues on Zoom sounds like a good idea and you’d like to join us, then please become a member of our Facebook group where all the announcements are made. If you’re not on Facebook, contact me directly so I can add you to our WhatsApp group.

Our next hosted chat is on Wednesday, 8 April at 09.30 BST (10.30 CEST). It’s moderated by Sue Fortescue and it’s on the pros and cons of doing an MA in Translation. Hope to see you there or at one of our weekly chats!

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