Joining professional associations always makes you feel proud and gives your professional profile a lot of credibility, but I have never seen the point in having reams of memberships and letters after my name. I have been selective in my memberships, but I have added another: the Society of Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP).
Until last month, my only memberships were with the Institute of Linguists (ioL) and Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), which reflects the majority of my working experience (translation). I am proud of my memberships – full member of the ioL (MCIL) and Associate of the ITI – and I will be looking to upgrade my ITI membership to qualified (MITI) status in the near future.
However, when assessing my business goals and activities earlier this year (I try to do this at the beginning of each year, then at regular intervals), I decided that my professional memberships did not represent the range of services that I offer. As a result, I joined the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) a few weeks ago as an associate member, as this kind of work has made up a sizeable portion of my income in recent months.
So far, I have not yet had much time to assess the benefits of membership, but I am pleased to have gained a more representative range of professional memberships. My long-term plan is to reassess (I do this a lot) my memberships of professional organsisations in a year or two, and perhaps drop any that I feel are not paying off. I don’t necessarily mean this in the monetary sense, rather in terms of representing my skills and services and providing me with opportunities to further develop them.
So, to round up, these are my current credentials:
• MCIL (full member of ioL) – my only possible step up here is to upgrade to FCIL, which is unlikely in the near future
• Associate of SfEP – there is an advanced stage of membership (Ordinary), but it is unlikely that I will attain it, as translation is my primary area of work
• Associate of ITI – I am currently focusing my energies on applying for MITI status
What is your opinion of professional memberships? There is a definite divide in the people that I meet. Some do not see the benefit, citing the cost as a limiting factor, whereas others say that a professional membership has given their business a boost or even guided their careers as they moved up through the membership levels.
If you are interested in applying for membership of the ioL, ITI or SfEP, I have included the following links:
There are quite a few articles about fellow translators gaining MITI status around now. Here are a few selected posts:
• Emma Goldsmith’s Signs and Symptoms of Translation – comparison of MITI and ioL’s Diploma in Translation
• Rose Newell – The Translator’s Teacup – detailed post, including a Q&A section with Elizabeth Dickson, ITI’s admissions officer
• Philippa Hammond – The Blogging Translator – post describing her experience of the MITI entrance exam back in 2011