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Organizational Communications Manager

New CATI directory format offers more latitude

By Ann C. Sherwin

Do you have 5—or 35—years of relevant experience not reflected in your CATI directory profile? Special software or equipment expertise you want prospective clients to know about? A certificate you worked hard for that doesn't fit our criteria? There's good news: The CATI Board of Directors recently approved a new format for the directory. Now you can submit a biographical paragraph of up to 100 words stating any facts about yourself that you consider relevant to prospective clients.

The change will allow you more latitude in your listing and simplify the tasks of editing and proofreading the printed directory.

Database manager Shelley Williamson and webmaster David Heath have worked on the technical aspects, and the new system should work smoothly for everyone.

The contact information in your profile will remain in place, along with your native language, country of origin, working languages, ATA certification, and preferred fields, all with the same limits as before. The headings "Affiliations," "Other Certifications," and "Education" will disappear after a 6-week changeover period, and the information under them can go into the new paragraph if you choose, along with relevant employment history, publication credits, or a special service you offer that is closely related to translating or interpreting. You can even mention additional language pairs and subject areas here.

What to do next
With your cooperation, we will have the new format up and running soon. The data collection form-the Member Profile Questionnaire you completed when you joined CATI-has been revised, and you will receive a copy of it by e-mail later this month. It is also available for downloading from the CATI website.

Basic instructions for writing the paragraph are included on the form. We ask that you submit it electronically so that Shelley can import it into the database without retyping. To do so, please go to the members-only section of the CATI website and fill out the online form provided for this purpose. You can either type your paragraph directly into the form or paste it in from a word processor.

Content of your paragraph
Your paragraph may be the first sample of your work that a prospective client sees, so you'll want to write it with care. It must be objective, like a résumé or CV, and contain only information that you can document. In other words, it should not read like an ad or contain claims about the quality, reliability, or value of your service. The directory listings of corporate and institutional CATI members already contain paragraphs, but the content guidelines for these are now the same as those for individual members. If you represent a corporate or institutional member, please review your current paragraph and revise it, if necessary, to comply with the new guidelines.

Since you are limited to 75 words, you will need to prioritize. Imagine yourself as the client. What would you want to know in selecting a translator or interpreter? If you are long on credentials, you may not need to mention your membership in the Chamber of Commerce. If your undergraduate and graduate degrees are in the same field, you might choose to mention only the higher one and save room for experience. (Years of experience are presumed to be full-time. If you averaged 8-10 hours a week translating or interpreting for four years, that's one year of experience.)

How to conserve words
You may write in either first or third person. Abbreviations and acronyms are OK, but remember these may turn off readers unfamiliar with their meaning. You can omit definite and indefinite articles, pronouns referring to yourself, understood verbs, and other nonessential words.

Examples of normal and terse styles are shown below.

Normal style

After earning a BA with majors in German and Food Science from North Carolina State University and a PhD in Food Science from the University of Minnesota, I was employed in the dairy industry for 10 years and did translations on the side. In 1990 I became a full-time independent technical translator and editor. I am a member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), an active member of the American Translators Association (ATA), and a frequent presenter at conferences of both associations. My publications include research reports and translations in trade journals. A complete bibliography is available on request.
(100 words)

Terse style

BA German, Food Science, NCSU; PhD Food Science, University of Minnesota. Employed in dairy industry 10 years while translating on side. Full-time independent technical translator/editor since 1990. Member Institute of Food Technologists, active member ATA. Frequent presenter at IFT and ATA conferences. Bibliography of published articles and translations available on request.
(Same information, 51 words, room for 24 more!)

Use exact wording for these credentials
If you list any of the following credentials, please use this exact wording, substituting your language pair or contract level where applicable:

US Federal Court Interpreter Spanish<>English

Consortium of the National Center for State Courts Interpreter Spanish<>English

US State Dept. Contract Conference [or Simultaneous or Consecutive] Interpreter Spanish<>English

US State Dept. Contract Translator Spanish>English

US State Dept. Contract Foreign Language Officer Spanish

For other credentials, please use the exact wording given in your certificate or contract. Any claim of a translating or interpreting credential must include mention of the language pair and direction and the certifying body.

Ann C. Sherwin is an ATA-certified German-English translator in Raleigh, NC.