This is a guest post by Claire L Grant
In this increasingly multi-cultural world in which we now live, the work of translators and interpreters is becoming more and more important. However, the UK still seems to be lagging behind somewhat in today’s multi-lingual race and often language graduates have to travel further afield to gain work experience. In July 2011, I did exactly that by travelling to Caux in Switzerland to work as an interpreter at the Global Assembly of the Initiatives of Change (IofC) Conference which is held there annually. This is a wonderful opportunity for graduates and young professionals to work in a real, and quite magical, conference setting and learn more about peacemaking, the core principle of IofC’s work.
As an interpreter with IofC, my work was integral to the smooth-running of the conference and I was given the opportunity to use my skills in all types of discussion – from dinner meetings with delegates, to morning briefings and high-profile forums with the heads of IofC International. The post is residential, with all interpreters normally assigned rooms next to each other, so you are completely submersed in the role 24/7 and can be called on at any time for interpreting, or indeed translation. We had a real responsibility to facilitate debate and discussion among delegates from around the globe which was undoubtedly difficult at times but hugely rewarding. Furthermore, the experience was enriching given the significant networking possibilities available to us. The professional world of interpreting is a small one, and valuable contacts in this field are priceless. From recent graduates like myself, to interpreters who have been working for over 20 years; I learnt something useful from everyone I met there.
The placement is extremely worthwhile for all graduates of interpreting and translation studies and the insight which it provides into the profession will undoubtedly instil motivation. Personally, IofC provided me with a great deal of clarity in terms of what I would like to achieve in my professional career. Like many of my fellow recent language graduates, I am hopeful that the opportunities open to us in the UK will continue to grow in order for us to be able to use our skills acquired abroad to enhance our country’s role on the global stage.
For more information head to: http://www.iofc.org/, http://www.clairelgrant.co.uk/