The Scottish Network of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting

Margret Powell-Joss: ITI ScotNet at 30 – some personal notes

This here “incoming” translator has always taken networking very seriously. Born and raised in German-speaking Switzerland, I graduated in languages (English and Spanish) rather than translation studies.

The life-changing decision to move to Oban was taken fairly late in life. I did a good deal of research for several years before the move, including two weeks in Edinburgh and Aberdeen in late November 2006. Having enjoyed several spring and summer visits on Scotland’s west coast, I needed to know what the country’s long winter nights were like, and whether I’d be able to cope with the dark.

Now, I’ve never been very good with names, and even worse in crowds. So, I humbly apologise to Fiona, Marion, Pernille, Rebekka, Hugh, and others for not remembering our meeting at a pub in Edinburgh, on 22 November 2006. You were among the 25 or so ProZ translators who came out on a rather dreich evening to meet up and welcome me to your city. It was from you that I first heard about the ITI and ITI ScotNet.

I eventually joined both. Because of the long journey, and for lots more reasons, it took me several years until I actually attended my first AGM in Glasgow, or workshops in Edinburgh and elsewhere.

Two ITI ScotNet highlights Those of us who attended the summer workshop at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye back in late May 2012 will remember the heat. The Gaelic College’s hall was stifling; I felt sorry for the lecturers. We eventually gathered in the amphitheatre, which was not much cooler. Seeking relief, many of us scrambled down the steep path and stepped across boulders on the shore for a refreshing dip in the crystalline sea. Remember the wonderful Saturday ceilidh at the Big Barn? On Sunday, in Loch Scavaig, the boat took us from Elgol to the foot of the Cuillin peaks. Halfway across, the skipper pointed out a minke whale’s dorsal ridge. During our lunch break at Loch Coruisk, some of us took refreshing swims in the cool, fresh water. A cuckoo called from a treeless rock.

Margret herself with Ute Penny in a willow tunnel near Calgary Beach on Mull

Many ScotNetters travelled out to the Isle of Mull in June 2015. The venerable Western Isles Hotel was an elegant venue, both for our workshops and for the Saturday ceilidh. Sunday morning brought some excitement when a fire broke out in the kitchen just as breakfast was being prepared. Luckily, everyone got out in time; two fire engines attended but fortunately no-one was hurt.

Watching a fire engine arrive at the Western Isles Hotel

After breakfast, Carol welcomed us to Calgary before a leisurely walk to Calgary Bay under louring clouds. Our route included the Art in Nature woodland trail that starts near the former hotel. Remember the kite flown above the wide, sandy beach? After a spot of lunch at the busy Calgary Café, several of us drove south-west to spend a couple of hours at Lucy’s amazing Lip na Cloiche Gardens on the shore of Loch Tuath (North Loch). She can be proud of raising plants rarely seen thriving this far north. Thanks again, Michael, for giving me a lift that afternoon.

Why join? – and a wee word of advice When all is said and done, my clients have taken me more seriously for being a Qualified Member of the ITI and of ITI ScotNet. My membership has made me take myself more seriously as a professional linguist as well. On the downside, in recent times I’ve felt rather irritated by the many emails with the salutation “Dear Sir” from translators offering their services. I do realise that these are tough times for our young colleagues. Nevertheless, please note this advice from an old hand: when writing to offer your services, do please personalise your message. I’m certain not to be the only one to drop impersonal messages in the spam folder, which means that you have wasted everyone’s time.

The upcoming online spring workshop on 20 March 2021 will be my last hurrah with the ITI, and with ITI ScotNet. I officially became a freelance translator 28 years ago, but my career has actually lasted far longer and it now feels appropriate to go into fulltime retirement. Roll on 1 May 2021.

More ScotNetters & hubbies on Calgary Beach

I’m certain that we were all very sorry the 2020 summer workshop in Shetland had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. May it happen next year!

Finally, a VERY BIG THANK YOU to all my ScotNet friends, to the workshop tutors, to our Committee and Newsletter Editors, and – last but by no means least – to all past and future hosts of ITI ScotNet events. What a great bunch you all have been, are and will be!

All the best, ITI ScotNet, for the next 30 years. Stay safe and well, ScotNetters. May our paths cross again!

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