The latest Mediterranean Editors & Translators Meeting (METM16 in Tarragona, Spain) has been the subject of entertaining blog posts by Allison Wright, Philippa Hammond, Simon Berrill, Rob Lunn and possibly others, too. Simon and Rob also published follow-up posts on their experience as presenters at METM16 (see here and here). I was planning on adding my own blog post to the list of first-person accounts – it’s always interesting to see what different people get out of the same event – but three weeks have flown by and new roles and challenges have changed that plan.
I was initially drawn to MET, an association for English-language specialists, by its keen focus on writing and subject matter skills. The first METM I attended, in 2013, was a clear example of how this quality content is successfully delivered through peer sharing and learning. Thus, METM attendees have the chance to debate topics ranging from the finer points of grammar to the ethics of authors’ editing. Peer knowledge sharing at its best.
In addition to providing stimulating academic content, MET meetings are also a place to learn about the latest software tools, pick up marketing tips and do some quality networking among a very friendly set of people.
At all translators’ conferences, networking takes place informally at every conceivable time and place. Organised walks, runs, local visits, music and yoga are on the programme of many conferences. But METMs are unique, I believe, in their “off-METM” interest-specific lunch and dinner tables, an excellent way to meet new people, engage face-to-face with hitherto virtual friends and make work contacts. In fact, I’ve passed on and also received many potential jobs to and from fellow MET members over the years.
I’ve learnt a lot at sessions on neuroanatomy and concordancing, both highly relevant in my work. I’ve listened with interest to talks on creative writing and gender-violence in interpreting, neither of which are my subjects. I’ve enjoyed lively floor discussions on non-native editing and machine translation, relevant to all of us.
My contribution as a speaker over these years has ranged from talks on hardware and software, to mentoring and medicines. Speaking is something I’d ruled out five or ten years ago as being far too nerve-wracking. However, other introverts may be encouraged to hear that we often flourish in front of an audience when we have a good message to get across and have prepared our content thoroughly.
At an organisational level, I’ve been involved in content teams, run a METM Facebook page and procured sponsorship. Helping out isn’t simply the proverbial matter of “giving back to the profession”. It increases your confidence, forges friendships and hones soft skills (introverts, take note again).
That’s why I was happy to be voted in at the AGM this October to take up the role as webmaster on MET council. No, I don’t really have time for it. Yes, the first few weeks have been more stressful than I expected. But here I am, excited by the prospect of two years of intense teamwork, website learning and MET growth.
What about you? Would you like to play a more active part in the day-to-day running of MET or help out at next year’s meeting? MET needs people –newcomers and old hands alike – to help at every level, from joining the content team to making sure there’s water in the room for every speaker on the day. Write to Anne Murray at email@example.com to find out how you can help.
The more you get involved in an association, the more you get out of it!