We love our language associations. They provide valuable resources for both newcomer and old-timer alike. Conferences, workshops, seminars, webinars, mentor programs, and other interpreter/translator support services would be nonexistent without the dedication of board members. Sadly, many of us are content to utilize these services, oblivious to the effort invested in their production and delivery. If everyone lacked said commitment, we would have no professional development. Therefore, if you have not served on a board, consider this your call to arms!
Why should you join a board? For starters, being a board member demonstrates leadership ability. It is time to cast self-doubt by the wayside and assume your rightful role. Are you a freelancer? Do you own your own business? Stop resting on your laurels and enlighten your community. Read my written lips: you are a LEADER.
It needn’t be a language-related. Find your passion, spread the word at your chamber of commerce, parent-teacher association, and friends, and poof! A board position will present itself to you. As long as the vision aligns with your own, the entire group will benefit from your leadership abilities. You will reap the rewards of conveying knowledge and honing your abilities.
Another factor in accepting a board position is that volunteering is good for the body, mind, and soul. Charitable time contribution is an excellent way to pay it forward. Many beneficial activities would be severely curtailed without volunteers. Chapter 9 of The Entrepreneurial Linguist: The Business-School Approach to Freelance Translation encourages us to volunteer. Each of us gains from someone’s precious experience and time. Once I heard on the radio that a study showed that when people washed clothes of someone they disliked, they felt better. Volunteering adds value to our life, assisting us remain calm. Certain aha! moments occur when we least expect it. How do you know if your expressions will profoundly influence a freelancer to stay the course, change the path, or find an in-house position? Only by volunteering do you have an opportunity to teach. And as the last line in one of Taylor Mali’s poetry slams, “teachers make a #$%& difference; what about you?”