A disservice to career seekers

I am an avid reader. Sometimes you can find me spending 2-4 hours at the local Borders or Barnes & Noble. The practice of perusing the contents of a book before buying it is enhanced by the ability to use the Amazon app on your smartphone and scan the ISBN code for prices, reviews, etc.

This weekend I saved myself almost $30. One of the books I did not buy is titled 50 Best Jobs for Your Personality, 2nd edition, by Michael Farr and Lawerence Shatkin, Ph.D.

I invite you to see it for yourself. Please go to page 260 and read the description for Interpreters and Translators. Court, community, health care interpreters, interpreters for the hearing-impaired and translators are lumped together in this oversimplistic, rushed description of our professions. The personality code AS stands for “Artistic” and “Social.” I have known many social interpreters, but translators are not necessarily your social butterfly. We like to work quietly, with as few distractions as possible, because translation requires a great deal of concentration and intellectual focus.

I recently wrote to the book’s publishing house, JIST Publishing, in Indianapolis, IN, to complain about the serious misconceptions inserted in this shabby description. I also posted a review on Amazon, so it does not bear repeating here. Suffice it to say that prospective students of translation and interpreting in this country will be mislead by reading this inaccurate portrayal of language professionals.

Beyond this pointed complaint of mine, I acknowledge that there is a collective PR campaign that you, I and our fellow interpreters, translators, agency owners and other stakeholders in this industry have to carry out. The floor is open.


1 Comment

Filed under Bilingualism vs. Translation, Interpreting, Professional development, Translator Education

One response to “A disservice to career seekers

  1. g2lls

    This article greatly amused me, and it goes to show how silly those overly general kind of books are. It’s as if they just “guessed?” on what the personality of a translator or interpreter would be, based on their impressions from a movie? I doubt they actually researched the career option and, if they did, they most likely didn’t ask enough people.

    I am not actually sure who buys those kind of books anyway……if you need a book to tell you what you would be good at or what career would best fit you, you are probably lost in general. Besides that, the vast majority of the population do not necessarily choose their career, they fall into whatever they happened to get a job in or whatever pays the best.

    Translators aren’t exactly “center of attention” kind of people but they get recogized within their own group. A good translator is priceless!!

    Grace Bosworth
    President, Global to Local LLC
    (513) 526-5011

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