ATISDA Blog (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area)

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“Willkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome!”


ATISDA Communications Committee. From left to right: Yolanda Secos, Social Media Manager; Leo van Zanten, Website Manager; Melissa Kamenjarin, Blog Writer

My name is Melissa Kamenjarin, and I am honored to be the new ATISDA blogger. I am a Spanish/English translator and proofreader with a Certificate of Translation in Spanish and English from UCSD Extension here in San Diego.

Almost six months ago, I went to my first ATISDA meeting. It was a networking event near the UCSD campus where I was taking classes. I had heard about this organization through my professors at UCSD, but I didn’t quite know what to expect from this group. After all, I was new to the field and didn’t know anyone in the organization.

One more detail: The meet-up was taking place on Friday, October 30 – the day before Halloween. Were we supposed to dress up? If so, in business attire or in costume? I wore seasonally-appropriate candy corn earrings and a tangerine chiffon top (business dressy meets Halloween) to cover both possibilities. I even threw a black cat ears headband in my purse in case more costume was required.

I guess there’s another one more detail. I had Googled ATISDA the night before when I had discovered on Facebook that the group would be meeting the very next day for their monthly gathering. Not knowing what the protocol on RSVPing was, I hadn’t mentioned to anyone I was going to attend. What if I had missed the RSVP deadline? I figured surely they wouldn’t turn me away at the restaurant if I “happened” to run into the group there.

The night of the networking event, I eventually find the restaurant (the black cat ears are ready in my purse), but then I realize I have no idea how I will recognize the group. The restaurant staff I ask have no idea what I’m talking about. I order something at the walk-up counter and linger, asking pointless questions about their house marmalade and listening in on nearby conversations.

No one in the whole restaurant is speaking anything but English that I can hear, and I haven’t heard any mention of translating or interpreting. Then someone at the table behind me mentions something about “the medical field,” and I figure this table might be the right one. I eagerly ask if this is the ATISDA event and am so grateful when the people at the table tell me I found them.

And I feel so lucky that I did. It’s such a rare treat to be able to connect with a group of people that also enjoys speaking different languages and learning about new cultures. Some people in the group grew up speaking a language other than English in a country other than the United States. And others, like myself, were drawn to foreign languages and learning about other places while growing up in the United States.

There is a certain unspoken understanding of languages and how translation and interpretation work that you just can’t find in the general population. You don’t have to set up stories the way you would to friends and family by explaining what things like “transcreation” or “the dative case” are. And the people in ATISDA have been so warm and friendly to me. I love being part of a professional organization where I also feel like I’m hanging out with friends.

In this spirit of welcoming others, I invite you to comment on the blog. I have even rolled out my multilingual welcome mat for you. (Available at Target for those who are interested.)

Thank you to ATISDA for including me in this great group of language professionals. I invite others in the organization to contribute to this blog. And thank you to Daire Coco for starting this blog from scratch and maintaining it for over a year. We in ATISDA wish her luck in her future endeavors. I hope to continue her work in providing posts that interest language-lovers and those in the translation and interpretation fields, especially those in the Southern California region.

– Melissa Kamenjarin