By Marion Rhodes
CTA Social Media Director
February 3, 2014
We are wrapping up our series of interviews with the candidates for the 2014-2016 CTA Board with Mery Molenaar, our current CTA treasurer, who has agreed to serve another term if elected. Mery was born and raised in the Netherlands and moved to the U.S. in 1993. She has been a freelance English to Dutch translator since 2008, working mainly in the fields of medical instrumentation, software localization and eLearning.
Marion Rhodes: You’ve been CTA’s webmaster for three years and have served as treasurer since October of 2012. What is your motivation to serve the Colorado Translators Association?
Mery Molenaar: Being a freelance translator can feel isolating. Unfortunately, we often create that isolation ourselves because we believe that being a translator means doing it all by yourself. It is important for me to remember that I am not alone. Serving on the CTA board means being part of a local community of like-minded professionals. It creates a sense of belonging.
MR: Now that the new website is done and CTA is well on the way of becoming a tax-exempt organization, what are some things you would like to see in the near future of the Colorado Translators Association?
MM: Well, Marion, I wouldn’t call the new website done yet. I think it will always be a work in progress. We are just about to celebrate our one-year anniversary of the website launch, but I am still working on tweaking little things here and there to make everything work more smoothly. But to answer your question, one of the goals of the current board has been creating a solid foundation for the organization. Being a registered nonprofit organization and an ATA-chapter has created a legacy that will help CTA’s continuity in the future. With that completed, I think it is time to redirect our focus on our member services. My goal is to increase the number of professional development workshops being offered throughout the year. I believe this has been a bit on the back burner last year.
MR: From your perspective as a current Board member and treasurer, what are some challenges that lie ahead for CTA, and how do we need to address them?
MM: As with many nonprofit organizations that are run by volunteer boards, there is always the risk of burnout. Being on any board is a commitment, and as board members, we have to rely on each other’s and our members’ support. We are very fortunate to have an active member community that we can rely on. But we need our members to help us keep this organization strong and I would like to call on all our members to get involved, participate in our activities and step up when we ask for help.
MR: As webmaster and someone who knows a thing or two about technology, do you have any specific ideas on how CTA can further reach out to language professionals across Colorado, particularly those who do not live in the Denver Metro Area?
MM: That is an excellent point. I am glad you asked. In fact, I was recently contacted by one of our members from Grand Junction who is looking into organizing a professional development event on the Western Slope. CTA is fully supportive of this and similar efforts, but we feel that initiatives like these are best served if they come from local members in the area.
Alternatively, we have played with the idea of videotaping our conference and other professional development events and uploading them to our website or YouTube. That is definitely on my to-do list.
MR: Your three primary roles as a Board member are ambassador, advocate and asker. Which area is your greatest strength, and how do you plan to leverage it as a Board member?
MM: As treasurer, I see myself mostly in an advisory role. Of course, I am involved in the decision making as well, but my main role is advising the board on financial and technological matters regarding the organization. As webmaster, my strength lies in keeping the CTA website well organized and up-to-date. In that sense, I am somewhat of a brand ambassador I suppose.
MR: Tell us some tidbits about yourself – countries lived, something nobody would guess about you, your most meaningful translation, etc.:
MM: I am happily married and have two beautiful sons, ages 11 and 13. Before moving to the US, I had a chance to spend a few years teaching science and math at a local girls’ school in Tanzania. That was an extremely valuable experience and I hope to be able to take my boys there on a visit one of these days to show them a world that is very different from their privileged life here in Colorado.
With my science background, I translate almost exclusively technical and medical documents. A few years ago, however, I was asked to translate two guided audio tours through Helsinki, Finland, and Tallinn, Estonia, for Holland America Line. Unfortunately, the project didn’t include a trip to Finland or Estonia, and I had to use Google Earth to create a virtual tour from my office, but it was a very enjoyable project nevertheless.
MR: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
MM: I am excited to be running for treasurer and I hope our members will allow me to serve on the board for another term.