New CTA Volunteer on the Front

By Thaïs Lips
CTA President

It’s been busy at the CTA beehive as we are getting ready to announce our expected CTA Conference program very soon.

We have been doing our best to accommodate most CTA members’ needs, as always. I see the Board like a marriage: different people working together on behalf of an ideal. The balance between keeping our own identities and blending as one body, on behalf of CTA, can be daunting.

Boards are dynamic and, as a body, we have to adapt to each other, in various scenarios, whether they are routine operations or challenging, unexpected situations. People come and go; some Board members are keepers and wear the shirt, and I think we got one of those now, ready to bring lots of perks to our team.

Erin Shay has been helping Mery and me with the membership backend work, and… she likes it! The Board has appointed Erin our new Membership Coordinator. From now on, please feel free to contact Erin with your most direct member needs at membership@cta-web.org.

Want to know more about Erin? CTA Media Coordinator Marion Rhodes asked her a few questions to introduce her to our membership.

CTA President Thais Lips with new Membership Coordinator Erin Shay at the 2015 CTA Holiday Dinner
CTA President Thais Lips with new Membership Coordinator Erin Shay at the 2015 CTA Holiday Dinner

Marion Rhodes: How long have you been a CTA member?

Erin Shay: I became a member in 2010, but I put my membership on hold in 2012 and 2013 while I was conducting full-time research with the Linguistics Department at CU Boulder. I was happy to rejoin CTA (and have a little more free time!) in 2014.

MR: What has been your favorite CTA event to date?

ES: It’s hard to choose, but I’m going to vote for the Holiday Dinner at Palette’s on Jan. 11, 2015. It was there that I really felt the warm effects of having rejoined the CTA crowd.

MR: You are working as an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado and run your own translation business – what motivated you to add the responsibility of serving as CTA’s membership coordinator to your plate?

ES: At the Holiday Dinner, Rachel Sinn suggested I might want to do some volunteer work in order to meet more CTA members and get to know the workings of the association. A couple of weeks later, Thaïs called me to ask if I would be interested in serving as membership coordinator. She must have been reading my mind.

MR: Do you have any specific plans or suggestions in the CTA membership area?

ES: Mery and I talked about this a bit when we met a couple of weeks ago. One thing I would like to do is get in touch with former members and encourage them to rejoin. I know from experience (just ask AAUW, COPIRG, ACLS, and a bunch of other acronyms) that it is very easy to let “Renew Your Membership” emails slip to the bottom of the inbox, so I’d like to contact former members, especially those who signed up only to attend a conference, and help them see the benefits of renewing their memberships. I also plan to contact existing members and urge them to update their profiles, join CTA on Yahoo and Facebook, and otherwise make the most of their memberships.

MR: You’ve told me that you joined CTA and ATA to expand your freelance career. How have these organizations, in particular CTA, helped your business grow?

ES: In every way! ATA conferences and CTA conferences and gatherings have put me in contact with lots of fellow translators as well as with interpreters and agency representatives. Presentations at both CTA and ATA have taught me a great deal about translating, technology, running a business, career advancement, and more. Every time I attend a meeting or a party or a conference, I learn something new.

MR: An interesting tidbit about your work at CU is that your research focuses on endangered languages in West Central Africa. Where does your interest in this area come from?

ES: My doctoral advisor at CU got me interested in describing and documenting endangered languages. A dying language that has no writing system will someday vanish and never be heard again, and with it will vanish many of the cultural products of its speakers. Several federal grant projects have allowed me to gather, record, and analyze data on endangered languages spoken in parts of Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon. A byproduct of the work is that most of the native speakers I have worked with are also fluent in French, so while I am studying the dying language, I am also boning up on my French.

MR: Finally, what do you hope to get out of volunteering for CTA?

ES: I hope to get the pleasure of doing something useful for a valuable organization with so many worthy members. I also hope to learn more about the translation industry, make new contacts, assist other translators by sharing my own contacts and experience, and occasionally go skiing.