Monday, April 25, 2016

The ITI retirement/resignation saga, and wider ITI issues

In a joint letter published in the July/August 2014 issued of the ITI Bulletin (the journal of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting), surprise was expressed that the ITI Board had abolished the 'Retired' category for members who are no longer actively engaged in translation or interpreting work or whose income falls below a certain threshold. This had been done without informing the members, not least those most likely to be immediately affected. It transpired that anyone seeking the reduced life membership or retired membership category would be invited to convert to 'Supporter' status, which is open to anyone. In the meantime, the situation has gone from bad to worse – you can read all about the astonishing saga on Lisa Simpson’s blog. See also the post at Margaret Marks' blog.

In stark contrast to the way long-standing ITI members are being treated by the 'higher ITI echelons', the German Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators (BDÜ) clearly values its long-standing members, as evidenced by the 10-year anniversary letter I received from the Baden-Württemberg "Landesverband" (regional association) of the BDÜ – see below. Coincidentally, the letter arrived on the same day on which disgruntled ITI members decided to 'go public'.

In case you are wondering, please note that I have no intention of retiring any time soon, and quite possibly not until around 2040 or so, if I'm still around then...

More generally, it is worth pointing out the broader issue that the ITI Board and management has shown itself to have little interest in any members' concerns, apparently regarding itself as above criticism. They have banned other letters (in addition to the retirement letter referred to in Lisa's blog post), don't engage properly with members on the member forum or ITI LinkedIn group, and generally show no signs of being the governing body of an association run by its members for its members. These are issue that affect all ITI members.