The story behind the blog

This blog was born on a brainstormy day, drawing on suggestions from the ATA Newcomers listserv and the recently created Student Involvement Committee. But to understand the true nature of The Savvy Newcomer, we need to take a look at the role played by both groups and the people who have made this blog possible.

When Helen Eby became Assistant Administrator for the ATA Spanish Division, the Division was set on having a Student Involvement Committee. Helen’s passion for helping people succeed is what drove her to approach campus administrators, who welcomed the idea with open arms.

“I am an experimenter, so this seemed to fit my sense of adventure.” – Helen Eby

However, it soon became apparent that such a Committee should benefit students of all languages, not only in the English/Spanish combination, so although born bilingual, this child of the Spanish Division quickly grew into a mature, independent polyglot.

During the 2012 ATA Conference in San Diego, Jamie approached Helen and through a brief conversation Helen quickly realized Jamie was the perfect candidate to chair the new Student Involvement Committee. And so, with all the contagious enthusiasm that Helen is capable of instilling, Jamie became the very first student to ever chair a committee within the ATA, and has done a marvelous job.

“Being part of this effort gives me the chance to think back and ask myself, ‘What would have helped me to get acclimated to this when I was getting started, and how can I help other newbies who are in the same boat as I was?’” – Jamie Hartz

In addition, the Newcomers listserv is a forum for, well, newcomers, but not necessarily restricted to students only. It is open to anyone interested in switching careers and becoming a professional translator. Think about it as an informal coaching forum.

It seemed a natural fit to combine topics from the listserv with the spirit of the Student Involvement Committee, but we still needed somebody to bring it all together and turn it into an actual blog.

That is when Daniela came into the picture as a new volunteer on the Spanish Division Leadership Council. She was quickly moved to the forefront of the operation, joining Helen and Jamie, and assumed responsibility for the technical aspects of setting up and managing the blog, as well as organizing a rough outline of posts.

“For the longest time I had wanted to contribute to the ATA in a meaningful way, and I believe this has been the perfect opportunity for me, combining my passion for translation, writing, and tech stuff.” – Daniela Guanipa

This blog draws on ideas gathered from the Newcomers listserv, from the experience of its contributors and moderators, and from the involvement of our readers.

We believe you will find our blog fresh, practical, and inviting. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing the posts, finding interesting content for you, and responding to your feedback.

What do you hope to read about on The Savvy Newcomer? Ideas welcome!