What are the benefits of joining a professional association for translators and interpreters?

The benefits of membership of a professional association depend of course on what the association in question has to offer, but most associations offer the following benefits:
  • Representation and promotion of interests of translators and interpreters
    Many professional associations take part in discussions about the translation and interpreting profession and are involved whenever new rules and regulations affecting the profession are being developed.
  • Information about new developments in the business
    Most associations publish their own newsletter or bulletin with information about whatever is of interest to their members: new rules and regulations, information about and reviews of software and books, articles on how to market your services, interviews with fellow translators, etc.
  • Continuing education
    Professional associations often organise workshops and/or conferences on subjects which are important for their members, allowing them to improve their language and business skills and to keep up to date with the latest developments in the business.
  • Networking with other translators and interpreters
    Membership of a professional association gives you an opportunity to meet fellow translators and interpreters, either at meetings of local chapters or at workshops or conferences organised by the association.
  • Professional services
    Many professional associations offer professional services such as model terms of business, professional insurance, debt collection services and legal advice for free or at a discount and specifically tailored to the translation profession.
  • Searchable member directory
    Professional associations often have a searchable database of their members, which potential clients can use to find a service provider.
Can anyone become a member of a professional association?
No, all professional associations have minimum requirements for membership. Some offer different types of membership. For some associations/memberships, sending in copies of credentials and references will suffice, while others require passing an exam or work assessment.

Which professional association should I become a member of?
It is always useful to become a member of a professional association in the country you live and work in, so you can visit their meetings and use any professional services they offer. In addition, it might be useful to join an association in a country of your working language(s), to be able to keep up to date with developments in that country/language and to meet other translators working in the same language.

Where can I find a list of professional associations?
The website of the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs/International Federation of Translators and Interpreters (FIT), the international umbrella organisation of associations of translators, interpreters and terminologists, contains a list of FIT members all over the world.