METM19 presentation 

Building a language professional–academic co-working partnership

Wendy Baldwin, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain

Language professionals (LPs) have several options for professional collaboration, two of the more visible being co-working sessions and RevClub-type partnerships. Although these approaches work differently, they all benefit LPs’ practice in various ways, including improved translation/editing outcomes and processes, peer support and increased motivation.

In this talk I will share my experience with another type of collaboration, one beneficial to LPs who support academic authors. Instead of partnering with a fellow LP, the LP partners with an academic (ideally one who is not a client). The LP and academic meet regularly (online or in person) and each works on their own project over a series of timed blocks. The sessions and blocks are bookended with time for goal setting/tracking, querying, discussion and problem-solving. This structure draws on current practices in peer-driven social and collaborative approaches to writing in academia, and it also accommodates the fact that LPs often work with other people’s academic writing rather than their own.

These co-working sessions provide benefits to both the LP and academic in the form of motivation, focus, accountability and mutual support. In addition, the LP can use the academic’s content expertise (where applicable) and insight into current issues/practice in academia and academic publishing to inform their translation/editing work with academic clients. Similarly, the academic can draw on the LP’s expertise and insights to improve the clarity of their communication, their linguistic expression and their writing process.

I will start by describing three fruitful LP–academic partnerships I have been involved in (one with a native English speaker and two with proficient EAL (English as an additional language) academics), and then I’ll outline how we got started, how we work and how we have benefitted. I will also share best practices to help academically oriented LPs set up their own LP–academic co-working partnership(s).
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About the presenter

Wendy Baldwin is an authors' editor and Spanish to English translator specializing in texts in linguistics, language acquisition, education, computer science and engineering. Prior to starting her freelance business in San Sebastián, Spain, Wendy trained in linguistics in the US and taught academic writing in universities and colleges in the US and Sweden. She has recently returned to her academic writing roots, offering writing courses and workshops to academics and PhD students in the Basque Country.