METM16 panel discussion

MET: Twelve years of networking and peer training. What are the new challenges?  

Presenters: Joy Burrough-Boenisch, Renkum, Netherlands; Mary Ellen Kerans, Barcelona, Spain; Margaret Cargill, Adelaide, Australia 
Moderator: Alan Lounds, Barcelona, Spain

The first Mediterranean Editors and Translators Meeting, held in 2005, was a springboard for the creation of a stable association intended as a forum for English language facilitators working in the Mediterranean who lacked other opportunities for networking and peer training. 
Twelve years on, MET has fulfilled many of the initial objectives set down in its charter. It has created a widely respected model of high-quality peer training, offered members the opportunity to grow as professionals by sharing knowledge and concerns with their peers, brought practising professionals in contact with researchers working in the fields of discourse analysis, translation theory and academic writing, and helped improve the quality of language support services available in the Mediterranean.
Opportunities for peer training and networking among language facilitators have increased considerably since 2005. The offering includes conferences and workshops organized by professional associations and newer formats such as webinars, blog posts and videos. In view of the changing context, MET Council and the organizers of METM16 decided to take advantage of this year’s conference theme, Raising standards through knowledge sharing and peer training, to take stock of MET’s achievements, to re-assess needs in the field of training and networking, and to consider the challenges that lie ahead.
Each panellist will consider the topic from a different perspective. Drawing on experience from being involved in SENSE and MET since their beginnings, Joy Burrough-Boenisch will outline how the training and CPD needs for editors and translators working in multilingual environments have changed in the past 25 years. She will highlight some of the ways these needs are being met by organisations for editors and translators, and commercial companies. Mary Ellen Kerans will focus on MET’s core concept – peer training itself. She will reflect on the founders’ thinking behind our fourth and fifth objectives and argue the personal and professional benefits of becoming a presenter, trainer, and peer reviewer of proposals for our programs. She’ll also talk about how our own offerings have evolved over the years partly in response to interactions with invited plenary speakers. Margaret Cargill will draw comparisons with the situations in Asia and Australasia, and discuss potential for future networking activities. She will also speak about MET's relationship with researchers and in particular with PRISEAL (Publishing and Presenting Research Internationally: Issues for Speakers of English as an Additional Language), an informal international grouping of researchers and practitioners whose concerns overlap with those of MET to a large extent. Finally, Alan Lounds will present MET’s plans for the next few years and open the discussion to the floor to allow participants to talk about their experiences and make proposals for the future. 
The panel will be of interest to both longstanding and new members of MET. We hope that it will stimulate further discussion during METM16 leading to participation and proposals at the General Assembly on Saturday.
Joy Burrough-Boenisch, based in the Netherlands, is an authors’ editor and translator for Dutch academics and scientists, who also teaches scientific and academic English. Originally a geographer, she learnt to edit in Sabah (Malaysia) and Australia and has worked as an in-house and freelance copyeditor. Her interest in second language interference and non-native English led her to help found the Society of English-Native-Speaking Editors in the Netherlands and to do a PhD in applied linguistics, on Dutch scientific English. Her many academic and professional publications include contributions to the book Supporting Research Writing: Roles and Challenges in Multilingual Settings, (Chandos, 2013), edited by Valerie Matarese.
Mary Ellen Kerans works freelance mainly as a biomedical translator and authors’ editor in Barcelona. She also works with historical texts or texts in history and occasionally does classroom teaching. She received her MA in TESOL from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her background in education includes writing instruction and materials development, especially in English for specific purposes (health sciences). She was a founder member and the first chair of MET.
Margaret Cargill runs a small consultancy business in Adelaide, Australia called ‘SciWriting: Communicating science effectively in English’, specialising in training, and holds an adjunct senior lectureship in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide. She began as a teacher of German and French in Australian high schools, has worked in the USA, Switzerland and Tonga (South Pacific), and earned a doctorate in Education in 2011 with a thesis on collaborative work between science and language experts. Her scientific writing and train-the-trainer workshops are given in Australia and Asia, notably China and Indonesia.
Alan Lounds is head of the Language Advisory Unit at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, where he manages the translation of institutional and academic documents and the creation of language support resources. He has 25 years’ experience as a freelance editor and translator and also teaches academic writing. He is a founder member, former chair and the current CPD chair of MET.