MITI upgrade grant – recipient Laura Elvin

In 2020, the French Network was delighted to launch our MITI upgrade grant. Recipients receive funds to help cover the cost of upgrading to Qualified ITI Member status. Laura Elvin is a French to English translator specialising in legal translation and she shares what receiving the grant and upgrading has meant to her.

I’ve been with ITI since 2009, initially as a student member, then as a career affiliate (as it was called at the time) and latterly as an AITI. I’d been starting to feel that I really ought to get round to taking the next logical step and attempting the MITI assessment. After all, it’s good to set yourself career progression goals. Yet I always managed to find an excuse for not taking that next step, the most frequent being ‘I’m too busy’ or ‘it’s too expensive’.

I suppose my excuses began to wear a little thin with the arrival of lockdown. While I am among the lucky few who have not suffered a real slowdown in work during the pandemic, social restrictions meant that my main hobby (group singing) quickly ground to a halt, leaving me with a bit more time on my hands and nowhere to go. While other people were taking advantage of their enforced leisure time by acquiring new skills in the kitchen, learning a new handicraft or getting fit (none of which I really have much aptitude for), gaining a new qualification seemed to me to be a far less demanding option.

Not being able to go out and do things also resulted in a little bit of spare cash in the bank, but the assessment fee still seemed a sizeable outlay. News of the French Network’s upgrade grant, instantly making the fee that bit more affordable, was therefore the final push I needed. Without further ado I applied for the assessment and then for the grant and was delighted to hear that the committee had approved my request. This made me determined not to fail, as I would have hated to feel that I’d wasted the network’s money!

I was careful to prepare as thoroughly as I could for the assessment and to keep my diary completely clear for the week in question. When the time came, I found the assessment challenging (as it should rightly be) but, in all honesty, really quite enjoyable too. The only really sticky moment was when my completed assessment disappeared into the ether, only to be located, after the deadline, in ITI’s junk mailbox! There followed a nervous few weeks while I awaited the result and the inevitable niggling doubts started to take hold, followed by the relief of receiving the email confirming that I’d passed.

On the back of my new MITI status I have also acquired the ISO 17100:2015 qualified status. Only time will tell whether these credentials bring me new clients and new work, but I believe that with the insecurities of the post-Brexit and post-pandemic market still looming large, any little way in which we can make ourselves stand out from the crowd can only be a good thing. If nothing else, passing the assessment has given me a real sense of achievement and I am very grateful to the French Network for the grant that helped motivate me to give it a go.

Laura Elvin is a French to English translator specialising in legal translation.