NCTA, Perspective

NCTA Member Spotlight: Afaf Steiert

by William Giller

The goal of the NCTA Member Spotlight is to showcase our association’s diverse and multitalented members. Up next: Afaf Steiert!

Afaf Steiert

1. When did you first join the NCTA?

I joined NCTA in 2004.

2. What motivated you to stay an NCTA member?

I found it to be a professional, welcoming group inclusive to newcomers, and home to great mentors. I am always happy to volunteer at events and meet other colleagues. I learned a lot by being on the NCTA board for two years, and would happily moderate future NCTA webinars.

3. Are you more of a translator? Interpreter? Both?

Both. I’m an Arabic translator and interpreter, plus the business manager for Afaf Translations, LLC.

4. What is your language pair?

Arabic and English.

5. Care to share a memorable professional anecdote?

I got a call for my very first simultaneous interpreting assignment from the University of Michigan. I thought it was a spam call! A group of delegates from the MENA region came to Santa Cruz. I had been waiting for this type of event for about two years.

6. What is something notable you have learned from an NCTA meeting or colleague?

I learned a lot from all of my NCTA colleagues and through the organization I got access to meetings and workshops.

I gained a lot of confidence about being able to live off of translation and interpretation; as well as being able to found my own company. I learned the basics of simultaneous interpreting from Jacki Noh’s workshops, and CAT translation from Tuomas Konstantin’s Trados workshops. I learned what types of interpreting can be shadowed, and much more every day. Every meeting with a colleague is always another step to improvement throughout the journey.

7. What do you think the biggest challenge our industry faces today?

The biggest challenge is attracting new graduates to start a career in our industry. We must keep welcoming and attracting new professionals and graduates who are interested in starting a career in our industry.

Another big challenge in our industry is to not behave in a protective or fearful way towards AI, or act like an exclusive club of peers who rely on referrals only within their circles. We should embrace the opportunities and benefits that AI can bring to our industry, such as enhancing the quality, efficiency, and diversity of our services.

Also, we can promote the value and importance of our industry for communication, problem-solving, and development in the global context. By doing so, we can help the language industry keep growing and contribute to the greater good.

8. Outside of work, what can you be found doing?

Traveling, practicing Tai Chi, cooking, swimming, and breathing fresh air.