NCTA, Perspective

NCTA Member Spotlight: María Luisa Boden

by William Giller

It should come as no surprise to you, dear reader, that our association boasts a diverse and multitalented bunch of language professionals. We are located all over Northern California and beyond, and I think it is high time that we start showcasing some of our amazing talent.

Without further ado, I would like to introduce our first member to be showcased: María Luisa Boden. Ms. Boden is one of the NCTA’s founding members, thus making her our longest standing member!

1) When did you first join the NCTA?

I joined the NCTA on the date of its foundation in 1978. I wish I could remember the exact date, but the first issue of the Translorial mentions March 4, 1978, as the first presentation meeting. A cool 45 years! It was an exciting occasion. A lot of us were there. Tom Bauman had done an excellent job of publicizing it, I think mostly by telephone – a painstaking job because in those days many of us translators in Northern California did not know each other and did not share much information. Soon after arriving in San Francisco in 1975, the ATA held a conference at Stanford, which was attended by many local translators, and that’s where I connected and started friendships with many of them. So that’s how I made it to Tom’s list of people to call.

2) What motivated you to stay an NCTA member?

The association grew and delivered so much of what we had wished. Many members stepped in and generously gave their time and talent for the benefit of all of us. There were educational opportunities, relevant presentations, assistance with preparation for ATA accreditation (now certification), work referrals and opportunities, dictionary sharing and, of course, you could always find someone to call when you needed help or were stuck with a question; and last but not least, memorable annual parties at Inés Swaney’s and later at Tony Roder’s. But I mostly remain a member because it is an honor and a pleasure to see the NCTA continue to thrive.

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

Mostly a translator. I stopped interpreting long ago as unfortunately my hearing deteriorated.

4) What is your language pair?

English into Spanish. I am certified for EN-ES, ES-EN and FR-EN, all of which I used when required by my employer, but as a freelancer I work only into my own language.

5) Care to share a memorable professional anecdote?

When I mentioned our exciting plans to form an association to one local client of mine, an owner of a small translation service, I was totally taken aback when he reacted by telling me that that was never going to work because there weren’t any capable translators who knew what they were doing in the entire area and the project would be a complete failure. I tried to argue to no avail. Luckily not everyone felt that way, and to my surprise, he showed up at the presentation together with several other agencies who became corporate members.

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

Too many to remember here! I learned a lot about networking, which is still not my forte. It helped me not only to get work, but also to build a network of freelance translators when I was an in-house translation manager with an engineering company, a job that incidentally I got thanks to a recommendation from Tom Bauman. Later, as a freelancer myself, I built on this network to share projects with other colleagues.

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

The profound challenges posed by technological advances in MT and AI. At 81 years of age, I am semi-retired and no longer directly impacted, but I am very aware that my younger colleagues live in a brave new world and will need constant education and reinventing of their roles so they can use technology to their advantage and without fear of becoming obsolete. This is where the NCTA and its more technologically savvy members are in a position to help.

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

Enjoying my grandchildren and my family and friends, hiking, reading and volunteering. Zero stress.