Welcome to SENSE, the Society of English-Language Professionals in the Netherlands! SENSE is a professional network for language professionals working in, into, or from English; English is our working language, but we’re happy to have you if your native language isn’t English or if you live outside of the Netherlands. Anne Oosthuizen, Martina Abagnale and Danielle Carter, the co-conveners of the Starters SIG (we’ll explain what that is below), have written this blog post to help you navigate SENSE as a new or soon-to-be member. Welcome!
Let’s jump right in: how should you get started when you join SENSE? And how can you get the most out of your SENSE membership? There’s a wealth of resources and information available via the SENSE network, so it can be a little intimidating trying to navigate it all – this guide will help you get started.
Staying up to date
You can add the SENSE blog to your RSS feed. Once you become a member, you will also receive a newsletter with updates about new blog posts and membership-wide events. You can also follow SENSE on Twitter, join the closed SENSE LinkedIn Group, follow the SENSE LinkedIn page, and join the SENSE Facebook page.
SENSE also wants to hear from you! If you have a blog, SENSE will help to advertise your posts by occasionally sharing them on social media and in the newsletter. To notify SENSE about your blog, send an RSS link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
The best way to stay tuned is to subscribe to relevant groups on the forum! SIGs are small, members-run subgroups within SENSE that cater to specific fields of interest, topics or regions. You can find a list of all the SIGs here.
You’re welcome to attend events from SIGs that you’re not subscribed to, and also feel free to attend, for example, Southern SIG events even if you live in Groningen (or Spain). Keep an eye on the calendar to find events that may be relevant for you.
The Starters SIG is specifically geared towards people who are just getting started in the language industry or people who are changing paths within the industry. We organize monthly events on a variety of topics relevant for us; for example, finding initial clients, setting rates, or freelance marketing.
You can subscribe to any SIG on the forum to stay updated on their activity. In addition to a category for each of the SIGs, there are also various categories for different issues or interests. You can subscribe to a category and receive an email update for each new post by clicking on any category and then hitting “Subscribe” in the horizontal bar above “Subject.”
Some of the most important categories for getting started are Jobs (where SENSE members can post job opportunities), Professional Practice (a place to discuss some of the nitty gritty of work as a language professional), Resources (where members post resources that they’ve found helpful) and the Starters SIG group. You can also add a browser bookmark to the most recent topics so that you can check in on the latest posts in categories you’re not subscribed to.
The very first thing you should do is introduce yourself on the Introduce Yourself section of the forum.
In addition to SIG events and the forum, the Best Practices handbook, the mentorship programme, the SENSE conference on alternating years with the Professional Development Day (see the calendar) all provide opportunities to develop your professional practice and advance your career.
You can also volunteer for SENSE, which is a great way to put yourself out there and get to know the many wonderful language professionals who are SENSE members. You can volunteer by setting up a SIG, joining a SIG as a co-convener or by helping with social media or event planning, for example.
Again, keep an eye on the calendar for other professional development opportunities! SENSE regularly hosts workshops and events.
You may have also noticed a few non-SENSE events on the calendar. The calendar is updated with other language-related events and conferences, and SENSE has a few sister organizations, which also host events and produce content that may be relevant for you.
Hot tip: It may seem funny to look into these other organizations, but you can find a variety of different events, networking groups etc and get a discount at SENSE’s sister organizations if you’re a SENSE member, so go on and see if there are relevant things happening in these organizations too!
In addition to SENSE’s sister organizations, you may also want to check out the Vertalerskoffiehoek (a Dutch-language translators Facebook group, which many SENSE members are a part of and which hosts a weekly co-working session), the Editors Association of Earth Facebook group, and the BP Translation conference (which hosts regular professional development events for translators).
If you’re still feeling a little lost or overwhelmed, get in touch! Post your question on the Starters SIG forum or email one of our conveners. We’ll help you find the way.