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On the "Interpreter Training Resources" website i read about so-called "date cards":

date cards

Professional interpreters generally have squared "date cards", the size of a postcard, printed like a calendar for each year. Across the top they put their name, telephone and fax numbers and language combination and the year. The months are in a vertical column down the left-hand-side, the days across the top horizontally. Twice a year they mark their assignments by blocking out the corresponding squares and send these to their regular clients so that conference organizers can see at a glance when they are free, thus saving unnecessary telephone calls. It is also a useful way to keep in touch with potential clients and remind them of your existence without pestering them by telephone.

It is also possible to keep potential clients posted as to your availability over the Internet by means of the AIIC website.

Since I've never heard of them before I wondered whether these are actually used? And if yes, in what way? Am I expected to have them prepared?

asked 22 Apr '12, 13:03

Jamizuno's gravatar image


edited 22 Apr '12, 18:04

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

I've never heard of date cards. Some recruiters may ask you to send them your availability. That may facilitate recruiting. It should be done quite regularly- not twice a year- but rather at least fortnightly. You can do so by sending an excel spreadsheet. Some recruiters will provide you with such a spreadsheet.

You can also use Google Calendar by sharing your calendar with the recruiter so they will receive any update.

The AIIC website doesn't allow you to keep potential clients posted as to your availability.

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answered 22 Apr '12, 13:40

Marta%20Piera%20Marin's gravatar image

Marta Piera ...

edited 22 Apr '12, 18:01

eh! I remember using those briefly in the dark days when I started interpreting around 1990. ( Those were the days when some recruiters would still mail --as in snail mail-- you job offers ). Faxes had been around for 10 years and telephones for over a century but never mind. Those were also the days when I attracted weird looks for reporting to the booth with a Toshiba T1200 laptop.

By 1995 I was busy developing software to automate availability management, which savvy recruiters have been using for 15 years. Sadly, all attempts of mine to get AIIC interpreters to sponsor a worldwide availability management system failed. I wrote about it at on a long time ago.

BTW I don't know who wrote:

It is also possible to keep potential clients posted as to your availability over the Internet by means of the AIIC website.

but they're clearly wrong. Unless they refer Google Apps calendars -- AIIC offers each member a professional account on Google Apps for Business featuring calendars -- similar to Gmail calendars -- that can easily be shared. Essentially, that's just an electronic version of the old paper-based date cards and not nearly enough to make the interpreting profession more efficient.

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answered 22 Apr '12, 17:53

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

edited 22 Apr '12, 19:23

...being of an earlier vintage, I HAVE heard of date cards and even filled them out and mailed them, in the distant past...but not for a very long time :-)... I'd venture to say that you can safely forget about them.

They were mainly used by freelancers who regularly worked for organizations (remembering that in those salad days offers were made well in advance for longish conferences) and were looking for a practical way of reminding those recruiters of their still available dates in case an un-expected need arose... rather than having them phone round or even write (using land lines & snail mail) to find out :-).

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answered 22 Apr '12, 14:13

msr's gravatar image


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question asked: 22 Apr '12, 13:03

question was seen: 2,596 times

last updated: 22 Apr '12, 19:23 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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