Feb 2, 2010
Quite some time (a year or two) ago, I was invited by an Australian colleague, Andrew Bell, to join a new translators' network he was building. It looked interesting, but at the time it was rather small, and I seldom had the time to do more than drop by and browse a few interesting blog posts. While I was otherwise occupied, the site continued to grow and is now approaching 500 members. I see a lot of respected colleagues whom I have met in the past through the BDÜ or ProZ, typically those with a little more interest in the professional side of the profession. Due to events elsewhere, that growth has accelerated: I think more than 100 serious translators have joined in the last week or two, and last night a German group was formed.
What's the draw? Not the job posts, certainly. There aren't any, though there is a list where one could post opportunities. Nor are there any competitive schemes to earn gold stars for shot-from-the-hip term proposals. The Watercooler is simply an evolving virtual space in which people who are serious about our profession can share experience, advice and fellowship. It's a no-fee members-only site that is not open to the search engines, where matters best discussed among colleagues can stay among colleagues. Altogether a fine thing.
This isn't a "replacement" for the breadth offered at other sites which emphasize other things such as directories to be filtered according to X criteria to find translators willing to work for -Y, terminology resources (not sure how/if this would work on Watercooler) or contests. It's simply a different experience, one which will lack certain useful elements for a raw beginner looking to make his first mistakes, but for mature colleagues who understand the nature of our business and some of the approaches, tools and techniques that are part of it, I think this can have a lot to offer. Check it out.