InterpretAmerica: One Profession. One Real Profession.
June 9, 2013 § 4 Comments
It seems to me that a week never goes by without running into a colleague who is angry, frustrated, or confused about the new technology that is coming into our profession, an interpreter who is thrilled and excited about all these very same changes, and a colleague telling me that he or she was misunderstood, humiliated, obstructed, or underpaid while doing his or her job. Some of them react with anger, others with frustration, a few seem resigned, but a growing number of our fellow interpreters have been reacting to these real-life situations by taking action, doing something about it. Finally, interpreters finding a solution to this “never-ending” situation.
As those of you who know me personally (and many others have figured out by reading this blog) know, I have always considered myself a professional at the same level as all those who we provide our services to: scientists, politicians, attorneys, diplomats, physicians, military officers, school principals; and I try to act that way when I provide my interpretation services. I feel that we should all consider ourselves a real profession, perhaps even a profession above many others as we are also a little bit of an art. For this reason, when I first heard of InterpretAmerica about three years ago, I immediately fell in love with this idea of Katharine Allen and Barry Olsen.
I attended InterpretAmerica the last time it was held on the east coast two years. It was like a dream. The medical interpreters were there sitting next to the court interpreters, the military interpreters were having a conversation with the agencies; the equipment companies were there having a chat with the educational institutions, and the conference interpreters were sharing experiences, and learning, from the community interpreters. All interpretation fields under one roof! The colleagues from the east coast were there, so were those from the west coast, the European Parliament, the professional organizations, I saw board members and influential colleagues from ATA, AIIC, NAJIT, IMIA, and many more.
This week, InterpretAmerica will hold its Fourth Summit in the Washington, DC area. Looking at the schedule and list of speakers, it looks like this will be a very useful and interesting event. Unfortunately, this year I will not be able to attend the summit due to professional obligations, but I will be checking in regularly with many of my friends who will be there, and for the first time, I can follow the webcast of the second day if I chose to. As you know, I have devoted this blog to everything important and useful to our profession. This is one of the most important efforts in the history of interpretation in the United States. I encourage you to attend the summit, to exchange ideas, to take those ideas back home where you should share them with your colleagues. And to those of you who cannot attend this year’s summit, I invite you to get the webcast and to set aside the dates of next year’s gathering and go. I invite all my colleagues who are attending the summit, or have attended one in the past, to share their experiences for the benefit of all. I wish all the best to Katharine and Barry.