This past weekend, three members of the DVTA traveled to Reston, VA to attend the 4th Annual Interpret America Conference, “The Cutting Edge: Bringing Interpreting to the Forefront”.
For the past four years, it has brought together interpreters of all levels and language industry professionals from multiple sectors and from around the US and as far as South/Central America, Asia, Australia/NZ and Europe. It was established to create a yearly platform for the distribution and exchange of information on trends, technology and critical issues, as well as to provide a unique networking opportunity. Below are some impressions from Tony Guerra, President of the DVTA and Director of Interpreting Service for CETRA Language Solutions, Maria Weir, DVTA Board member and Programming Chair, and Monique-Paule Tubb (FR<>EN) translator and interpreter.
Tony’s favorite session: “I participated in a spirited and dynamic breakout workgroup to discuss the challenges and priorities of a newly formed coalition made up of the nation’s top interpreting organizations such as ATA, RID, NAJIT, CCHI, IMIA, AIIC, TAALS and others. These organizations each have a representative on this coalition to collectively work towards a universally accepted interpreting certification. Moderated by Isabel Arocha (IMIA) and Dorothee Racette (ATA’s president), our work group was asked to identify the key challenges and priorities facing the interpreting industry today.”
“The idea of a generalist interpreting certification is one that would ultimately be recognized across all industries and throughout the nation (similar to that of ATA translation certification). This has been an issue that has been long deliberated and continues to prevail as our profession gains ever-growing numbers and the disparity of interpreters’ qualifications creates confusion and hinders the definition of clear-cut overarching professional guidelines and ethics. With representatives from the main organizations, which dominate the legal, medical, sign- language and conference interpreting Diaspora, it is our hope that real progress can be made towards achieving this important and necessary goal.”
“Among the agreed-upon main challenges to the profession were, primarily, the misconceptions/lack of understanding about the profession from clients, interpreters themselves and language companies, and the need for a steering committee to establish best practices, standards and to govern as an authority.”
“This was the first time that I ventured to the Interpret America Summit, and it was interesting to see the tremendous influence that technology and social media continue to exert on the language-service industries, and the call for change in the way we work as interpreters.”
“A group of startup companies exhibited their products at the Summit, and a few of them captured my attention.”
“Capiche: a mobile video-interpreting platform accessible to clients and interpreters via smart phone, was founded by industry experts and investors in Atlanta, Ga. Capiche is in a beta stage and will be launched this summer. Some of the advantages it offers are: working from home, scheduling sessions in advance and, if the client likes your work, he or she can link with you for future jobs. Payment is by the minute and the interpreter receives 2/3 of the total compensation. http://www.capiche.pro”.
“Stratus Video: another video-interpreting platform, the company offers the services from video centers to healthcare providers. They have an average of 50,000 video calls a days. If you are curious about it, go to: http://www.stratusvideo.com”.
“Other mobile video providers that you might want to check out for opportunities:
“I have attended all four summits, and while the word ‘summit’ has disappeared to be replaced with the more common designation of ‘conference’, I have noticed a distinct shift in the attendance. While the first summit was overwhelmingly attended by freelance interpreters, there is now a noticeable shift in the attendance toward fewer freelancers and more providers, in particular, technology-oriented companies. This year’s conference definitely made its point that technology is here to stay, that it will impact the way interpreting is delivered and that only those on board the tech train will survive. This is true and important to stress. However, I feel that this conference is moving away from catering to the independent interpreters and closer to helping companies deal with the shift. There were fewer strictly educational sessions and more general and tech sessions.”
“One discussion group I participated in, and which I felt was very interesting, was how interpreters can protect themselves, and/or repair the damage to their psyche, after particularly difficult assignments (for example, when death and dying or refugee recount of atrocities is involved, ). We first described what happens in such cases: we may become sad, depressed, cold and unresponsive. All types of solutions were offered from physical activities (walking, sports, etc.), to meditation, debriefing with friends and family (while preserving confidentiality), and, when possible, participating in support groups. Someone even suggested organizing a help line at the national level.”
“Another point made during this conference was the importance of social media to establish our presence, from Facebook and LinkedIn to Twitter, blogs and any other dynamic means. Static websites are now things of the past and useless in promoting our services. We must incorporate a dynamic component that is constantly updated and brought to the attention of our target readers by alert systems.”
“On the whole, I agree with Tony that, while no earth-shattering information was shared, there was a lot of good information available to all attendees. It is a good idea to attend to keep up with the trends, offer suggestions, and mainly to network and get together with some old friends we would not see otherwise. As a former company owner, I am always interested in keeping up with who is around and what challenges they are faced with. As a current freelance interpreter and editor, it is a good venue to remind everyone that I am here and ready to offer my many years of professional experience.”