Spring into Action 2015 – Planting the Seeds of Professional Success for Language Interpreters and Translators April 25 and 26, 2015 – La Salle University By Carlota Dalziel

 

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How best to put words to this experience? A weekend treat, both from the intellectual and social angles. Two days dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge in an atmosphere of great camaraderie and a “je ne sais quoi” difficult to express in writing. The conference was well attended. There were 133 guests. The speakers were impressive and the wide variety of the themes they covered appealed to both interpreters and translators. Food and drinks served were first class and contributed to a feeling of contentment. No wine, alas! The good stuff, though, flowed generously at the dinners on both days. The one offered at Rosa Blanca in Old City on Saturday evening was followed by a guided tour of historic old city graciously given by Donna Jarvela, Conservator and Restorer of the Cultural and Art Heritage. It proved especially informative to the out-of-town folk, as well as to the visiting speakers. The optional evening activities were superbly organized by Armando Ezquerra Hasbun. DVTA Program Chair Maria Weir did a wonderful job at organizing the dinner at Rosa Blanca as well as selecting the menus for all the meals enjoyed throughout the weekend. She was assisted by Program Co-Chair Carlota Dalziel.

Together with ATA’s Spanish Division the DVTA excelled at putting on this outstanding event, to which the Hispanic Institute of La Salle University contributed by providing a great venue, as well as the coffee break refreshments.

It would make for too lengthy an article to detail all the sessions open to the attending public. A few of the speakers, though, are worth mentioning here. James Plunkett, Coordinator of Interpreter Services and of the Language Access Program of the District of Columbia Courts, Matthew Schlecht, scientific medical translator, Armando Ezquerra Hasbun, certified by the Federal Courts, NAJIT and by ATA in the English › Spanish language pair, Anthony Rivas, core faculty at the University of Arizona’s Agnese Haury Institute and Antonio Martin from Spain, a Spanish Philology specialist from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Other outstanding presenters were Heidi Cazes Sevilla, Leticia Molinero, Izaskun Orkwis, Gabriela Jenicek, Doborah Saldaña, Renee Wulf, Rudy Tellez, Georganne Weller, Virginia Valencia, Rudy Heller and Marian Greenfield (former ATA President from 2005 to 2007). DVTA President, Antonio Guerra, also gave an informative presentation on The Power of Collective Engagement. Intensive skill-building workshops were also offered to both translators and interpreters. One of particular interest given by Armando Ezquerra Hasbun was titled “The Subtle Art of Transcreation.” This author found it inspiring and thought-provoking, being a subject rarely touched upon in similar seminars. Transcreation is a term used chiefly by advertising and marketing professionals to refer to the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style, tone and context. As a working interpreter, this author was keenly interested in the workshop, where successful interpretation was defined as the art of accurately conveying meaning and “evoking the same emotions and carrying the same implications in the target language as it does in the source language.”

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Another story that merits a special mention was one brought up by Anne Connor, DVTA secretary and former president. It happened at one of the final sessions on Sunday with the Panel of Experts on Translation -which ran right into the Translation Roundtable. Giovanna Lester was moderating a panel formed by Kirk Anderson, Marian Greenfield, Antonio Martin, Anthony Rivas and Anne Connor. I quote Anne: “When an audience member asked a question about proofreading/editing one’s own work, Antonio Martin preferred to answer in Spanish. Gio then asked if there were any non-Spanish speakers in the room. Three interpreters from the School District of Philadelphia (two Khmer and one Mandarin) raised their hands. At that, Rudy Heller hopped out of his chair in the front row and crouched behind the three interpreters, simultaneously and flawlessly interpreting every word that came out of Antonio Martin’s mouth, as well as a follow-up comment from another audience member who preferred to tell her story in Spanish because of the poorly translated Spanish words she’d seen at a doctor’s office. It really summed up the spirit of the whole weekend!” End of quote.

Armando Ezquerra Hasbun ably chaired Spring into Action, assisted by the DVTA board and Francesca Samuel, head of ATA’s SPA. A very effective team indeed. Comments on the seminar have been pouring in. Here are a few:

“You deserve a standing ovation for the amazing conference” (Sylvia Castellanos). “I finally learned how I can actually practice to improve my skills, rather than just have all the material thrown at me and then just be told, go home and practice.” (Christina Verduin). “Tony, Armando, Anne, Maria and Carlota went over, above and beyond what was expected of them, in making things work so smoothly … What an experience! A success at all levels: the welcome, details, preparation, selection of speakers, attendees, location… weather too!”(Gio Lester). “I had a great time; made new acquaintances, renewed old ones, and learned more about the interpreter business than I have been able to glean in all my previous years. I also appreciated the chocolate and cookies in the goodie bag that I was given after the sessions on Saturday! Someone knows about my sweet tooth!” (Matthew Schlecht). Each speaker at the seminar received a goodie bag.

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On Sunday afternoon before the roundtable sessions, and outside in the pleasant sunny weather, a musical group spontaneously came together and delighted attendees with an impromptu concert. Many in the audience joined in the singing with gusto. DVTA member and First Judicial District of Philadelphia staff interpreter, Javi Aguilar, had brought his guitar and other musical instruments. Once he got started it didn’t take long before people were singing and dancing along with him! James Plunkett from the Washington, D.C. courts joined in and played on Javi’s guitar with great enthusiasm. Javi also played wooden flutes while a few from the public provided the percussion, using Javi’s Costa Rican shells to great effect. This joyous display of talent will no doubt be fondly remembered by performers and audience alike.

The last Sunday event was held at Olney 100. A round table with a panel of experts had been invited by DVTA for the occasion. The panel members were James Plunkett, from the DC Superior Courts, The Honorable Ida K. Chen, from the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania (a frequent guest at DVTA events), and Mr.Osvaldo Aviles, from the Administrative Office of the Courts of PA. It turned out to be a very lively and informative session, with a brisk exchange of questions and answers on the latest issues in the field of interpretation. Judge Chen’s lively contribution was inspiring, best expressed in the words of Tony Guerra, DVTA’s president “Thank you for lending your phenomenal presence, wit and wisdom to contribute to the success of our event. It was encouraging and thrilling to have experienced so many individuals gathered with the common goal of quality, skill and ethics in language access and so fitting to have you and Osvaldo in our midst.”

A delicious dinner on Sunday night at Tierra Colombiana brought to a close an unforgettable seminar. There was definitely a “je ne sais quoi” to this event, and I don’t mind repeating myself! Thank you DVTA! Thank you ATA SPD! Thank you La Salle Hispanic Institute! The successful outcome was the earned reward. An appreciated parting touch was a free headshot offered to all attendees by the team of professional photographers in charge of photographing the group at closing on Sunday. All good things come to an end…