Recap of the 2017 DVTA Summit

By: John Leahy

I had the pleasure of attending the DVTA’s Translator and Interpreter’s Summit on May 6th. I have to say, this was the best T&I seminar I have attended in a long time! I not only learned a lot, but I had a great time. The summit was located on the campus of La Salle University, which is the home of The Hispanic Institute, where certificate programs and a Master’s degree program are offered in Translation and Interpretation.

There was an opening ceremony and then a “Morning Eye Opener” where three pillars of the industry offered global, legal and medical perspectives in translation and interpretation. Jiri Stejskal, CEO of CETRA Language Solutions, Jacqueline Ortiz, Director from Christiana Care Health System, and Osvaldo Aviles from the Administrative Office of the PA Courts all made presentations, followed by a question and answer session.

In the morning, there were three seminar options: Kenneth Farrall from MTM Linguasoft presented “What’s New in Translation Technology?”; Deborah Wexler, a translating/subtitling specialist gave a presentation entitled “Subtitling 101: What, How and Where”; and Enrique Garcia, a PA State Courts Staff Interpreter, gave a seminar on “The Structure of the Courts: An Interpreter’s Perspective”. I chose to attend the subtitling seminar since that is an area I am interested in. I have to say, Deborah’s presentation was excellent! She went over everything from soup to nuts about subtitling. She showed us real life examples, explained what is expected by companies who hire subtitlers, and even gave us a list of companies and contacts to send our resumes to. Following her workshop, she made time for a Q&A session. Deborah Wexler is someone who has experience not only in subtitling, but she also hires subtitlers. What a great speaker and an extremely informative experience!

In the afternoon, Enrique Garcia presented “An Introduction to Forensic Transcription and Translation (T/T)”, Deborah Wexler gave a seminar on “Meet the Newish Kids on the Block: New Words in the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy”, and Jacqueline Ortiz spoke about “Unconscious Bias”. I had selected Enrique Garcia’s forensic transcription and translation seminar. Enrique gave a very complete presentation explaining translation and transcription, how the reports should be correctly written, and the difficulties inherent in this type of translation. I learned so much during this presentation! Enrique gave great examples on each of the topics he covered. Enrique’s experience with translation and transcription is apparent and he skillfully presented invaluable information for newcomers to this type of work.

The last seminar of the day was the “Secondary Trauma Panel”. Heidi Velhagen, CHI and Supervisor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Deborah Saldaña, CMI and Interpreter Trainer, NICHC; Kristen Woodruff, Critical Incident Response Team, MLH; and Ashley Sonson, Licensed Social Worker, Penn Presbyterian all participated in this interactive panel. I have to say, this was such an awesome activity! We all know that as medical and/or judicial interpreters, we see good things but we also witness some very tragic situations. Many times, the interpreter has no place to vent or decompress after a traumatic interpreting situation. This panel discussed these situations and also talked about some ways interpreters can deal with the stress of secondary trauma. I would definitely like to have another panel like this in the future, since many times the interpreter has no one to turn to after experiencing a high stress work situation. Congratulations to the DVTA for addressing this topic.

I really would like to thank the DVTA team, who worked very hard for many months to put together this impressive seminar. The luncheon that was served was delicious and we even had live music, thanks to Javi Aguilar. I learned so much during the summit. The speakers were top notch and they shared their real life experiences with the attendees. I look forward to the next DVTA event!