Letter from the Editor: Training for and by interpreters
Training opportunities abound and AIIC groups and regions are more involved than ever before.
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I’ve been thinking a lot about training and professional development. The most immediate reason is that in late 2004 I became a student again when I enrolled in the University of Geneva/ETI course for teachers of interpreting. Moreover, I just returned from a week-long session on campus. Daily mental exercise and nightly conversations with classmates broadened and deepened my outlook. Ever the generalist, I was eager to collect and store information for future use. And the sometimes reluctant specialist in me learned more about what my specialty is and how to transmit both knowledge and skill.
Which takes me back to the beginning - thinking about training and, appropriate to this context, thinking about AIIC. And the thought that comes to mind is that training has proliferated in AIIC. Such an idea may not be evident at first, so let’s review information available on this website.
Back in 2000 Communicate! interviewed Birgit Strolz, who was then heading AIIC’s Training Committee (TC), and with her helped informed readers of the main TC activities. In 2001, we put out an issue in training that included the results of AIIC’s periodic survey of training programs (the results of a new survey will be coming soon) and several articles. The website also offers documents such as Setting up a Conference Interpreter Program and Advice to Students.
More to the point, AIIC groups and regions have made professional development a reality. The Training Committee has carried out a series of Training of Trainers Seminars; the first one was organized to coincide with the AIIC Assembly in Porto and was on Teaching Strategies for Simultaneous. Following that were sessions on Teaching Strategies for Consecutive and Class Management.
A few years ago, the Legal and Court Interpreting Committee organized a Forum on Interpretation at International Courts and Tribunals. The Private Market Sector has made a habit of organizing events specific to the needs of its members, including seminars on marketing for interpreters and how to use the internet for promotional purposes.
AIIC regions have been active in language-specific courses, some of which are now regular events. The French Language and Culture course in Paris is entering its third year. Similar courses have been organized for Dutch and Portuguese. And following suit, this summer the US region will offer an American Language and Culture Course.
Communicate! has tried to provide readers with more information by offering reviews of courses by participants. The first Paris course was covered in our September 2003 issue. And a workshop on media interpreting co-sponsored by the AIIC Training Committee and ARTE television was reviewed that same year.
But lest all this hyperlinking lead to hyperventilation, we’ll stop here. For those of you who want to keep up with future opportunities, make sure you regularly check our events calendar.
We open this issue with Takis Mouzourakis’ re-evaluation of the concept of “deverbalization.” In How do we interpret? he says: "It is hard to argue against the value of this notion as a pedagogical tool that has served to nurture thousands of interpreters… Yet, one might be entitled to ask, without intending any disservice to the memory of Danica Seleskovitch, a great teacher in her own right, whether this view of interpreting can be still considered valid today.”
In September of last year we published our first article on the profession in Turkey. Now we have our second. Ebru Diriker’s research examines”how simultaneous interpreting and interpreters were presented in the Turkish press and television from September 1988 through March 2003.” Her purpose is to shed light on when and why our profession receives public attention, and what differences there are between how the media sees us and how we view ourselves.
Important question: Should you remove your tongue from your cheek before entering the booth? Perhaps we should ask our guest advice columnist Phil Smith, whom we are pleased to welcome back with Safety First: “Ensure you aren’t sitting in a draught, in danger of falling or exposed to high levels of external stress before reading these handy hints” – has been illustrated by Benoit Cliquet.
Jesús Baigorri-Jalón has just published his second work on the history of interpreting. Interpreters at the United Nations: A History is "a timely reminder of the role played by interpreters in the history of The United Nations, that most international of all international organisations.” Our short review will tell you more about this book dedicated to all professional interpreters.
Marla Sanchez-Pietton attended the latest Italian refresher course offered by CRIC in Rome and was kind enough to send us her impressions. We hope that future participants in courses of all kind will help us continue to pass on useful information.
This issue’s Language in the News will direct you to information on “hyperpolyglots, the translation of humor, the roots of alfalfa and algebra, those not-always-innocent shifts in usage, the rise and decline of languages… and, of course, more.”
We thank everyone who has sent us links to articles or websites, and invite all of you to follow their example. An information community is a form of continuing education in itself!
Articles published in this section reflect the views of the author(s) and should not be taken to represent the official position of AIIC.