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Vicarious Trauma and Interpreters

March/April 2020 Issue

(The following was originally published on the blog of ATA’s Interpreters Division, www.ata-divisions.org/ID/blog.) The first time I heard of interpreters experiencing vicarious trauma was in 2000. First it was mentioned in relation to the interpreters working during a trial related to the Balkan Wars at the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. But the […]

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What We Call Ourselves Matters

November/December 2019 Issue

(The following was originally published on the blog of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, https://najit.org/#blog.) Every profession has certain requirements that allow a person to enjoy the benefits and respect of their respective titles. I’ve been wondering lately about all the people who call themselves “interpreters” and whether they all deserve to […]

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Got Assumptions? Proceed with Caution!

September/October 2019 Issue

(The following was originally published on the blog of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, https://najit.org/#blog.) We humans are biologically programmed to walk into a situation and immediately start to assess it, right? In fact, what we see around us will often dictate how we conduct ourselves—a true testament to our nature as […]

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Interpreting and the Power of Now

July/August 2019 Issue

Philosophers and spiritual leaders around the world have been talking about the importance of living in the NOW. Dredging up the past can be depressing. Excessive anticipation of the future causes anxiety. According to these sages, living in the moment is the key to happiness. Interpreting, especially simultaneously, brings us into the NOW more effectively […]

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Yes, Conference Interpreting Is a Thing

March/April 2019 Issue

“What are you studying?” During graduate school, when I was living in Toronto and constantly traveling back and forth between the U.S. and Canada, I got used to this question as the customs agent saw the student visa in my passport. It took me awhile to come up with a short answer because when I […]

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Mind Your Language, You @#x!$%* !

January/February 2019 Issue

In late 2017, I was interviewed by the BBC in connection with an incident involving the interpreter who watered down parts of President Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly that were critical of the Iranian regime. Detailed transcriptions of both the original and the interpretation can be easily found online. The interpreter was severely […]

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Spoken Language Education Interpreting at a Tipping Point: Let’s Not Reinvent the Wheel

November/December 2018 Issue

(The following was originally posted on the InterpretAmerica blog and is reprinted here with permission, http://bit.ly/InterpretAmerica.) Spoken language education interpreting is here. The signs are everywhere. And now is the critical moment for those of us who work in its sister specializations—health care and legal interpreting—to stretch out a helping hand and bring education interpreters […]

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Through the Looking Glass

March/April 2018 Issue

They are easy to spot. Capricious, overdemanding interpreters for whom nothing is ever right: the pay is meager, the hours are long, the tasks are boring, and the coffee is not fresh enough. Judgmental and vocal, they are constantly scanning their surroundings for colleagues or circumstances to blame for their misery. While some are excellent […]

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Microwavable Notebooks and Other Contraptions

January/February 2018 Issue

As a conference interpreter and university instructor, I’m always on the lookout for technological developments that can benefit the interpreting profession. This includes devices that will allow the user to transfer handwritten notes and illustrations into a digital format. What’s the significance of such technology for me? In my professional life, I prepare assignments, teach, […]

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