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Faculty and Community Seminar on Interpreting Studies and Practice

Funded by the Five College Consortium, this seminar aims at bringing together Five College faculty, researchers from other institutions, and community members working with and researching interpreting. The idea is to provide more visibility to the important academic and practical work of spoken language interpreters, and include non-academics in the conversation (people working in the industry and the community), thus bridging the gap between theory and practice. The lectures are recorded and made available to everyone. If you have any questions, please contact Cristiano Mazzei.

Technology, Language Access, and the US Courts: Current Trends and New Developments (Oct 21, 2020)

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With an ever-increasing number of limited English proficiency speakers in the United States, the U.S. court system is regularly challenged to provide linguistic access to legal proceedings in many languages. Language access plans often look to pair in-person interpreting services with a combination of in-person, remote, distance, or video interpreting technologies to meet increasing demands. This webinar presents an overview of some of the current research on these technologies, the impact that they have on interpreting in legal settings, and some new technological developments of interest to interpreters and court administrators providing language access to the U.S. legal system.

Influence of Cultural Difference on Humanitarian Interpretation in Natural Disaster Crisis Situations (Sept 16, 2020)

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Based on a case study, Montes analyzes how cultural factors play an important role in interpreting during natural disasters, specifically in the case of Hurricane María, which swept through Puerto Rico in September 2017. One of the main conclusions evidenced by the study is that even though interpreters are taught to be an invisible entity, in reality the human component forces them to abandon this space and adopt the role of a cultural mediator, one that enables them to demonstrate sensitivity and empathy toward those affected by the crisis.

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Reflections on Approaches & Trends in Dialogue Interpreting Research (April 13, 2020)

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The past several decades have witnessed a significant increase in research and publications related to dialogue interpreting. A scan of the relevant literature demonstrates that such research is carried out by a wide range of scholars with varied theoretical backgrounds, professional contexts, and interests. The presenter will provide an overview of some of the main research approaches in dialogue interpreting, types of research questions that are posed by scholars from different backgrounds, and commonly-employed research methods. She will argue for greater mutual awareness, communication, and cooperation among researchers whose work touches on dialogue interpreting and dialogue interpreters.

Borderless People Reflecting on Borders: Interpreters from the Asylum-Seeking Community Review their Professional and Personal Boundaries (March 24, 2020)

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Schuster’s presentation examines concepts of professional and personal boundaries as experienced by Eritrean graduates of three medical and psychosocial interpreting courses in Israel, focusing on the tension between the participants' ‘normative roles’ and ‘typical roles.’ Her research and analysis of the actual boundaries navigated by interpreters to the most vulnerable communities can help shape training and mentoring to identify and even prevent dilemmas and potential conflicts, provide support to the interpreters and help bridge individual, cultural and institutional needs.

Training Prisoners to Become Interpreters in Spain? (Feb 5, 2020)

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Communication with foreign populations in penitentiaries is often carried out by prison companions who speak both the foreign and the national language(s). These ad hoc interpreters and translators often lack required language proficiency and the necessary training to perform this task effectively. This talk focuses on some of the challenges, design and implementation of a pilot project developed to train bilingual inmates in Spanish penitentiaries. The project Efficient Communication in Penitentiaries was made possible thanks to a coordinated research-action – still on progress- between the University of Alcalá, Madrid, and the Spanish Directorate General for Penitentiaries.

Spoken Language Interpreting in US Schools: An Emerging Field (Dec 5, 2019)

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The interpreting profession in the US has specialized without ever generalizing. Such trend is continuing with spoken language educational interpreting (and translation) now taking front and center stage. This arena is not new, but just as with legal and medical, it has hit that mysterious moment when demand for services, better compliance with legal mandates and maturing practitioners have tipped the field into a formal process of professionalization. Katharine Allen explores these trends, the current efforts underway to create a national code of ethics and the broad skill set educational interpreters need to do their job, which present unique challenges to training programs focused on this specialization.

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf: Is RSI the End of the Interpreting Profession? (Nov 7, 2019)

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RSI, VRI, cloud-based interpreting, remote participation, internal cable, and external cable. These are just some of the terms crafted to designate the new interpreting delivery platforms allowing interpreters to service meetings beyond their immediate surroundings. Ewandro Magalhaes will explore the true meaning of this new trend and what it represents for interpreters of today and tomorrow.

Re-examining Impartiality and Role Boundaries (April 10, 2019)

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For years healthcare interpreters in professional settings were expected to be invisible and impartial message conveyors. As the profession has evolved, so have the role expectations and the interpretation of the standards of practice.  Elena Langdon Fortier explores two commonly misunderstood standards of practice for healthcare interpreters – impartiality and role boundaries – and strategies to uphold them. Both standards are essential to guarantee a patient’s right to equal access, and yet they can be tricky to carry out when a situation challenges personal values or pulls at heartstrings.

Interpreted Interviews with Traumatized Children (March 27, 2019)

Video placeholderThis talk focuses on interpreted conversations with children about traumatic subjects, especially suspected child abuse. Lisa Aronson Fontes discusses the importance of kindness, sensitivity, exactness and developmental level in this work, and the key role interpreters play in this interaction. Lisa Aronson Fontes has written about and researched the intersection of languages, culture and trauma. Her book, Interviewing Clients Across Cultures, contains a great deal of information about foreign language interpreting. She also participated in a European Union initiative on interpreting for children in crisis.

Medical Interpreting - Gaps and Opportunities for Collaborations (Feb 28, 2019)

Video placeholderMedical interpreting requires great fluency and the ability to interpret in both consecutive and simultaneous modes.  Interpreters in this setting are trained specifically to be medical interpreters, but are not often exposed to theories, extensive pre-professional practice, and interpreting skills development training before they begin to interpret in healthcare. Tim Moriarty, Manager of Translation & Interpreting Services at Bay State Health discusses the realities of medical interpreter work and training at a large hospital system in Western Massachusetts, and encourages input as to how an area of interpreting that needs large numbers of interpreters is able to work more closely with college and university interpreter and translation degree programs.

Political Translation - How Social Movement Democracies Survive (Nov 2, 2018)

Video placeholderThe arrival of more than a million refugees in Europe has made many disciplines interested in the political impact of the work of interpreters and translators. Based on ethnographic case studies in the US, Germany, Italy, France, and the UK, Nicole Doerr, from the University of Copenhagen, develops a conceptual framework and presents the collective practices of political translation, which has helped multilingual and culturally diverse social movements and solidarity groups work together more democratically. Her new book Political Translation examines the ways in which linguistic difference is often seen as a hindrance to democratic dialogue, and argues that political translation helps solve positional misunderstandings regarding race, gender, class, linguistic and other differences.

Translating Migration: Expanding the Borders of Translation (Sept 25, 2018)

Video placeholderTranslators and interpreters must locate themselves within the translation process, doing their best to recognize the stories it is their task to represent. Moira Inghilleri’s lecture discusses the challenges they face putting into words the structures of feeling underlying different types of migration experience. She proposes a commonality between translators and interpreters who struggle to represent and express human complexity in words and visual artists who strive to reflect the human condition in their art. The talk concludes by arguing for an expansion of the horizon of translation practice to wider forms of symbolic expression, to allow language in all its forms to serve as a better tool to capture complex meanings.