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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. For updated information on schedule, topics, and speakers, click here. Information on different events, click here.

When an Interpreter Breaks Professional Secrecy   (November 17, 2022)

Kayoko TakedaDrawing on the chapter covering interpreters as witnesses of crimes in Interpreters and War Crimes (Takeda 2021), this talk briefly introduces the cases of interpreters who testified as witnesses of war crimes at post–WWII British military trials against the Japanese, then expands the discussion to the current professional code of confidentiality for interpreters. It focuses on the implications of interpreters’ testifying and reporting on abuse and unlawful or potentially unlawful acts of which they learn in the course of their work. References are made to a 1997 court decision against the defense motion to subpoena an interpreter as a witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, a 2015 defense request for an interpreter’s testimony at the US military commissions in Guantanamo Bay, the 2008 Postville case in which a court interpreter divulged what he had witnessed during immigration prosecutions, the failed attempt to compel a Russian interpreter to testify on the content of Trump–Putin meetings, and exceptions included in existing codes of interpreters’ professional secrecy.

Gendered Dynamics in Conference Interpreting: Emotional Labor and Alienation   (October 2022, 2022)

Irem AyanRelying upon a combination of ethnomethodological and sociological tools provided by Hochschild’s (2003) theory of emotional labor, this talk focuses on the gendered work of conference interpreters, addressing questions such as how clients’ gendered assumptions affect interpreters’ relationship to their work and sense of identity. Drawing on interview data with twenty-one conference interpreters working in various institutional settings, the analysis of the framework covers contexts in which female interpreters are discriminated, sexualized, and occasionally harassed in business or high-level diplomatic settings, or when an interpreter is perceived to be gay and consequently has to deal with abusive clients. In such contexts colored by gender-stereotyped preconceptions and expectations, interpreters’ bodies and emotions tend to be controlled by those who hire them for work. These gendered practices lead interpreters to develop various modes of individual and collective resistance through either deliberate or unintentional violation of the main tenets of professional codes of ethics.

Automatic Speech Recognition for Interpreters: State-of-the-art and Future Perspectives   (September 22, 2022)

Claudio FantinuoliArtificial intelligence is commonly considered one of the most important drivers of change in professional practices. Interpreting is not immune to this. Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) in particular has the potential to help interpreters with some practical aspects of their workflow. For example, ASR can be used to generate preparatory information about an upcoming event, to support interpreters during live interpretation, and to create new ways to (self)assess the quality of the rendition, to name just a few. In this talk, Dr. Claudio Fantinuoli gives an overview of the possible use of ASR in the interpreting profession, drawing from empirical research in interpreting studies, existing applications, and prospective new developments. Potentials and limitations of this technology as well as ethical concerns posed by the use of ASR in real-life scenarios are discussed.

Strategies of Turn-taking in Dialogue Interpreting: Insights from Eye-tracking and Studies of Cognitive Constraints   (April 1, 2022)

Elisabet TiseliusIn this talk, Dr. Tiselius discusses the turn-taking of dialogue interpreters. By investigating dialogue interpreting from an experimental perspective, she has observed how interpreters identify turn relevant places (TRP) and use gestures and gaze as subtle indicators for turn taking. She presents how monitoring works in dialogue interpreting, what the dialogue interpreter monitors, and how that can be taught and learned. The aim of this talk is to propose a way to increase the meta-cognitive awareness of professional and trainee interpreters, and discuss how that will improve the interpreting practice and how it can be taught to students.

Professionalizing Humanitarian Interpreters: More than Simply an Uphill Battle?  (March 4, 2022)

Carmen Delgado LuchnerThis presentation focuses on the debate surrounding the professionalization of humanitarian interpreters and places particular emphasis on the structural and contextual limitations that the humanitarian field presents in terms of interpreter training. Based on examples from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Dr. Delgado Luchner explores the links between the humanitarian principle of neutrality, interpreter recruitment practices and the career paths of humanitarian interpreters, since understanding these dynamics is essential in order to discuss interpreter training and professionalization.

Challenges and Prospects of Conference Interpreting in West Africa (February 4, 2022)

Timothy JohnToday, West Africa has made giant strides in seeking integration, especially with its protocol on free movement of goods and persons, as seen through the abolition of visas for citizens of the community. But integration cannot succeed where the people do not speak the same language. And that is where conference interpreting comes in; to bridge the gap between the English, French and Portuguese speaking countries of the subregion. In this talk, Timothy discusses the challenges and prospects of conference interpreting in the West African subregion and the role of AIIC in promoting integration through professionalism.

What’s Behind Attorneys’ Questions: Understanding Criminal Procedure and Questioning Techniques (November 19, 2021)

Erik Camayd-Freixas Trial attorneys seek to confuse witnesses during cross-examination to catch them off-base. But what if the interpreter is also caught off-base and confused? It is not enough to understand and interpret what the words mean on the surface. Dr. Camayd-Freixas discusses criminal procedure, including types of hearings, pleas, motions, objections, rules of evidence, elements of common crimes, the theory of the case, the stages of a trial, impeachment and rehabilitation of witnesses, jury instructions, sentencing considerations, as well as how to become certified as a court interpreter and how to prepare for an upcoming case.

A Practisearcher’s Perspective on the Debate about Human Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence in Interpreting (October 15, 2021)

Binha Wang While technologists in machine translation perceive and decipher the mechanism of interpreting in their technical approach, it is important for interpreting practitioners, trainers and researchers to engage in the debate by providing the insiders’ perspective on the true nature of the process, mechanism and purpose of interpreting. Binhua Wang gives a brief review of major news about AI-enhanced technology in interpreting and an analysis of the mechanism of machine interpreting and proposes a multi-dimensional epistemological model of interpreting to map the interpreting behavior and activity.

The End of Interpreting Settings (Sept 17, 2021)

Jonathan DownieConference interpreting, court interpreting, medical interpreting, community interpreting. Every interpreter and every researcher know these names and could probably have a good go at defining the differences between them. But what if they are more similar than we ever thought? What if there is no such thing as different interpreting “settings”, only different contexts? Jonathan Downie explains why Comparative Interpreting Studies is important for researchers and professionals alike.

Other Tongues: Psychological Therapies in a Multilingual World (May 3, 2021)

Beverley CostaLanguage differences are surprisingly easy for mental health practitioners to ignore and yet they are relatively easy to embed into existing training and supervision models. In this talk Beverley Costa considers training for mental health practitioners in working effectively with interpreters, while discussing how the multilingual therapeutic frame can be applied when working with people’s multilingual identities, the impact of the multilingual identity on emotional expression, the experience of trauma and the use of the multilingual experience as a therapeutic asset towards recovery.

Interpreters from the Perspective of Agencies (April 14, 2021)

Ingrid ChristensenHow are interpreters viewed by agencies? What are they looking for when hiring and why? How to become a vendor of choice? What role do soft skills play in the successful relationship between interpreters, clients and agencies? Ingrid Christensen, founder and CEO of INGO, a global language services provider, based in the state of Minnesota, will share with attendees her story of success and her long experience working and collaborating with freelance interpreters. Learn the secrets from leading interpreter agency that get you hired and keep you hired.

Fighting Anti-Black Language While Interpreting for Brazilian and US Audiences (March 17, 2021)

Rane SouzaBlack Brazilians and African Americans share similar experiences of racism as they live in societies shaped by white supremacy and structural racism. Because anti-Black racism is deeply ingrained in language, professional interpreters wishing to support the fight against it should be mindful of their own language when interpreting. In this webinar, Rane Souza attempts to raise interpreters’ awareness on how anti-Black racism manifests in language, as well as reflect upon terms and expressions in US English and Brazilian Portuguese that professional interpreters should steer clear of and which options to use instead while talking about Black people.

Navigating the Complexities of Being a Professional Interpreter (Feb 22, 2021)

Gio LesterAccording to Gio Lester, freelance interpreters are entrepreneurs regardless of whether they are independent contractors or corporate entities. It's a mindset. Once you choose to see yourself from that perspective, you will feel more empowered, more in control of your professional life. However, there are a few things you need to do in order to get and stay there for the long run. This talk will focus on important considerations such as choosing and building your clientele, constructing your ideal clients, and negotiating and compromising as key skills toward professional success.

Healthcare Interpreting: Positioning to Thrive During a Pandemic (Nov 9, 2020)

Vonessa CostaCovid-19 has made a tremendous impact on the work of healthcare interpreters in the United States. Drawing from lessons learned in one of the largest hospital-based language access programs in New England, Vonessa Costa explores how institutions and individual interpreters can position themselves to not only survive, but actually thrive, during a pandemic.

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

Chris MellingerWith 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. Chris Mellinger 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)

Yosmary MontesBased on a case study, Yosmary 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)

Rachel HerringThe 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. Rachel Herring provides 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)

Michal SchusterMichal 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)

Carmen Valero GarcésCommunication 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. Carmen Valero Garcés 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)

Katharine AllenThe 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)

Ewandro MagalhãesRSI, 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 Magalhães explores 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)

Elena Langdon FortierFor 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)

Lisa Aronson FontesThis 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)

Tim MoriartyMedical 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)

Nicole DoerrThe 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)

Moira InghilleriTranslators 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.

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