Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's Starting to Sink In...

My Inbox recently did a little dance.

Within just a few days, I received a host of articles singing the praises of interpreters, from newspapers across the country. And, what pleases me even more is that individual interpreters are getting some well-deserved recognition!

First, on 11/2, Josie Huang of the Portland Press-Herald in Maine wrote an excellent article about medical interpreting in Maine, in which she mentioned our interpreter colleague, Mahmad Nazir. Josie's article is especially important because she helps our profession by debunking the common myth that anyone who is bilingual can interpret. She also included a quote about the dangers of using children as interpreters, another topic very dear to my own heart, as displayed by the recent Op/Ed published in a Florida paper.

Then, on 11/5, Justin Chapura wrote an article for The State about, well, -the state- of court interpreting in South Carolina. His article profiled court interpreter Britt Hunt, who answered many questions about our work that will be of great help to prospective interpreters and the public alike. Our flagship association for judiciary settings, the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, also got a nice mention. [Photo: Interpreters at NYC Criminal Court]

Also on 11/5, an article by Mark Coleman appeared in the Star-Bulletin, focusing on the work of sign language interpreter Jan Fried. An excerpt appears below:

Q: Who would hire a sign-language interpreter?

A: Wherever deaf and hard-of-hearing people want to communicate and they want to do it directly. I have interpreted everything from births to deaths.

Q: How did you do that?

A: Well, as regarding the person's last words, or the surviving member's comments to the person dying. Or the hospital personnel, the things that they're saying to the family as the person is dying. I've interpreted funerals, weddings. You pretty much name it. Political speeches. I've interpreted for the Clintons when they were here, for Al Gore. I've interpreted for several presidential candidates, here and in California.

Indeed. Fried's quote demonstrates that interpreters are often present throughout the milestones of the lives of individuals, as well as major social and political events.

Lastly, on 11/4, Georgia Probst wrote an article for the Journal-Sentinel related to the ever-growing budget for court interpreters in Wisconsin. It states:

Funding for interpreter reimbursements is currently $827,100. The budget bill increases that to $1,060,000 million in 2007-'08 and $1,125,100 in 2008-'09.

A budget of $1 million. In a single state. In a single setting.

Regardless of the setting, this plethora of praise for interpreters and recognition of our work is more than just a passing trend. It's a testament to the fact that interpreting has an extraordinarily high value, both tangible (monetary) and symbolic of our changing society- one that is constantly growing as this value is recognized by those who are observant enough to understand it.

Interpreting is anything but a commodity.

And, as societies become even more diverse and the world continues to "globalize", it will continue to be recognized - both in the marketplace and in the public - as the highly-skilled, premium service that it truly is.

Thankfully, this is part of what the From Our Lips to Your Ears project is all about.


Melinda said...

Hello Natalie! I found your site doing a search for interpreting associations. This site is full of great information. Thank you! Melinda

Nataly said...

Thanks, Melinda!