A couple of months into my graduate work, unable to understand what was happening to me, I pulled up Google and searched: Does grad school make you depressed? Shortly after, I melted down and confessed to my now-husband, “I don’t know if I can do this.” Until that moment, I’d been his happy-go-lucky girlfriend. I’d been a confident interpreter and boss of a large language services department. Having overcome some big obstacles, being on top of my game for many years, there hadn’t been anything I couldn’t do. That out-loud confession of feeling not-able-to was a turning point, the beginning of an unraveling. Continue reading “Time to Put on Pants”
Known for his “troublesome” pushing back against the status quo, Dr Jonathan Downie structures Interpreters vs Machines: Can Interpreters Survive in an AI-Dominated World?— his second book — as a game, and invites us to play.
OK, I’m in.
He speaks from his experience as a researcher and conference interpreter, but from the beginning he brings us all into the fold– spoken and signed language interpreters in every setting. No matter where we’re working, we’d all do well to pause and reflect on how we understand and talk about our work. The fundamentals of what we do and how we talk about it to clients also seem relevant to my previous work in running an interpreter services department in the healthcare setting, where even though in theory, the services were required by law and hospital policy, in practice, we still very much had to sell interpreter services (even though the service came at no cost to the users!).Continue reading ““Getting It”: One Interpreter’s Reflections on Jonathan Downie’s Interpreters vs Machines“
Somewhere near the beginning of this semester, I took up swimming lessons. A few sessions in, my teacher introduced the breast stroke. “Arms, legs, and gliiiide”, she told me. But I couldn’t get my arms and legs right for the glide. She told me the breast stroke is a resting stroke. But it was so effortful, just to move forward a tiny bit. My shoulders hurt. My neck hurt from holding up my head when I felt like I was pulling myself underwater so long I couldn’t come up for a breath. Continue reading “Swimming, Interpreting, and Reflexions On Experiential Learning”
Nearly twenty years ago, I moved back to the US from Costa Rica, and I dropped out of school with a handful of credits left to finish my BA. I went straight to work in a restaurant. I started waiting tables in this Italian place, and I was going to stash away all my tips until I had enough to go back to Costa Rica. Turns out I hate waiting tables, but I wasn’t ready to leave the restaurant. There was something happening in the kitchen that called to me. I ended up working in the kitchen for years, until I decided I needed to go back to school and finish the semester’s worth of credits to earn my BA.
Something similar happened on my road to conference interpreting. There was something going on in the kitchen (or the booth, rather) that I couldn’t ignore. Just as in the kitchen, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I stepped into the booth. It’s true: Everything I learned about interpreting, I learned in the kitchen. Continue reading “Everything I know about interpreting, I learned in the kitchen”
When I first arrived to our interpreting lab in Toronto, I was in awe. Fourteen brand-spankin’-new booths! I could practice again and again, and then some more when I got tired of it! All booths, all the time!
It didn’t take long for me to change my mind about the booth. Continue reading “Back to the Booth”
Learn about certifying bodies for healthcare interpreters: In the US, you might be in a state that offers state-level certification. For most of us though, the only certification available is on a national level. Check out the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters and the National Board for Certified Medical Interpreters. These are the only two national certifying bodies in the US. The National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare (NCIHC) and the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) are professional organizations, NOT certifying bodies. It’s important to understand the difference, especially if you’ve been certified. If who does what is a bit murky to you, check out this short post that will clarify it. Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions for Healthcare Interpreters”
At my first job as a hospital staff interpreter, my colleagues would scold me because I would never saludar–say hello–at the beginning of the workday (I will just never be a morning person). They’d also razz me because I’d never despedirme–say goodbye–at the end of the workday when I’d leave to go home. I’d just slip out quietly, usually after a very tough and very busy day of healthcare interpreting. La despedida–the goodbye, the farewell–has never been my strong suit.
Earlier this year, in July, I said my goodbyes to the house that I bought the summer I turned 30 and then rented out this summer–the summer I turned 40. So many great (and not-so-great) parts of my life unfolded in that house, but I know that I can keep all those parts of my life and all those memories without still living in the house. I don’t need that house anymore. Somebody else lives there now, but after I left I’d still catch myself just about to suggest dinner or drinks at my favorite neighborhood haunts. But, I’m not there anymore. Farewell, house. Farewell, neighborhood. Farewell, all the places where I met with friends, debriefed after a rough day, plotted and schemed, planned so many of my next moves–including grad school and my move to Toronto–over drinks. Continue reading “La Despedida (The Farewell)”
Managing the switch from on-site to remote interpreter services: Lessons learned from the hospital.
What do you think about telephonic interpreter services? Video remote interpreter services? Yeah, I know. Everyone wants an on-site interpreter. Any time I see an article about remote interpreter services, and I read the comments, I cringe. People are super mad about integrating the use of remote interpreter services into patient care. And I mean, all people. I’m disappointed that those people include interpreters. Continue reading “Remote Interpreters Need Love Too”
I had this nice bottle of champagne, this bottle of Veuve Clicquot I’d been meaning to open, but I could never quite find the occasion to do it. It started over a year ago, when I began the process of applying to graduate school for a Masters in Conference Interpreting (MCI).
In January 2014, I sent a letter to the Glendon School of Translation in Toronto expressing my interest in their MCI program. They seemed interested in me too, and scheduled the interpreting aptitude tests for me. A win! I passed the first round of tests, and then the second one. Another win! But no, I wasn’t ready for the Veuve. Just passing the aptitude tests wasn’t enough of an accomplishment for me. I was consumed by anxiety while I waited for the results, and when they finally admitted me to the program, guess what? Yep. Still no Veuve. Instead, I was rushing around, panicking, trying to figure out how I’d go to school full-time and work full-time. Continue reading “Opening the Veuve”