Sunday, June 16, 2013

The InterpretAmerica Blog Has Moved to

On Friday we launched our new website. All new blogs will be posted there. Visit our new website and let us know what you think!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Live Webstreaming Comes to the 4th InterpretAmerica Summit!

On The Cutting Edge: Bringing Interpreting To The Forefront is this year's theme for the InterpretAmerica Summit, taking place this June 14-15 in Reston, Virginia.

Exploring the "cutting edge" in the interpreting profession is not just a one-off conference theme for us, it is a primary focus. Another primary goal is to help create a highly recognized and respected platform for the profession itself.

We are proud to announce that this year, in collaboration with Voices For Health, we will be advancing both goals in one exciting package: 

Live webstreaming for Day Two of the Summit. 
(See below for details and more information about Voices for Health.)

To our knowledge, this will be the first time a national-level interpreting conference is streamed live to a virtual audience from North America.

Why stream? 
  • Affordable: Interpreters, language service companies and educators around the world have told us they would love to attend an InterpretAmerica Summit but often can't make it because of the time and cost associated with travel.
  • You Can Have It All: In what is surely a positive sign of growth, our field is increasingly crowded with on-site meetings. It can be hard to attend every event relevant to your professional growth!
  • Broader Audience: In our increasingly virtual and mobile world, streaming provides a wonderful opportunity to open the Summits up to a broad international audience. The adage that there is strength in numbers is all too true. The more we unite as a field, the more we can further our goals of greater recognition, remuneration, and opportunity.
  • Taking Control of Technology: Similarly the more our profession embraces the new technological landscape proactively and positively, the more we can adapt these tools to the benefit of interpreting.
Programming for Day 2 of the InterpetAmerica Summit brings you top-notch speakers and panels that will challenge our assumptions about technology and bring new perspective to everything from interpreter practice to training indigenous language interpreters. 

Our closing keynote speaker Saima Wahab's account of her time as a woman Pashtun interpreter for the US forces in Afghanistan is something everyone will benefit from. The full program can be viewed here.

Our "streamers" will be able to view Saturday's sessions, and comment and ask questions using Twitter (Hashtag #IASummit4), all from the comfort of your home computer or smart device. 

Space is limited, so register now! Cost of registration is $25.00 USD. 


Want to attend InterpretAmerica 4 in person? No problem! 

Register for the Summit now to take advantage for our full two-day program and the many networking and professional opportunities we provide onsite.


Voices for Health - comprehensive language and culture solutions
Owned and operated by healthcare providers, Voices For Health was established in 1997 to improve the quality of healthcare, education and social services through comprehensive language and culture solutions. As the largest provider of face-to-face medical interpreting in Michigan, we also provide over-the-phone and video remote interpreting to healthcare organizations nationwide. Additional services include written translation, cross-cultural lectures, language classes, multilingual research, film production and event live streaming. In the summer of 2013, VoicesACADEMY will be launched online (, providing medical interpreters, translators and healthcare providers with affordable on-demand access to a video library of continuing education content.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Collaboration: The Key To Interpreting's Future

Of all the changes technology is bringing, the ability to collaborate on much grander scales is perhaps the most important new resource to latch onto. [Collaboration] is “a fundamentally generative act. [It] isn’t just about achieving a goal or joining forces; it’s about creating something together that it would be impossible to create alone.”[3]

Our field, once so separate, is now brimming with the possibilities created by such innovative efforts, a collaborative blogging site for the sign language community, the soon-to-be revealed Voices Academy, the newly-minted combination online/onsite Masters in Conference Interpreting at the Glendon College of Translation, and Interpreting for Europe, which was originally maintained by both the European Commission and the European Parliament to address conference interpreter shortages and which grew into the largest social media site for interpreters anywhere in the world (more than 25K likes). Both entities have now launched separate campaigns to more specifically target their different social media objectives.
As my co-president Barry Olsen recently shared on Facebook:
“For all the possibilities that communication technologies represent, their use for good or ill depends solely on people. Forget all the talk about machines taking over. What happens in the future is up to us.”[4]
All of these innovators and many more will be present at the 4th InterpretAmerica Summit on June 14-15 in Reston, Virginia. Come join us to help shape our profession’s future! Early bird rates good through Monday, May 20th!
Excerpted from InterpretAmerica's Co-President Katharine Allen's guest post for The NAJIT Blog. To see the full article, click here
Then go REGISTER for the 4th InterpretAmerica Summit and see where your collaborative powers can take interpreting when joined with others in our field!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Martin Scorsese, Cinema and the Future of Interpreting

Last month, Academy Award winning film director Martin Scorsese delivered the 42nd annual Jefferson Lecture at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Earlier this week, I had a chance to listen to Scorsese’s lecture on the power of images, motion pictures, and what he calls “the language of cinema.” His insights were enlightening, but one of his comments was particularly poignant and encapsulates what I think is the state of the interpreting profession today. 

“Cinema,” he said, “has always been tied to technological development. And if we spend too much time lamenting what’s gone, then were going to miss the excitement of what’s happening now. I mean, everything is wide open. To some this is a cause for concern, but I think it is an exciting time precisely because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, let alone next week.” 

Of course, interpreting has not always been tied to technological development and it has been around much, much longer than cinema. But the development of interpreting in the modern age has been closely tied to technological development, beginning with the first microphones, amplifiers and mixers that were used to test the feasibility of simultaneous interpretation at the International Labor Organization in Geneva and later to facilitate the war crimes tribunals in Nuremberg. Technological advancement continues and is having a profound effect on how, where and when interpreters work, but more importantly, on how the world communicates.

I agree with Martin Scorsese, it is an exciting time precisely because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But there is an unprecedented opportunity to influence the future of interpreting and the way the world communicates. InterpretAmerica 4 will take place on June 14-15, in Reston, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. This will be an unprecedented gathering of interpreters, interpreting industry leaders and technological innovators meeting to bring interpreting into the 21st century. Won’t you join us? 

Early bird registration ends May 12, 2013. 

Barry Slaughter Olsen

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Introducing Interpret-ED - Must-See Speakers and Topics/1

Excitement is ramping up for the 4th InterpretAmerica Summit, coming this June 14-15 to Reston, Virginia. 

We have gone through the difficult process of selecting our inaugural Interpret-ED session speakers for this, which is designed to inspire and move Summit attendees. We want everyone to come away enriched by the multiplicity of ways in which interpreting makes communication, understanding, and concerted action across language and culture possible. 

We have a wonderful group of speakers to do just that. They will explore a variety of topics that range from digging deep into the value of interpreting, to explaining the contradiction of master interpreters who never practice, to unlocking the secret to transforming indigenous immigrants into professional medical interpreters, and more. Each speaker brings something unique and important to the stage. 

Take a look at our inaugural Interpret-ED speakers, then register now! Early bird rates still apply!

The Real Value of Interpreting
Communication researcher Stephanie Jo Kent explores how interpreting allows for the simultaneous and seemingly contradictory existence of difference and connection. Professional interpreters perform at the precise intersection where education, experience, custom and creativity meet in live social interaction. According to Kent, the significance of interpreting at that juncture and in this precise moment in history cannot be overstated: Indeed, it offers a tangible way to approach solving global problems that threaten human survival.

Do Interpreters Practice?
Elisabet Tiselius, conference interpreter and PhD student, explores the seeming contradiction of expert interpreters who never practice, yet still reach a master level of expertise. Through face-to-face interviews with working interpreters, Elisabet uncovers surprising insight into what makes interpreters excel.

From Indigenous Immigrant to Professional Interpreter
 Victor Sosa, Language Access Director and Medical Interpreter takes us on an extraordinary journey into providing healthcare services for indigenous Triqui, Zapotec, and Mizteco patient populations. Along the way, he finds a unique path to provide care and ultimately, to train members of these recently arrived and still poorly understood immigrant communities as professional medical interpreters. This session will surprise and move you.

Confessions of a Webcast Interpreter
Interpreter Cris Silva will share the good, the bad and the ugly in webcast interpreting. An activity once limited to onsite booths and close proximity to your interpreting partner can now be done from home in pjs with your boothmate thousands of miles away. But one thing hasn't changed: It's either tear your hair out or get along. Cris shares her own experience with humor and wisdom.

Netflix for Interpreters Coming to You Soon!
 Voices for Health founder and RN Michelle Scott explores how digital entertainment delivery models such as Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon have the potential to transform interpreter education. An expert in plain language, Michelle will show us cutting edge programs that have the potential to change how we view interpreter training. 

You do not want to miss these wonderful speakers and the unique insight they have into our profession. 

Register now for the 4th InterpretAmerica Summit. We looking forward to seeing you there!                                                                                                                                                                   

Monday, April 22, 2013

If InterpretAmerica 4 were a blockbuster movie, this would be the trailer...

We're getting revved up for InterpretAmerica 4 in June! We'll be announcing our Interpret-ED speakers later this week. And with that, our 2013 program will be set. As we put together this year's program, we thought, "If InterpretAmerica 4 were a Hollywood blockbuster, what would the movie trailer be like?" Watch below to find out...

interpretAmerica 4 Trailer from InterpretAmerica on Vimeo.

Yes, we are that excited about the future of interpreting! Join us on June 14-15, 2013, at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia, just a short distance from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and learn how technology is changing our profession. Early-bird registration ends on May 12, 2013, so register today! (Oh, be sure to let us know below if you liked the trailer too!)

Friday, April 19, 2013

NAJIT Guest Blog: The Urgent Need for Best Practices in the Interpreting Profession

Be sure to check out Katharine Allen's latest contribution to the NAJIT Blog: "The Urgent Need for Best Practices in the Interpreting Profession." Digital and mobile platforms are here to stay and changing everything we do. As Katharine puts it: "In the face of such rapid and comprehensive change, our profession needs to step up the pace in response. We need best practice guidelines, recommendations for everything from how to move into the digital age by adopting the use of some of these platforms to solid client education resources to protect our working conditions."

Do you agree? Read her post and share it with your colleagues. Start a conversation. Learn about these new technologies. And don't be surprised when you are asked to use them while interpreting. Most importantly, join us at InterpretAmerica 4 on June 14-15, 2013 in Reston, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. Interpreting industry leaders will be there along with many of the digital innovators who are seeking to disrupt the interpreting space. Engage, connect, and influence the future of the profession. 

Early bird registration ends on May 12, 2013! Register now at