Archive for September, 2011

Here is a message from the President of the Iberian Association of Translation and Interpreting Studies

Dear colleagues:

I’m proud to announce the on-line publication of AIETI proceedings, thanks to the work of our editor, Dr. Alberto Álvarez Lugrís, with the support of Manuel María Veiga Lombardía. Our proceedings can be accessed at http://www.aieti.eu/pubs/indice_pubs.htm.

The 6th AIETI international Congress will be held from January 21-27 in the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.


Ricardo Muñoz
President, AIETI


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The concept of court interpreters flourishes slowly throughout Ohio in the last decade. What with the guidance of Bruno Romero and the Ohio Supreme Court, judges and court personnel realize the importance of certified and qualified court interpreters to provide due process. This leads me to expound on client education, an integral component of this career path.

Assuredly courts balloon with cases and expenses in the drive to assure justice for all. As a court interpreter often times I need to explain to busy bailiffs why a second interpreter is needed for trials or hearing that extend beyond two hours. Luckily the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators provides Position Papers to help support my plea at http://www.najit.org. I look more the professional when presenting evidence, although not a lawyer.

According to Holly Mikkelson, “The goal of court interpreting is to produce a legal equivalent (Gonzalez, 1989C), or a linguistically true and legally appropriate interpretation of statements spoken or read in court, from the second language into English or vice versa.” This task requires enormous concentration. Some say over 21 brain functions take place or, as many as a brain surgeon, at one time. Imagine carrying out such work for over thirty minutes in a noisy court room with shuffling papers, angry defendants and lawyers who rattle off dense and complicated sentences at over one hundred and twenty words a minute. Interpreters face the challenge to move seamlessly between two languages so as not to appear obvious or clog the system.

Whenever a court requests services for a trial, the next word out of my mouth is “Who is the other interpreter?” A blank look of disbelief usually follows. At that point I launch into an explanation of maintaining accuracy for the record and impediments to compliance that are the part and parcel of the NAJIT Code of Ethics. Court interpreters faithfully move between languages without omissions and must notify the Court when s/he is unable to comply fully with the Canons of that Code when fatigue sets in. After thirty minutes I’m both physically and mentally spent in addition to perhaps emotionally exhausted. For example, after a long trial and the rape victim wishes to make a statement before the accused, she may recount that terrifying evening in great detail, break into tears, pause, sob and even shout. All must be interpreted for the record.

Again NAJIT helps clarify the need for team interpreting: “Team interpreting is a quality control mechanism, implemented to preserve the accuracy of the interpretation process in any circumstances.” What better standard than a device to assure all parties gain access to justice? The key point is accuracy. If an interpreter has slogged through almost an hour of intense witness testimony in the consecutive mode, how can s/he guarantee every word has been interpreted? I posit s/he can’t.

I encourage interpreters to speak out in defense of team interpreting when an assignment lasts more than two hours or a trial appears on the Court’s docket. Know that you’ll encounter resistance as local communities struggle to meet budget constraints daily and one interpreter, let alone two, may be viewed as another vexation. Mind you, this is not a criticism of court personnel. After 16 years in the field, bailiffs, attorneys and police treat me with the utmost respect, as I do them.

I worked as a team interpreter last year and all were concerned how the interpreters would slow down the trial. At the end the judge and attorneys pointedly commented that “you didn’t impede the process at all.” Those words serve as music to the ears and a further reason to employ more than one interpreter. Our job is to educate court personnel for the need to see justice is served, be the defendant a native English speaker or someone whose tongue is otherwise. This is not advocating on behalf of the LEP, but to assure the interpreter can comply with a code of ethics, a constant walk on the tightrope.
John P. Shaklee
OH/TN State Certified Court Interpreter
MA Translation

González, Roseann D., Victoria F. Vásquez and Holly Mikkelson. Fundamentals of Court Interpretation: Theory, Policy and Practice. Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 1991.

National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators. Team Interpreting In the Courtroom. Seattle: http://www.najit.org., 2007.

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Tips for Navigating Your First ATA Conference

Presenter: Jill Sommer
Date: September 13, 2011
Time: 12:00 noon US Eastern Daylight Time
Duration: 60 minutes

Attending the ATA Annual Conference can be overwhelming for first-time attendees.

> What do I do with my resume and business cards?
> How do I network when I don’t know anyone?
> Where do I begin?

Take steps now to find out how to get ready
for this fast-paced meeting.

In this free 60-minute webinar, veteran conference-goer Jill Sommer
will walk you through each day’s events, fill you in on how to plan your time, and teach you some tried-and-true methods for making the most of the ATA Annual Conference.


* What to do before you get there.
* Getting over the intimidation factor.
* Tips for selecting sessions, organizing your day.
* Why the Exhibit Hall is more than shopping.
* How to prepare for the Job Marketplace.
* Strategies for effective networking.

Free! Click to REGISTER:

Visit: http://www.atanet.org/webinars
Email: webinars@atanet.org
Call: +1-703-683-6100, ext 3001

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MasterWord Services, Inc. is seeking Spanish to English, English to Spanish (Venezuelan market) technical translators in the oil and gas industry. It is for full-time on-site translator project in Houston, Texas. Interested parties, please send your resume to Stela Moreno at vendor-relations@masterword.com.

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Just today a potential client contacted me for an interpreting assignment. During negotiations I made sure to ask who had referred me. Even should the gig not pan out, the referring party will receive a note of thanks. Just a small gesture of common courtesy.

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