vision: a future for interpreting

The European Union

My project is to assess the role of simultaneous interpretation in the big picture of multilingualism and European identity. I believe that each Member of the European Parliament (MEP) has a very special experience with interpreting that can teach the world about using different languages to reach common agreements.
Presently, I am talking with MEPs for 15 minutes about her or his experiences and opinions about using interpreting in the European Parliament.
Hopefully my findings will be constructive for improving the communication system in the Parliament and also inform policy-makers worldwide about using language for democratic equality and economic gain. I suggest that if we see interpretation as a proactive economic tool we can use it to help build a better social reality that enhances security and freedom for everyone.

to do or to know

Dialogue under Occupation

Back in the days of my Master’s Program in Social Justice Education, we spent a great deal of time studying how to facilitate our own, each other’s, and student’s growth along the continuum of social identity.
The core model in the program was Jackson and Hardiman’s (1992, 1997) model of racial social identity based upon “white” and “black” identification in the US context. A social identity model (SID) provides a paired rubric for processes that individuals undergo as members of the “target” or “oppressed” group who seek to become empowered, as well as the processes that individuals take on if they want to understand themselves as members of the “agent” or “oppressor” group. That model has been adapted to apply to many other “isms,” including for instance, sexual orientation. My emphasis tends to the “agent” side of the pairing – how do people who are members of dominant cultures come to grips with the reality of privileges (access to resources and ways-of-being which are not equally available to members of non-dominant groups) and the fact of unconscious collusion with systems of discrimination and prejudicial beliefs that work together to keep oppression real?
My own interests have moved beyond the US domestic context to inter- and transnational issues involving migration and especially the role of language in empowerment processes – those that enable individuals to develop agency and assert voice. I find social identity is still a useful construct, although I now understand identity as the result of communication patterns at multiple levels (the interpersonal, the level of groups such as culture, organization, and/or religion, and mass-mediated (e.g., via television, radio, the internet).
Presently, I’m working on a chapter for a book on media, education and dialogue. Some of the other authors are relying on social identity theory from Tajfel and Turner, which seeks “to understand the psychological basis of intergroup discrimination. Tajfel et al (1971) attempted to identify the minimal conditions that would lead members of one group to discriminate in favor of the ingroup to which they belonged and against another outgroup” (italics removed).
The difference between the two approaches (Jackson & Hardiman, and Tajfel & Turner), at least on this surface reading, is that the latter is geared to understanding while the former is geared to action. Debates during the mid-1990s involved whether or not social identity models are descriptive (i.e., distanced, theoretical, “what is”) or prescriptive (as in, this is the normal way people grow, through all of the stages and roughly in this sequence). I’d love to know of work combining these two different theoretical bases: what are the practical, applied uses of this kind of knowledge?
[Perhaps this 2005 overview by Briodo and Reason situates these two – and perhaps additional – approaches in relation to each other?]

Underwater handshakes

British Airways:
Mumbai to London

I left Mumbai pretty much as I arrived: pressed in a sea of people. I boarded my flight (departure 13:35) at 13:32. The long lines for security screening before and after each stop (check-in, immigration, boarding) reminded me of the bureaucracy in Belgium, in which you think you’re on the last step only to discover that there’s another one, and then another . . . and another . . .
Still, I made the flight and the entire visit in Mumbai was perfect. Well, we did miss most of the actual marriage ceremony (oops) but they were still unmarried when we arrived! Who kept re-setting snooze? Couples. You gotta watch out for them.
puru and tejal.jpg
I was there at the beginning. Maybe not the very beginning, but I was around when the light began to dawn. I had already seen the signs: “it seems you are giving each other a lot of comfort.” Nonetheless, who would have guessed, even a year ago, that I would be attend a Brahmin wedding between two dear friends – and in Mumbai, no less? Peak experiences are infrequent, but yesterday was a sixteen and a half-hour nonstop wonder. The whole trip has been great: my senses were unable to sustain the full onslaught of constant stimulation but I did fairly well considering I was hardly there long enough to get over jet lag.
Being with such close friends eased much of the culture shock I might otherwise have felt. Against the backdrop of stark poverty, a bewildering maze of trains, auto rikshaws, and busses, with barefoot people everywhere (even running jackhammers), there is an organic self-organizing system of constant commerce, from evening train carriage entrepreneurs to millions of home-cooked lunchbox deliveries.
The city surges in huge gulps and massive swallows. Need to get off the local train at rush hour? Just wedge those hips into the tiniest crevice and wiggle open the gap. Like mudwrestling without lubricant, bodies morph around each other like blood squeezed through a capillary. As long as you plan ahead, you’ll be close enough to the doors to be disgorged, to all extents and purposes simply ejected in the periodic spasm of rolling stops and abrupt starts.

full women's compartment.jpg

My friends’ wedding unfolded in delightful contrast. More a relaxed social event than the solemn witnessing characteristic of U.S. weddings, people chowed breakfast and caught up on recent news while others showered rice blessings on the couple as the priest made stuff up.


Laughter and goodwill permeated the crowd. It was a crowd – approximately 350 for the marriage proper. This was primarily the groom’s side of the family, although a solid contingent of the bride’s side did make it all the way from Chennai (and Sydney, among other globally-scattered locations). The bride’s side gets their turn on Sunday: another three hundred or so will gather to eat, toast the new couple, and eat. Did I mention that food is really the main event? ๐Ÿ˜‰
I ate much more than seems reasonably possible. It did not help that the US version of headshaking “no” translates pretty closely to the Hindi headshake for “yes.” Then there are the sortof rolling headbobbles that look like yes/no at the same time. No wonder the general attitude about nearly all things is a relaxed, “whatever!” ๐Ÿ˜‰
Although it felt effortless, there was nothing casual about the ceremony and rituals. The groom’s parents began planning last summer, setting aside enough mangoes to make the most delectable mango dessert imaginable. I can’t name the dishes, but I can say every single one was delicious and abundant. Between dinner the night before, breakfast during the morning rituals and actual wedding ceremony, and lunch afterwards, I could have eaten comfortably for a week. Everyone’s finery was on display, including some brash young men who sought to compete with the groom for splendour. (They had permission, outfits purchased with groom in tow; mine excepted.)


Still, the ease with which the women navigated in their saris, and everyone circulated among familiar relatives and strange foreigners was delightful. You wouldn’t know, for instance, that the bride and groom didn’t really want to sit in the royal chairs, so carefully maneuvered were they into conforming to tradition. Parents are definitely dangerous. The bride’s dad, in particular, pumped us for incriminating information on the lucky couple. Some people cooperated. Ahem. This is what happens, I think, when the entire sociocultural structure is designed to make relationships work. Whether the goal is to prevent divorce or promote harmony is beside the point: everything is geared to keep the couple together – even if “and happy” is a contingent on a variety of circumstances and conditions.
Which is all rather different than queer folk who pretty much have to make a relationship work on its own merits, often against overt hostility and nearly always against the subtler forces of indifference. I was stared at a lot, but only aggressively by one person (that I noticed). Others were curious: but then again, being American is an excuse for all kinds of strange behavior. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Did I mention how cool my friends are? They are the greatest.




The first view out the airplane window was of a massive rock formation, then an expanse of land interspersed with building complexes, and then the low-lying shanties with their grey-brown roofs and liberal patches of blue tarp.
I started grinning as I walked off the plane, and continued to feel good, even as my fellow passengers surged to the immigration queue, propelling me forward at their pace! A random stranger placed a call to my missing friend, and I settled down to wait under the yellow fever vaccination sign, content that I’m really here.


Airport observation amused me for awhile, but that perfectly pleasant 80 degree (27 C) early afternoon shade was lulling me to sleep when who should appear? And then we were off! It is not apparent to me that Mumbai roads have lanes. Rickshaws compete to squeeze between cars, not to mention buses and trucks and that cow walking the wrong way up the middle of the road! I was so stunned I did not recover in time to snap a photograph! “Don’t worry,” Puru said. “There will be more.”
rickshaw meter.jpg
He brought me to the tree-lined campus of the India Institute of Technology, where we enjoyed a yummy tofu-and-vegetable curry with naan. We were not the only ones interested in lunch:
IIT is next to a wildlife preserve, they get all kinds of company, from monkeys to snakes to the occasional leopard. (So I’m told. Maybe they say that to all US Americans?) ๐Ÿ˜‰
The professor had to go off and do a bit more work, so he left me alone in his office. Hehehe.
At least it looks like he’s busy, huh? And still keeping up the activism: his office door displays a “Bush lies, out of Iraq” sticker, news articles on rural farmer suicides (rates increasing today) and victims of the DOW chemical explosion in Bhopal (still no justice, since 1984), a sticker supporting public transport, and a nice spread on novel ways the poor are organizing for electrical power.
people power.jpg
Feels like home ~ or, at least like the good old days.

an ethic of learning (teaching goals)

for a grant application

I had to outline my “teaching goals” for a grant application, I’m sure I will have to do this many times in the future. I have also done this before, but I do not have a standard document: while there is consistency over time, the presentation shifts – hopefully becoming clearer while providing situated information on how I might fit with the people, styles, ideals, and goals of each potential opportunity.

  • to model agency
  • to cultivate skills of critical phenomenology
  • to reduce the fear of risk
  • to find creative solutions to conflict
  • to prepare for competition and increasing interaction
  • to bring attention to relationships (processes of relating)

Target = Learning (Teaching Goals)

Teaching is intertwined with learning: communication theory, sociology, and quantum mechanics all inform us that the interaction produces “reality.” “Meaning” is always a co-production: “teaching goals,” for instance, represents a professional ethic while also reinforcing historical power structures. The phrase conjures an institutionalized ideology of authorization and dispensation. Confronting the implications of language use – our very own talk – is the cumulative (and hopefully on-going) accomplishment of my pedagogic inclinations.
The main task I set for myself when I am teaching is to model agency so that students can learn by example. To act as an agent while teaching is double-edged: I try to maintain balance between

a) the authority of my role and the limits of the institution to constrain my freedom in the role, and
b) the power to unsettle students’ assumptions about the usual structures and expectations of a college classroom.

I want students not only to discern the difference between structural power and individual agency, but also to develop awareness about how to work constructively with this distinction given the peculiarities of their own particular life.

By deliberately embodying agency, I convey an attentiveness to self that elicits heightened self-awareness from students. The personal is thus contextualized as a reflection of the social, bringing the interplay of status and identity into immediate relevancy because the concepts are grounded in our shared social interactions. These maneuvers enable recognition and reflection on the ways features of personal biography interlink with roles granted or imposed by history and circumstance. In other words, I seek to cultivate skills of critical phenomenology, so that students can increase their perception and comprehension of the complex historical forces that bound – and bind – everyone’s supposedly-separate actions with the actions of others.
I justify my ambition along the continuum of time, accepting myself as one among many with the passionate desire to shift humanity away from the vise of violence. Although not a direct curricular component, keeping the complexities of time and timing in mind is a constant practice. Developmental trajectories are unique for each individual: people simply know what they know at any given moment. And, each moment is an opportunity for change. Learning, by definition, is a change in the state of one’s knowledge. The trick of timing is to identify when the potential for change aligns with the contingent conditions that enable realization. Attuning to these subtle juxtapositions is a matter of experimentation. Consequently, I work to reduce the fear of risk. As much as I feel compassion for varying shocks of recognition, I also exercise the conviction that we are capable of finding creative solutions to conflict.
Ultimately, I see my role as a teacher as one of strategic coordination with the learning needs of students projected into the future. College education today must involve much more than topical competence; it must prepare students for intensive competition and increasing interaction with people holding different worldviews and mindsets, premised upon as-yet un-invented technologies and un-diagnosed needs. Depending upon the subject matter, I can be more or less overt concerning the relationship between the content of the course (its specified objectives and subject matter) and the relational process of learning – i.e., working – together. The relationship between content and process, however, is always present, even when undiscussed. Every classroom composes a particular global microcosm. Each lesson conveys messages not only about the subject but also about the normative orientations held concerning the place or position of that subject within large cultural and institutional systems. Success within this participatory paradigm is measured by the extent to which I am able to bring students’ attention to the relationships, rather than conceiving of facts and phenomena in isolation.
Accomplishing such a shift would be a cultural achievement, hence not something I generate on my own. To this end, I recognize the necessity of institutional support and the essential willingness of students to cooperate. The tensions of un-learning inherited habits-of-thought and customary modes-of-interaction in order to enable new ways of relating is an uncertain tightrope from which to launch projects of domestic and transnational social justice and global peace. We need a lot of practice! The small contribution I offer are stimulating courses that sustain dialogue throughout, inclusive of all the dynamics that arise, as a means of instilling respect for the power of discourses that we create together to generate substantial progress on the long road of human life. On the basis of such respect, we can more effectively collaborate to invent and institutionalize economic and political mechanisms that promote the life chances of every person on the planet.

envisioning the scholarly life (the search for funding)

grant application:
dissertation year writing
[US, diversity]

Language use both reveals and motivates human behavior; utterances invoke the past and foreshadow the future. I dubbed my dissertation research project SI(squared) as soon as I landed on the title: Simultaneous Interpretation and Shared Identity in the European Parliament. I am actually working three-dimensionally (SIcubed) at the juncture of social interaction, shared identity, and simultaneous interpretation. The fourth dimension of time is the lynchpin: we know that the future is predicated on the past, that language bespeaks social constructions of reality, that rhetoric is not merely verbal flourish for the moment but can set in motion massive institutional forces. We also know that words alone are insufficient for addressing the cavernous structural inequalities limiting human happiness around the world.
The heart of the social problems facing humanity today involves the integration of several types of knowledge into institutional structures that will generate a transformation of historical injustices into a new type of society that balances just enough predictable control for large-scale security with systematic mechanisms that preserve diversity through the guarantee of wide-ranging freedoms. My thesis is that simultaneous interpretation composes a cultural communication practice that – understood and utilized as a mode for co-identification – accomplishes this crucial equilibrium between similarity and difference. However, the zeitgeist of our era – with its inherited predisposition for speed – devalues the co-construction of shared understanding through the use of two or more languages. Participants in interpreted interaction, as much as they recognize and value the skill of simultaneous interpreters, tend to view the practice overall as a kind of necessary evil with a host of undesirable characteristics that must be simply tolerated. I suggest that this attitude is monolingual, monological, and monocentric. My dissertation will identify and critique this attitude in the discourse of language choice by Members of the European Parliament regarding the use of simultaneous interpretation.
Through the tools of critical discourse analysis, group relations consultation, and action research, I aim to craft an argument that counters the common sensibility of interpreters being ‘in the way’ of communication. Rather, simultaneous interpreters make more obvious the processes of interpreting each other’s intentions and co-generating meaning that always and continually occur during communication – even when they/we are using the same language! No matter how precisely I choose my diction, you – reading this – are forming an impression of me based on the ways my ideas are expressed. You are putting my representation of meaning through perceptions of comparison and contrast with the needs of your school, your personal and professional interests, what you already know about the theoretical and practical dimensions of adult pedagogy, and the proposals of other applicants.
These generic processes both intersect with deeper intrapersonal motivations that will be unique to each person reading this and reflect – in complex and complicated ways – macrosociological processes that we may or may not be able to apprehend. At best, we can approach the dynamical interactions through considered analysis and experimentation, hopefully generating reliable hypotheses over time and acting upon our educated suppositions in ways that further the social justice goals we seek. As a Master’s student in the University of Massachusett’s Social Justice Education program a decade ago, I became concerned with ways our overt pedagogical attempts to address various oppressor/oppressed dynamics sometimes served – in subtle yet palpable ways – to reify the precise role and status relationships we were intending to undo. Unlike most of my peers at the time, I was more interested in deconstructing my primary agent identities (white, non-disabled, middle-class) rather than my strongest target identity (lesbian).
As a graduate student then in my thirties, I had already worked through individual and group level empowerment processes by coming out culturally and politically in the Midwest in the late 1980s. I co-chaired a resurgence of lesbian and gay pride activities in Kansas City, MO and became a delegate for Jesse Jackson to the Democratic National Convention, where I convinced the Kansas State Democratic Delegation to support a resolution in favor of gay rights. I became involved in a national level political organizing effort of and for lesbians, where the apparent effortlessness of my until-then effective leadership skills was challenged in direct and indirect ways. I began to wonder: how had I managed to be so successful? Why did people follow me so willingly and with few – if any – questions? I began to listen differently, and to understand my own actions in more nuanced ways. This is also when I met members of American Deaf Culture, and began to learn American Sign Language.
Over the next few years, I pursued opportunities to become fluent in ASL, eventually earning the credential of a nationally certified interpreter. My involvement with a revolutionary group of Deaf educators and activists shaped my understanding of being an ally in profound ways. As my experience with interpretation accrued, I came to witness the workings of power through language use and social interaction in minute and intimate detail. Situated at the crossroads between Deaf persons with varying degrees of empowerment and non-deaf people with an equally wide range of (lack of) awareness as to how to deal with a bilingual, intercultural interaction – almost always in contexts where the dynamics of oppression were barely recognized and hardly ever acknowledged, and the professional role explicitly constrains intervention – my own immediate and everyday choices fell under pinpoint scrutiny. I continued to develop self-understanding as both the reflection and embodiment of other’s perceptions of who (and what) I am.
Understanding my own self as a locus of the institutional forces of racism, heterosexism, and audism (in the U.S. context) guided my quest for agency during my Master’s degree program. My teaching philosophy comes largely from experiential models developed from Paulo Freire and Augustus Boal, as well as from my lived experiences at several group relations conferences organized by the A.K. Rice Institute (often referred to as Tavistock, which is the British counterpart). These conferences establish “temporary institutions” with an assigned task but few guidelines for accomplishment. Uncertainty and doubt inspire participants to act out the full catalog of human emotions, including overt and subtle manifestations of all the isms. Learning to navigate the swirl of insecurities and phobias unleashed in these structurally-contained events has matured my ability to act proactively with respect for others as well as enhanced my capacities to interpret other’s actions generously without reacting along pre-formed lines. Or, at least if I do react in a limited/limiting way, I have the wherewithal to recognize and work constructively with the consequences.
This emphasis on un-doing the attitudes of privilege and re-learning how to respect and value differences continues to shape my interest in communication at the level of language and social interaction. I tend to notice irony and paradox – thus I was drawn initially to the Deaf community and ASL: why could we non-deaf not learn the relatively easy rules for using an interpreter? Eventually I was struck by the disparate provision of services: the Deaf now have an institutionalized system of language access (since the Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990) but no such system is available for speakers of other minority languages in the U.S. Why not? Is this a sideways manifestation of ableism? Further, I was stunned to realize that the kind of interpreting available for the Deaf as a language minority (typically labeled “community interpreting”) is not extended to other language minorities even in Europe – where multilingualism is vaunted as a continental treasure!
The prevailing logic of the European Union is extraordinarily cosmopolitan. If you move to another country, learn the language. Of course there are – and will always be – people from all classes who will and do learn languages – but the transnational working classes, refugees and asylum-seekers who most need language services are much too immersed in the daily business of survival to devote the time and concentration necessary for language learning, especially if they do not have a natural or cultivated aptitude. The failure to provide professional interpreting for language minorities is an institutional guarantee of exclusion except for the tiny few whose circumstances and talent converge in precisely the right ways to generate a successful climb to secure socioeconomic status. Alternatively, the creation of an interpretation infrastructure would generate a new professional class open to persons from all ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.
Equalizing the field of language access might guarantee more effective use of voice (as conceptualized by sociolinguist Jan Blommaert) by everyone in a society. As such, it may arguably be the most significant field to equalize in a reconfigured political economy, because more effective assertions of individual rights and needs will lead to more effectiveness in gaining the resources necessary to live the kind of life one desires. Such an infrastructure would certainly not be a dead-end financial investment, as all members of this class – interpreter trainers, educators, and researchers (e.g., language academics) and practitioners (including certifying agencies) would be full participants in the global economy. The ranks would be open to anyone with sufficient fluency in necessary language combinations – thus opening up avenues of upward mobility for immigrant families as well as maintaining a cosmopolitan option for the established upper classes.
With such an ambitious goal, taking the time to ground the dissertation in historical fact, contemporary discourse, and relevant theory is necessary. I have already prepared drafts on the history of the profession of simultaneous interpretation in its two key variants, conference and community interpreting, and am currently conducting fieldwork (thanks to a Fulbright Fellowship) on the contemporary discourse of Members of the European Parliament, where the most elaborate experiment with simultaneous interpretation is conducted daily in twenty-three languages. Much of my graduate level coursework and comprehensive exam were geared to the exploration of relevant theory and the possibilities of application to corporations, governments, and other social movers (such as NGOs, scientific research facilities, and the military). What remains to be completed is supplemental research based on new information, the detailed development of relevant theory (including the necessary elimination of interesting but tangential currents of thought), and the overt linkage of academic concepts with the practical realities encountered in the field and expressed in the discourse of subjects.
My work has attracted some attention already. I have been invited to present this spring on research in progress at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, and at Vrije University in Antwerp. The presentations I prepare will pose hypotheses concerning the quality and relevance of findings to date. Deliberately elicited feedback (through design) from participants at these presentations will inform the development of the dissertation. I imagine that input from faculty and students at your institution will serve the same purpose. Rather than envisioning the dissertation as a final word on the subject, I view it as the text of a book with potential to act as an intervention in an ongoing, flowing discourse – a discourse of which we are all complicit to varying degrees.
Regardless of the success of the ultimate textual product in effecting the transnational economy, the process of engaging such a complex discourse (about the value and scope of simultaneous interpretation) is an active learning process that I hope presents and enacts a model of collaborative knowledge generation that can inform processes of socially just policy formation on any dimension of institutional/social need. In this regard, the “how” is as important as the “what,” the end product itself a further enactment of an ethic put into practice. The intentional openness of fieldwork (for instance, using my weblog to report tentative findings to subjects and keep the conversation open and available to a potentially interested public) both challenges and clarifies the boundaries of the study, mirroring some, if not all, of the meaning-making elements under study.
The discourse about simultaneous interpretation is a reflection and a confirmation of the way simultaneous interpretation is currently used. As a mode of cultural communication, there is a ritual element (James Carey) in the roles and habits of participation and a structuring of values in the discourse about participation. The ramifications of these values as a force acting on the future is most apparent when subjects choose not to use simultaneous interpretation, preferring instead a lingua franca of variable fluency. This move to the same language (usually a form of English) is an homogenization, a centering, that seems in the moment merely a matter of convenience but over time constitutes practices that eliminate diversity through the imposition of a singular, common way to express knowledge.
As I endeavor to inject relevant academic theories into an institution (785 elected politicians) with the power to craft legislation influencing billions of people, I am constantly stimulated to revise my assumptions and renew my hypothesis in a deliberately dialogic manner. My knowledge is no more fixed than theirs, arguably less so: I am one individual with an intellectual opinion. The Members of the European Parliament have inherited an accumulated tradition and collectively generated common sense, i.e., ‘this is how we do interpreting here’ (not an actual quotation, but illustrative of the lack of questioning regarding the use and/or outcomes of using simultaneous interpretation).
My hope for next year is to continue to engage my topic in a dynamic way through presentations and conversations with interested others, as well as to continue to test, assess, and challenge findings and conclusions through comparison and contrast with other projects. In particular, what does it mean to do action research, with an openly acknowledged interest in generating change? How does one decide when, and how hard, to advocate for a certain position? Can one hold a strong stance without being co-opted into a role that perpetuates pre-existing institutional/social forces or does the task require identifying how one is used in these ways because such incorporation is inevitable?
Becoming a member of an actively-engaged social justice education community strikes me as ideal for my own purposes, and I do believe I would bring worthy contributions to your program, overall, and any specific projects I am invited to join. My weblogging, for instance, is a deliberate strategy for promoting dialogue within groups. I have used it very effectively in my teaching, combining the advantages of online communication with face-to-face classroom interaction. From the years I’ve spent teaching online only courses, I learned that students (if properly structured and facilitated) will speak much more openly, thoughtfully, and in-depth regarding difficult topics than they usually do in a face-to-face environment. Also, the requirement of participation generates a kind of leveling effect, moderating the tendencies in a regular group for a few people to dominate airspace and the quieter folks to refrain from sharing their perspectives.
My most ambitious attempt was with a junior-level course on Group Dynamics in the spring of 2008: writing directly to the students my observations and reflections of group dynamics as they occurred in our face-to-face classroom interactions enabled a highly engaged group and very powerful learning experiences. The following summer session, in an online-only course on Interpersonal Communication, I created assignments taking us back to the work of students in the Group Dynamics course – providing grounded learning opportunities for current students to apply theories currently being learned. I have also created ways to use student blogs interactively, such that I was able to guide online students through a similar kind of group developmental process as happens in regular face-to-face classrooms. These kinds of linkages and cross-pollinations generate new possibilities for critical and continued learning. Whenever I teach, I convey the required content, however I use the content as a hook for getting students to develop critical thinking skills and practice putting them to use.
The greatest failure of most pedagogy is that it emphasizes the subject matter at hand to the exclusion of the social processes and relationships occurring among the people gathered for the purpose of learning about that subject. The skills I have acquired and continue to hone involve never taking one’s attention from the interrelational elements of the immediate interaction. I practice this when I write blogposts concerning my social life, coursework, political events, general thinking, and especially the current fieldwork. Framing is all. If I were to be invited to join your campus community for a year, I would anticipate blogging about my experiences there, making these blogposts available particularly to people present at the events of which I write, and hoping a dialogue would grow. There is no way to predict, of course, what I might sense, but I know that the mutuality of giving/receiving is crucial to the way I want to write this dissertation.
The result of our (imagined, projected) experiences together will inform the ultimate dissertation: the interaction can only enhance collective wisdom about effective intervention in a global system rife with problematic attitudes toward differences of all types.
Thank you for your consideration.

Iraqi Interpreter Series by Deborah Haynes

Thanks for the lead, James!

BBC correspondent Andrew Marr presented the first inaugural Tony Bevins Prize for investigative journalism, also called “Rat Up A Drainpipe Award” to Deborah Haynes, a journalist who reported on interpreters in Iraq. Marr told the Society of Editors [on 11 November] that the newspaper industry needs to do more to “market itself” and explain “why newspapers matter”.
Of course, my mission is to explain why interpreters matter, and expand the marketing on our behalf. All of the following links are to articles by Deborah Haynes (either solo or in a team), below are additional articles by others.

Deborah Haynes on Iraqi Interpreters:

Outrage over betrayal of Iraqi interpreters (7 August 2007) by Michael Evans
Do the Right Thing: Britain must not abandon its bravest allies in Iraq (7 August 2007)
Brown intervenes over the Iraqi interpreters denied political asylum (8 August 2007) by Francis Elliott, Greg Hurst, and Michael Evans
‘Interpreters for the British will be killed if they are left behind’ (11 August 2007) by Ben McIntyre
What’s Arabic for ‘we’ll stand by you’? The Iraqi interpreters are tainted as collaborators (17 August 2007) by Ben McIntyre
Get out or die, security force chief tells interpreters for British Army (14 September 2007) by Martin Fletcher
Matter of Interpretation: Britain should be as generous as possible to Iraqis who have risked their lives (6 October 2007)
Ministerial statement on Iraqi interpreters
Statement issued by David Miliband, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 9 October 2007
Interpreters can choose cash for resettlement or new life in UK (10 October 2007) by Richard Beeston
Iraqi interpreters – once more by Oliver Kamm (28 February 2008)
Iraqi interpreters and families prepare for new lives in Britain also posted at Signs of the Times which includes a timeline stating:

  • “August 12 An interpreter claims that about 60 colleagues have been killed working for the British” and
  • “September 16 A man believed to be an interpreter is beaten in front of his pregnant wife and killed”
  • (note: both lack link or reference).

Britain shamed as Iraqi interpreters are resettled in squalid tower blocks (13 June 2008) by Michael Evans and Sam Coates
Comment added to blog reposting of Iraqi who risked all for Britain is left to his fate in Basra

This is absolutely despicable. The British are no better than the Bush Administration for not harboring Iraqi interpreters who helped them when they needed them.
The Iraq Veterans’ Refugee Aid Association is going to do everything we can to help brave Iraqis like Mohammed.~Luis Carlos Montalvan

Where are your tributes to justice and courage now, Gordon Brown? (12 September 2008)

Top Ten UK-US Words Lost in Translation (15 August 2008)
Amnesty International UK Awards for 2008 also posted via the Women News Network Breaking News Portal.
Deborah Haynes wins award for Iraq reports (11 November 2008)
Facebook Group: Asylum for Iraqi Interpreters & Employees of Armed Forces
Nominations for 2008 Intrranet Linguist Awards include Deborah Haynes and Eric Camayd-Freixas, who I blogged about on 11 July 2008, on his Breaking Role to Serve Justice. The list is also posted at

Rosa Lee: got it going on!

Grrl is rocking, there’s no doubt! ๐Ÿ™‚

I wrote about another music video that she has interpreted in her wonderful style, from artificial code to organic language. In Cry Me A River, she has adapted the lyrics about a heterosexual (male/female) relationship to apply to the cross-cultural interaction of Deaf and “hearing” (non-deaf).