North American Summit on Interpreting
I discovered many kindred spirits at the 2nd North American Summit on Interpreting. I recognized colleagues as language service professionals as well as activists who
- hold optimistic views of what simultaneous interpretation is, does, and can do,
- believe in the need for unity of professional simultaneous interpreters across sectors and languages, and
- are eager to train interpreters and users of interpreting services about best practices for effective intercultural communication.
“We’re still in push”
I presented a poster summarizing a good chunk of my dissertation, including its main point, that the way simultaneous interpretation has been institutionalized results in the perpetuation of social inequality more than it contributes to leveling the playing field.
On the one hand, this is a grim conclusion. On the other hand, it provides a base from which concerned interpreters, providers and users of interpreting services can identify and strategize together about leverage points for introducing sociocultural innovations and legislative changes.
We are not compelled to continue all of the ritualized elements of simultaneous interpretation that we have inherited or even helped to build. We can learn from the trajectory of the last 70 years and make precise modifications in training, education, credentialing, and professional practice. These changes can be calibrated in order to reshape this special form of intercultural communication so that it serves the common good. By using simultaneous interpretation as an institutional mechanism for deliberately redressing systematic inequality, more safe and humane life chances can be generated for people of all classes and ways of life.