Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

What meanings are we making?

by • April 26th, 2009

de-briefing
two talks at Heriot Watt
by Stephanie Jo Kent

In addition to the transmission of information, the larger and deepest purpose of simultaneous interpretation is to generate and maintain common culture among people from different cultures.

As hoped, the opportunity to present on my dissertation fieldwork in-progress forced my brain to synthesize the trends and patterns that I have been noticing during this year of research at the European Parliament, as well as find words to express what I think these trends and patterns suggest about mono- and multilingualism. The effort to explain my perceptions moved me far along the analytical path; since returning to fieldwork many of the findings have crystallized further.
A few weeks ago, after more backbrain simmering, I finally uttered the statement highlighted above, distilling the years of talking with interested colleagues (and anyone else who would listen, thanks Arne!) into a single, comprehensible idea.
Purposes are human creations, not physical facts, so there is plenty of room to disagree. I am anticipating a conversation that will take place in Philadelphia in August (“Interpreting as Culture“), and other conversations that I hope grow from there and link from/with other sources (such as Ryan Commerson’s brilliant master’s thesis applying the work of

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Research in Interpreting Studies

by • April 19th, 2007

Olivier set up an online forum for Research in Interpreting Studies: Resources for researchers working in the field of interpreting studies. Let’s see if it goes anywhere – feel free to join!

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“All my mothers were born here.”

by • April 11th, 2007

We were welcomed to the country by a member of an Aboriginal group native to the Parramatta area, the Darug. She shared some of her story, sang a song and then was joined by a cousin she called brother for a duet (guitar and didgeridoo). He finished with a solo called “The Hitchhiker,” leaving us in the cab of a tractor-trailer truck driving into the sunset.
The speakers were all passionate about the need for quality and high standards in community interpreting, as well as the need for adequate funding and training. Sandra Hale, Chair of this Critical Link Congress (which has drawn more than 500 delegates, the largest in history) made a nice parallel between the Critical Link and Parramatta. This is the first time the conference has been held in the southern hemisphere, and Parramatta is where the landmark first reconciliation conference the Darug and European settlers was held in 1805.
Professor John Ingleson provided a stellar local idiom: “teaching my grandmother to suck eggs.” This morning I met Catherine, a New Zealand Sign Language interpreter, who explained the phrase means teaching someone something obvious, that they already well know how to do. Who

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ITPs: “giving interpreter trainees a fish or teaching them HOW to fish?”

by • April 11th, 2007

Claudia Angelelli asked this during the workshop “Program quality in interpreter education.” I like it. 🙂
According to the list of participants, there are people here from more than thirty countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, England/UK, Finland, France, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and the US. Who knows how many languages!
Sydney reminds me of two places, in different ways: first, Hawai’i &emdash; the feel of the air, perhaps a faint olfactory recognition, and the presence of palm trees; second, Istanbul &emdash; riding the train and looking out on blue sky and the curve of coast along the bay. Walking along a broad pedestrian way toward the conference hotel this morning, I recalled Brussels, even Madrid. Of course there are distinctions, but my American sensibilities take in the similarity of pace and priorities in contrast with the hurry-burry hustle-bustle never-slow-down-and-take-a-break rush of typical days in the States.
I went to the wrong room for the pre-conference (!) but it was fortuitous in one regard: a discursive theme around shifting from linguistic (information-based) transmission-type interpreting

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Details matter

by • April 10th, 2007

For instance, carefully looking at the travel zones to be sure that the week pass I bought (for all trains, ferries, and buses) actually goes all the way out to my hotel! (Not quite, argh! Seems the only way to upgrade it is to go all the way back to the airport!???!) So, my six a.m. decision-making after a twenty-two hour journey is not so hot. :-/
Going on the SBS tour, however, was an excellent idea. 🙂 They broadcast in sixty-eight languages, which puts them in a class by themselves. They use the phrase “mini-UN”: perhaps this is true in terms of written translation? Yet, it seemed to me that the daily production of so many different language group voices is much closer to the language regime of the European Parliament. SBS does television and radio, with radio described as “the mother of the organization” and subtitling as “the key” to delivering the organization’s charter, which is to “bring the world to Australia.”
Two aspects of the visit captured me: the parallels between subtitling and sign language interpretation, and meeting with Francis Lee, Head of the Cantonese Program for SBS Radio (Sydney).
I have

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