Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

Interpreting During Disasters / CRID Annual Meeting

by • April 18th, 2013

  Download the pdf to print and submit the Registration Form.

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Introduction to Inter-Role Dialogue

by • May 18th, 2012

Steph at work: presenting on "Dialogue under Occupation" at Lebanese American University, Beirut (Photo by Razvan Sibii)

Many interpreters are familiar with the idea of intercultural or intergroup communication, which takes the identity of participants as important to meaning. . This workshop extends the idea of “identity” to the different roles individuals have in any communication situation. We’ll explore the case of emergency management interpreting, where First Responders have very clear priorities that may not coincide with what Deaf and hard-of-hearing people believe they need. Likewise, Deaf and hard-of-hearing people have express communication needs that may not coincide with what First Responders believe they can accommodate.

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Brains: “an entity yet to be seen in world politics”

by • August 20th, 2009

International Relations Theory
(political science)

The quote above is from a comment by blenCOWe to a blogpost, Theory of International Politics and Zombies, by Daniel W. Drezner. Drezner’s blog entry is an example along the lines of this youtube video, Gay Science Isolates the Christian Gene, and a powerpoint presentation made by MJ Bienvenu at the recent biennial convention of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, in which she offered deconstructions of audism from the organization’s official website. For example:

“English is not ASL on the mouth.”

The pedagogy of this style of teaching is aptly captured by Erin in her comment to Drezner:

“As Daniel Nexon and Iver Neumann write, “The mirror approach is broader than simply deploying popular culture artifacts as a teaching aid. IR scholars can examine popular culture as a medium for exploring theoretical concepts, dilemmas of foreign policy, and the like.” (12).”

The mirror approach operates on the simple principle of substitution: take an existing discourse, and

a) reverse the key tropes (as in “Gay Science” or unveiling audism in “The Heart of the RID Organization”),

b) replace the key actors with an abstraction, or

c) combine both.

A View from Communication Theory
The engagement spawned (ha) is impressive. A communication theorist has

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What meanings are we making?

by • April 26th, 2009

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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two talks at Heriot Watt

by • March 10th, 2009

for the
Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies in Scotland, Heriot Watt University & the Translation Studies Graduate Programme, University of Edinburgh

Fishing for Culture and Missing Language:
Interpretation and Organizational Creativity

Culture(s) and discourse(s) are among the most unmanageable elements of international business. “You can’t model panic.” Patterns of cultural interaction and, especially, the range of interpretations of these patterns, have profound effects on the design and implementation of business plans. For instance, are differences of language a problem or a benefit? Do the homogenizing effects of using English as the language of international management outweigh the constant adaptation required by working multilingually? Discourses about simultaneous interpretation (SI) at the European Parliament (with its 23 working languages) pit danger and loss against loss and resignation. “Loss” of fluency and clarity worries professional interpreters at the European Parliament (EP) and “loss” of direct contact between interlocutors (users of interpreting services, in this case Members of the EP) seem – counterintuitively – to express anxieties about multilingualism and the possibilities for control. Understood as a practice of intercultural communication, the tensions made evident when simultaneous interpretation is used are a vital source of creativity typically overlooked because of conditioned (monolingual) preferences for using a

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Push of Chang, Pull of Cronen

by • March 29th, 2008

A vigorous debate between two faculty members dominated conversation about Marc Crépon‘s “What We Demand of Languages,” an extended footnote to Derrida’s Monolingualism of the Other.

I had been worried about arriving late to the Center for Communication Studies event, however Briankle Chang and Vernon Cronen were deep in discourse, ranging from the mistake of theology (not a feature of all religions), the influence of the Platonic opening, Aquinas’ linkage of physics with the New Testament, to structuralism as the antidote to transcendentalism, and whether “topos” is a place that contains all topoi and all vocabularies or a place that can be talked about in infinitely many ways.
I always learn more from faculty interactions with each other than from monologistic pedagogy!
A colleague translated Crépon’s article from French. Srinivas Lankala explains:

“Crépon summarizes Derrida’s argument, provides references to the argument that Derrida did not provide, and extends the argument to new areas:

the question between what language is and what language means in terms of politics of nationalism or politics of identity
the definition of identity
the definition of the self

“One important thing called into question is the notion of a singular cultural identity: identity is formed in advance by language &emdash; the whole question of

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Catalan, not French

by • October 8th, 2007

I made a faux paux the other day, responding to Martí Cabré. S/he (as I plunge headlong into another one!) copied a photo I took of an art installation in Istanbul last summer. I was curious. The photo is evocative and in fact reminded me of the struggle some of my juniors are having letting go of being told in order to risk reaching out on their own terms. When I clicked through to see Martí’s post, I discovered text in a foreign language and – for some reason – assumed the language was French. I am not sure why, as I do have a passing familiarity with Spanish; had I looked I would probably have made that (just as egregious an) error. At least, my good friend the Wanokip tells me, French and Catalan are both Latin languages.
What I realized, heart-in-mouth, was that I did not “look.” My eyes glanced over the unfamiliar script and bounced off, catching no friction. What would have held me was not (in this instance) any quality inherent to the language or the medium (internet computer screen). I was in a hurry. My mind

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Enough Already!

by • June 19th, 2007

As a teacher myself, I loved interpreting another professor today.
Professor: “Since class began, I have received over 100 emails and have answered almost every single one individually. You have told me about your personal life – going to weddings, car breakdowns, your commute time, how many hours that you work, that you have to get up too early in the morning, how late you go to bed. I know so much about you.”
“Let me tell you a little about myself.” (At which point my team interpreter looked me in the eye and signed OMG, “Oh my god”, and I thought, “Yep, here we go!”)
The professor continued: “I work sixty-five hours a week on payroll: time counted by the clock. I commute fourteen hours a week. I work another sixteen hours a week grading homework, this is not on the clock. I get up at five a.m.; I go to bed at one in the morning.”
He did not say, “Stop whining!” but really, after that, was it necessary? 🙂
Life is demanding.
Education asks much.
Many students go through the motions – to get a job, to earn the credit, for a grade – but how many

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dynamics (physics and Interpersonal Communication)

by • June 6th, 2007

Online teaching began Monday, as did interpreting for Physics 101. Ha! (I’m in heaven.) 🙂
The physics definition of dynamics is “the effect that forces have on motion.”
I have been wrangling some “force” onto my students use of the online discussion technology (an asynchronous “bulletin board” type of software). Of course I am curious what “motions” will be effected by my language-based exertions. In which “direction” will the students move? Compliance? Competition? Resistance? OH the JOYS of HUMAN INTERACTION!
The first “lecture” was made available to them yesterday morning. I’m going to post them here, too, to see what (if anything) gets sparked in and/or out of the class.
Introduction and Immersion

~ “Lecture” One ~
What is “interpersonal communication”? Can we communicate, interpersonally, through written text coded into bits of electronic data and spirited across cyberspace? Is writing to each other, and reading each other’s words, substantially different than speaking and listening to one another? If you are deaf: is it different to watch someone signing than it is to read letters on a computer screen? How much does it matter to type on a keyboard instead of moving your face and hands

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Controversy and Communication

by • December 17th, 2006

This conference on pedagogy next April is definitely a place I wish I could be, but instead I’ll be in Australia at Critical Link 5: Quality in Interpreting: A Shared Responsibility. I suppose I should not complain? :-/ (But when they finally get transporter technology, Beam Me Over Scottie!)
I submitted two proposals, they accepted one called “Interpreters: Guardians of Social Justice?” Meanwhile, the selected papers from Critical Link IV (held in Stockholm, 2004) are actually being printed (finally!) I don’t know where my piece is placed in the dang thing, but it is my first attempt at the kind of combination of theory-generating research and practical intervention that I hope might become “my thing.” 🙂

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