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For further information, email Sophia Ra: s. I began my interpreting career in in a school. I spent the first two and a half years of my interpreting career working in lower primary education, and in more recent years I have predominantly worked in a secondary school or university settings. I currently work in both education and community settings.

Working in both domains of work has encouraged a cross fertilisation and diversification of my skill set, my attitude, my values, and my interpreting experiences, and I highly recommend it. Looking back to my early years in the field of interpreting, I realise I was initially scared to test the waters in community interpreting, but there is no doubt that by challenging myself to broaden my experiences outside of education I have actually enriched and improved my interpreting in the classroom.

It was consistent, predictable, and comfortable. I knew what I was doing in this setting and I thought I had the necessary skills. This is of course a potentially dangerous way of thinking as a professional, and can lead to unconscious incompetence. Indeed, in hindsight, I can see my interpreting skills were fossilising and it was critical that I branch out.

Fortunately, my timely decision to take the plunge into community interpreting was in an effort to not only expand my professional experiences and skills, but to see interpreting through a different lens that was not solely education-focused. Community interpreting has allowed me to work in tandem with some amazing interpreters, including Deaf interpreters, and as most of my work in education was solo, in community settings I learned the intricacies of working with another person and how to work in tandem effectively.

I have had the privilege of frequently working with Deaf professionals, diversifying my language choices and register from those used in education settings. I have been able to gain experience in high profile public assignments, formal settings, conferences, and interpreting academic presentations into English, as well as gaining experience in working with deafblind consumers.

Community interpreting has also provided me opportunities to work with complex clients in complex situations which has not only helped my interpreting skills but has given me greater perspective to a plethora of social issues we are confronted by as interpreters. Interestingly, this spurred me on to undertake a now nearly completed degree in social work. Community interpreting has given me a larger tool bag to take into the classroom to use when I am working with students who are still acquiring Auslan which is far too frequent, sadly, even in secondary school.

Educational interpreting is not without its distinct advantages too. It certainly does not deserve its fortunately slowly changing reputation as the poor cousin of community interpreting. It is where I learned how important it is to be free in my interpretations; to interpret the meaning and be as visual as possible. Deaf students taught me the importance of this. My early years in educational interpreting also gave me valuable skills in preparing for assignments, with fortnightly assemblies, excursions and incursions, and thanks to educational interpreting the second verse of the national anthem will forever be etched onto my brain!

Today I continue to work in education, and I am still learning things that I carry into my work in community interpreting all the time. I am particularly fortunate to often work with highly skilled Deaf staff in the classroom, from whom I am always learning, and then integrating my observations of them into my interpreting. I truly believe that in working in education and community settings that I have the best of both worlds! Prior to achieving this, she completed a Diploma of Auslan in In , she was nominated once again for her work. Bonnie now works predominately in community settings in a variety of environments.

She intends to tie her experience as an Auslan interpreter to a role in community social work in the future. In that article, I wrote about the importance of having an accreditation and formal regulation in our industry. Five years have passed and I still strongly believe in the importance of certification for the profession of translating and interpreting. While I was growing up in Portugal, I saw a lot of high school students with good marks in English, doing translation jobs in the holidays for extra cash.

Once I became a professional translator and came to understand how complex the job really is, I realised how misguided this practice was. After working in this industry for 10 years, it saddens me to hear about unqualified people charging customers for a job they are not qualified for. In my view, accreditation programs by reputable associations will increase the standards in our profession.

Only people who are properly qualified and fully committed can be accredited, and can demonstrate the quality of their work. Those people without relevant qualifications or who are unable to meet the required standards, will have a benchmark to aim for, in order be able to work as a translator.

Qualifications and standards also provide a guarantee for clients, identifying the work of professionals, as superior to high school students. One of the methods used to encourage high standards within the profession and ensure good practice is a code of conduct. Membership of an association requires compliance with a code of conduct. Certification can be expensive, especially for professionals who are accredited by more than one association, but it is an investment in yourself and your career, and one that will certainly pay off in the long term.

In supporting professionals and their practice, associations need to provide a service for their members. Understanding how to keep a steady flow of stable, continuous work and methods of improving translating and interpreting skills, are two important areas where members look for relevant information. Most associations do meet this need; offering courses, workshops and other events, but there are other ways associations could help to make our profession a better and more reliable one.

The creation of appropriate avenues for translators and interpreters to work directly with their association in a positive and consultative way, with the ability to suggest new ideas or opportunities for improvement, would encourage the association to be more aligned with the needs of practitioners. Associations could also provide an opportunity for practitioners to talk about real issues encountered in their work, providing a platform where problems can be discussed and perhaps solved, offering peer support to colleagues navigating similar situations.

It is important clients are aware of language variants and localisation issues that may arise, so they can be better informed and therefore better equipped to choose the right professional for their specific needs. Creating awareness in the community about language services and localisation issues is a service that associations can and should be involved in. Finally, achieving better communication between associations worldwide, and ensuring the same standards were adopted, would improve the quality of services internationally and serve to promote a more uniform approach to this profession.

Other professions such medicine and law have their associations. Doctors, nurses and lawyers are not be able to practice without accreditation. She is the founder of Updated Words. Catia is passionate about the translation industry and loves to share her knowledge with others.

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I vividly recall back then how interpreters were once regarded as volunteers, then welfare workers, and how they would at times dread the school holiday breaks - given this means little to no income. Nowadays, interpreters are seen as highly professional and increasingly well regarded in mainstream society. In years gone by interpreters could get away with wearing casual attire for business meetings, but as more Deaf people have become professionals or are in positions of influence, interpreters have similarly become more conscious of their self-image and professionalism.

While increasing demands of interpreters will continue, so too the diverse nature of the task at hand will rise. I am very mindful of interpreters who are embarking on work in a new setting. I have taken the liberty to ask interpreters as to how they prepare and maintain their ability to continually perform at optimal levels- both physically and mentally. I am somewhat surprised that they appear to have not considered how they are looking after their tools as much as they should.

Whilst there is a general rule in regards to OHS and taking breaks etc. I am not talking about investing in further training and development which is always essential and wise but investing in their total physical and mental wellbeing. Think about it. Just as we are always committed to ensuring our car is regularly serviced, do you have the same approach to your main tools? If not, why? If we neglect getting our car serviced regularly, then our car will continue to underperform - leading to more costly outcomes over time.

With the ever-dreaded fear for any interpreters to acquire Repetitive Strain Injury RSI , interpreters should consider investing into areas such as recovery massages and the power of mindfulness. This in turn will allow you to maintain high performance— naturally. As for your brain, again investing in looking after your mind is also critical. Just as it is important to eat and sleep right, your brain works extensively when interpreting. We should not discount that your role as interpreters can be unpredictable and the nature, tempo and complexity of your assignment can vary suddenly.

Again investing in yourself to have a full body massage can not only help your body but evidently helps your mind. Did you know your brain is actively processing around 2, bits of information per second on any given day for an average Joe Blow in society? Imagine how much more when you are actually interpreting. Just as builders, carpenters, painters, mechanics and welders need their tools to be working efficiently and effectively in their job, the same rule should apply for sign language interpreters.

This is no different to elite athletes in my case being an Olympian as prevention is better than cure and the power of resilience was important. During the prime of my career I was having almost three to four massages a week three were for recovery from intense training and one was purely a relaxation massage. Given my chosen event the Decathlon, I was susceptible to injuries and mental tiredness and having undertaken such proactive recovery treatment, I had little to no injuries and maintained mental focus during this time.

In addition to this, I invested in ensuring I looked after my mental health and resilience component. Incorporating all this allowed me to maintain and deliver high performance — and when it counted. Costs should not be a barrier in this issue as these could be claimed as a tax deductible expense check with your accountant as part of the gap if you can claim under health insurance.

There should be no shame in treating yourself to these treatments regularly. In fact, it is a very smart way to go. Committing yourself to regular maintenance of your tools will ensure that you are treating and respecting your mind and body in a professional way which in turn will enable you to continue to deliver high performing interpreting.

There is nothing more frustrating than to be laid off due to injury or feeling mentally exhausted at the expense of losing income. Given the future will see more demands of interpreting skills across various settings, thanks to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, it is never more important to ensure your tools remain clean and sharp and well maintained.

As a Deaf professional myself, having now written this I too am asking myself whether I should be practicing what I preach. I need my tools to effectively do my job in my professional role and I shall be investing in maintaining these tools in the future. Will you? Dean is an Olympian, two times Commonwealth Games and four times Deaflympian.

Dean is currently CEO of Deaf Children Australia and regularly sought to speak on various matters such as high performance, disability, marketing and communications. Regular interpreter users are acutely aware of difficulties in accessing interpreters when needed. Undoubtedly, solutions to this issue are multifaceted, but I believe that the retention of interpreters, and fostering career longevity are a big part of the solution. I have seen numerous accomplished colleagues come and go over the years.

Career attrition is normal, particularly considering the nature of the job and its inherent strains, but I suspect that something may be happening in the field that is exacerbating this attrition. Having observed this situation from several angles: as consumer, interpreter practitioner, and interpreter trainer, I sense a mismatch between what I see, experience, and hear anecdotally from colleagues. It surprises me when colleagues tell me that they are exhausted and overloaded with work, while others report insufficient work and require adjunct employment to supplement their incomes.

Nine people a mixture of experienced still-working interpreters; early-career interpreters, and people who had left their interpreting careers were invited to complete a simple, anonymous Survey Monkey. Of the six people who responded to questions regarding why they have either left, or considered leaving their career, all mentioned adverse relationships with colleagues as a factor.

Comments included:. This survey yielded invaluable positive data, on which I would like to have expanded, but space does not allow. As an interpreter trainer, I am privileged to share the joy and excitement that students bring when embarking on their interpreting careers. It is my dearest wish that we nurture this positivity, and that these newcomers experience career longevity, buoyed by those supportive, generous and kind colleagues that I know. Every day Australian doctors see patients whose spoken English can be insufficient to communicate their symptoms or to understand their treatment.

Often the person can talk in English but may struggle to understand technical language. Over languages are spoken in this country and yet 80 per cent of us can only speak English. The linguistic diversity of the population is so great that no matter how multilingual the doctor is the languages of doctor and patient rarely match. Most doctors will need to make a decision about whether or not to use an interpreter every day. Here is one day in a typical general practice in a suburb, the one where I work.

The practice has eight doctors, two nurses, and around patients. Although the identifying details have been altered all of these are real cases. He stares glumly at his elderly patient Sara who has booked to see him because she thought he spoke her language, the Myanmar language. The interpreter comes on line and Dr Win is able to work out that Sara has gastritis. He explains how to test for bacteria in her stomach. Time is one of the major reasons cited by doctors for not using interpreters.

Efficient medical practices delegate contacting interpreters to the front-office staff. Dr Win has learned to clarify before the consultation begins that he needs an interpreter, ask the patient to wait while reception contacts TIS National, and use that four minutes to read the patient notes and prepare himself. Her young husband hovers in the background. If they had been in their home country an extended family of aunties and sisters would now be helping her to recover from surgery and care for her baby son. I stare aghast at the angry wound with its ridges of infected skin, trying to bury the metal staples.

These should have come out five weeks ago. When she was discharged from hospital the staff had explained using Google Translate that she had to get the staples removed in ten days. Amina had not understood and had been too embarrassed to say so. I have a regular appointment with Bruno who has started psychiatric treatment for depression and wishes to speak about his experiences in the war ten years ago. We have booked an on-site interpreter who speaks his language.

The receptionist calls. Hana, who has been in the country for five months stands crying at the front desk with a three year old child in her arms. We have a huddled consultation with a phone interpreter in the treatment room. The child has swallowed the lithium battery from a toy. It will need to be removed by an endoscope under general anaesthetic. Hana wants to wait till her husband, who speaks better English, comes home from work.

The practice pays for a taxi, and through the interpreter the nurse explains the urgency of the situation. I ring the hospital to say they will need to get an interpreter on the phone for the consultation. Not every consultation where the person has limited English will need a professional interpreter. Sometimes the situation is of low acuity and the patient can make themselves understood. There is no doubt however that interpreters are underused in Australian medical practice. For every consultations of a patient who speaks poor English, only one will a professional interpreter be used.

There are four circumstances where doctors looking after people, whose command of English may be—at that moment—suspect, must think of using a professional interpreter, and have a defensible reason for not using one. These situations are consent, complexity, crisis and to assess the competence of the patient to make decisions on their own behalf. Performing a procedure without informed consent is an assault.

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Yet all too often people with limited English proficiency are asked to sign a paper thrust in front of them, or have it explained by a family member whose technical English may be very limited. Even though Amina spoke some English, her understanding was compromised because she was recovering from a major procedure, and she had no prior experience of wound staples. Denied the opportunity to clarify, Amina left hospital believing that staples could be left in permanently. Complexity is also the reason that pharmacists can access TIS National.

Mistakes in medication dosage can have major impacts on the patient, as in a case in our study of a patient who overdosed on a medication that was to be taken intermittently, resulting in major neurological side-effects. In a crisis professional interpreters are often overlooked in favour of any available person. In a famous case in the United States of America, a nine-year-old child who suffered a severe reaction to a medication was herself used as interpreter in the emergency department.

Her sixteen-year-old brother was subsequently co-opted into interpreting to their parents when she died. Failure to use an interpreter in a crisis is an indefensible approach when there is a hour priority phone line to access interpreters. On the way home from work I called into a nursing home to see Wilf, an octogenarian whose ability to speak English, his third language, had declined as he aged.

The absolute numbers have increased by two thirds over the last ten years to at least , people. Wilf was ignoring staff and refusing meals, and the staff were worried about his mental competence. As I walked down the corridor to his room I called the telephone interpreter service.

Wilf sat up clutching the phone to his ear and wept as we talked in his language. Wilf was perfectly competent, but starved of conversation. In a huge linguistically-diverse country like Australia the majority of interpreted consultations by doctors will always be by telephone. Rather than being a secondary fall-back option doctors should think of telephone interpreting as their best option. Using a telephone interpreter requires some practice, good administrative processes that empower reception staff to access interpreters, and telephones with speaker facility.

Once mastered, telephone interpreting helps doctors to be safer, more efficient and most importantly, to provide better service to their patients. This article was originally published in the Summer edition of Talking TIS and is reproduced with permission. I started my journey into a working life as a clerk for over a decade. I then developed an injury, which saw me unable to continue working and I stayed home for eight years doing nothing. Almost immediately I fell in love with this amazing language and my hunger to know more was ravenous. I joined every class that was offered. After I completed all of the certificates, I still wanted to know more about Auslan and the next step up in my education was the interpreters course.

This journey into the Deaf society was one of great trepidation for me.


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My fear was almost overwhelming but Auslan was like a drug and I needed more. I would go to the Deaf Club and sit in a corner on my own with a Diet Coke these were two signs I knew so could order this drink. After a few weeks sitting in a corner, a group of ladies took pity on me and invited me to sit with them. The next important part of my journey commenced, getting to know the Deaf community and culture, and watching native signers conversing. I feel privileged to be seen as a friend and ally to the Deaf community as well as having the honour of providing a service for them as an interpreter and occasional transliterator.

The next step in my journey was to become a qualified interpreter and to work in the Deaf community. I remember my first job well as a NAATI paraprofessional accredited interpreter, it was a medical appointment. What did they say? Please repeat the word? Another lesson in my journey learnt, Deaf people would often sign and fingerspell the same word for emphasis. Throughout my career as an interpreter there have been many opportunities for me to learn lessons and improve my skills.

They have all taught me so much and given me opportunities to work in amazing places and bear witness to even more remarkable things. Some of the jobs I undertook were as a tandem or in a team with both hearing and Deaf interpreters. These opportunities provided more experiential steps along my journey. I almost groan with envy when observing a DI interpretation. To work with them and know that they are there for the benefit of all of us in the room is a privilege.

I thank them for these working opportunities and I am so grateful to have worked with them during my journey. Reciprocity is a wonderful thing!

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Our association has also provided extremely valuable professional development opportunities locally and at the winter schools and ASLIA National Conferences. These have made my journey all the more knowledgeable and enjoyable. I cherish those who taught me and those with whom I studied. I tried to use this simple but effective tool at every booking. Sadly my journey within the Deaf and interpreting communities will be coming to an end all too soon.

So I implore you all to embrace your individual journeys with all the enthusiasm and desire to succeed that you can muster. She achieved her first accreditation in Are you thinking of expanding internationally or entering a new market? One of the first things you are likely to do is to have your marketing materials translated. So how do you get your message and call to action across effectively in a different language.

Take the time to find a translator who is experienced in marketing and who understands your business. Translating marketing documents requires creativity, cultural competency and an ability to convey ideas whilst at the same time retaining meaning and eliciting a desired emotional response. Your company name, slogan, logo or tagline all feature prominently on your website and marketing materials.

Getting it right the first time around avoids costly corrective action and damaging your reputation. Your goal should be to maintain brand coherence as much as possible within any cultural limitations. The more informed translators are about your brand, the more accurate and effective their work will be. They do this in order to convey these to your target audience in such a way that the message really speaks to them personally.

Putting these recommendations in place will go a long way to ensuring that your translated marketing content retains its original compelling message and stand-out qualities. She has been practising since after completing a Masters of Interpreting and Translation Studies at Monash University. Nicola specialises in legal, marketing and business texts, drawing on over five years' experience in marketing, as well as a background in international business. She also authors a translation blog here. This article is republished with permission. As part of their work, our friends at TIS National have allowed us to share some personal stories from their interpreters.

This is Hoa's story. I am still doing it for the love of it, not for the money". Hoa started interpreting as an unofficial volunteer assistant when she was about 20 years old in a refugee camp in the Philippines. Her personal drive fuelled her to persevere. Overcoming my nervousness and anxiety became my top priority. I met and befriended many people including my mentor who inspired, motivated and encouraged me not to give up my goal of becoming an accredited interpreter. Being a registered nurse and an accredited interpreter Hoa wears different hats for different settings.

She believes that maintaining professionalism and following the code of conduct and ethics is important. Sometimes I am called out to help interpret for Vietnamese speaking clients. Hoa believes interpreting services have changed a lot with the advent of new technologies as well as emerging demands in the community. Telephone interpreting has become an important tool to enable culturally and linguistically diverse CALD people in the rural areas to have access to a variety of services.

Hoa says "less people rely on their family members, relatives and friends for assistance". She continues, "However, sometimes machine-interpreting or translating is not very accurate. Video interpreting is another potential area. It saves time and reduces traffic congestion. It enables people to have equal access to services from anywhere in Australia". Hoa feels strongly about training for interpreters. She believes that the interpreting industry has evolved along with social and economic progress in our society, especially with new migrants coming to Australia every year.

She also feels that a professionally trained interpreter workforce will help government and private organisations provide services effectively to non-English speaking residents in different communities. As a nurse, I like to interpret more in the health field where I can use my professional knowledge and cultural understanding to reduce any confusion or doubts helping non-English speaking Vietnamese clients regarding complex health related issues. They will be better prepared and may be advocates in the community about these programmes," Hoa said enthusiastically.

Hoa also believes people should help themselves, "actually everyone should also be encouraged to learn English to support themselves help others and be independent". Hoa believes that as an accredited interpreter one of the challenges is to keep up to date with language skills because everything is changing and it is important to have good knowledge of vocabulary.

She offers these great tips for those who want to become an interpreter and keep their language alive. Hoa suggests "There are many ways to do that, such as reading material in your language, listening to community radio programmes or just catching up with other native speakers. Your group could become not only a social club, but a professional group to learn from each other.

Peer support is important as most interpreters work independently". The project involves the delivery of a series of public events throughout the year that promote language learning and will culminate in a revived, state-wide acknowledgement and celebration of Languages Week from August This competition is open to all ages, although the short description category via Facebook is only open to adults 18 years or older.

The entrant must live in Western Australia and hold a valid Australian residency visa or be an Australian citizen. Click here to learn more about the submission process along with the judging criteria. Disruption is staring us in the face. We read about it online, hear about it in the news, and participate in it almost on daily basis.

Using Uber? Paying by touching your smartphone? Checking out at Woolworth through self-checkout? Booking accommodation on BnB? Telling a cafe owner off by threatening a one-star review on TripAdvisor? Zooming into meetings? All these and more are in a way or another disruptions to how things were done in the not-so-distant past. Yet as translators we are led often to believe that disruption must be about doing translations better and faster for cheaper. In fact, preferably for free. This is not totally correct. Disruption is primarily about innovation.

It also about coming up with solutions to things that could not be done before or to things that were annoying and inefficient in the way they were done. Remember the days of bulky typewriters? PCs that weighed a ton? Xerox machines with perpetual jammed hiccups? I am sure few of us would want to go back to working that way. Everything that improved our modus operandi - from the access to knowledge and professional networks online to CAT tools and electronic termbases - disrupted the way we work.

However, it wasn't all positive. The same portals that open global market opportunities to us, also expose us up to global competition. If we were once big fish in a small pond, we are plankton in an endless ocean.

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The widening of our horizons meant we are better informed, provided we can deal with information glut. Disruption brought with it TM and its anagram MT. Both help us work faster if we know how to use them, but with these tools come the dubious blessings of ambiguous intellectual property and post-editing. Many practitioners complain that translation quality is suffering and this is also abetted by the disruption known as crowdsourcing. As I write this, more disruption is predicted, this time from artificial intelligence and machine learning.

For the uninitiated, a simplified explanation would be that we are teaching computers to use language like humans do. In its position paper on the future of the profession, FIT was more circumspect about what effect. These models could include various types of added value or involve translation services provided as part of a diversified offering. New innovative ideas are needed. Disruption is a two-sided coin, but we do have a bit of say on which side we want it to fall.

That ability to decide is called learnability. In January this year, a survey of 18, employers across all sectors in 43 countries, published at the World Economic Forum in Davos, showed that,. This means that, regardless of how artificial intelligence will develop, we cannot just continue doing what we have always been doing, the way we have been doing it.

The learn, apply and adapt principle is about learning to code, applying the code creatively to our work, and constantly adapting to an environment in which change is exponential. A golden opportunity to listen to people in the know, to debate and to enrich your professional knowledge.

Having spent over 30 years translating, Sam continues to mentor and motivate many aspiring translators to expand their vision globally. I saw an advertisement for a job in risk management that prompted me to think how risk management is what we do as sign language interpreters. In the business and financial environments, risk is part of daily life and companies and institutions structure themselves in order to manage risk. The types of risk include credit risk, financial risk, operational risk, technology risk, insurance risk and regulatory risk. The professional skilled in risk management has undergone specialised training and possesses the ability to compile, analyse and evaluate data and report on how to either avoid or reduce risk to the well-being of an individual, organisation or business.

There are a number of things they do to achieve this. For this article I will refer to two:. In the interpreting environment, risk is a part of our everyday practice on two levels. The interpreter the person is at risk; this could be from fatigue, from vicarious trauma, from Occupational Overuse Syndrome OOS or other occupational hazards.

Like the risk manager, the interpreter has undergone specialist training and is conversant with the Code of Ethics, but can also access data from a range of sources, such as literary work, articles, research, PD sessions, peer conversations, conferences, media and many others, that reduce any risk. An example is data from the research of Cokely which encourages the interpreter to allow enough time to process the source text in order to reduce the risk of omissions, additions, substitutions, intrusions and anomalies Cokely, Another example comes from Dean and Pollard who encourage the interpreter to develop control measures to mitigate risks from environmental, paralinguistic, interpersonal and intrapersonal demands placed on them Dean and Pollard, Witter-Merithew and Stewart make a case for reducing risk to consumers of interpreting services by the interpreter, novice or veteran alike, developing a solid foundation in ethical fitness and decision-making Witter-Merithew and Stewart, Woodcock and Fisher, in their work Occupational Health and Safety for Sign Language Interpreters report extensively on ways the interpreter may reduce risk or personal injury by offering a wealth of advice and a range of exercises Woodcock and Fischer, So being familiar with the Code of Ethics, its purpose and its content is important.

Analysis and evaluation of a range data provides new ways of understanding what lies behind our actions and their consequences and thus provides opportunities for us to better manage the risk to our service and those who rely on it. Interpreting can be a very isolating profession, especially in the area of educational interpreting. Two years ago, despite being involved in the Deaf Community for over 20 years and being a qualified interpreter for over 13 years I still felt I needed to increase my experience and knowledge of the Deaf Community and improve my interpreting skills.

I decided to find ways to improve that did not involve formal study. I have always been involved in professional development and have benefited greatly from the professional development run by ASLIA and ASLIA New South Wales over the years and thought maybe it was my turn to volunteer on the committee and give back to the organisation that had helped me so much.

I benefited greatly from the experience and gained an appreciation for those who came before me. Being part of the committee broadened my understanding of what our professional association does and I gained better knowledge of the disability sector and all the stakeholders involved in providing services for Deaf people.


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Knowledge like this can only help in the variety of situations in which we interpret. I also made friends and got to know more of the amazing people who share this great profession. I had mostly done educational interpreting up to that point. I was unsure at first and felt out of my comfort zone but would highly recommend to anyone who has been interpreting in the same area for a while to try something new. Working with a range of Deaf adults, in a variety of different settings helped me to improve my skills dramatically.

Being able to work with co-interpreters on a regular basis was also extremely beneficial. Just the incidental learning is amazing and if you are lucky enough to work with co-interpreters who are willing and able to give constructive feedback it can make a huge difference to the speed of your improvement. I would also recommend approaching the interpreting agencies you work for in your state or territory about mentoring programs. I applied for the internship and was lucky enough to be accepted as an intern in the program which meant that I was paired up with a mentor — a more experienced interpreter- to work for the Deaf Society once a week for a whole day for 13 weeks.

This gave me the confidence I needed to accept jobs that I might never have before. Interpreting is a profession where you never stop learning and improving. Have a think about ways you could continue to develop and improve your knowledge and skills so that we can continue to raise the standards of this wonderful profession! Karen O'Toole lives in the Blue Mountains with her husband and two children. She has been involved in the Deaf community for over 30 years both here in Australia and in England.

She has interpreting experience in a range of settings including education, medical, business and the disability sector. She is looking forward to meeting the challenges that the NDIS will bring and hopes to be part of this rewarding profession for many years to come. Basically, when the communication is taking place entirely in one common language.

The support worker may be introducing the new arrival to essential processes and systems in our society—for example, showing them how to take public transport to TAFE, or take their children to school—all the while speaking in the shared LOTE. However, such support workers are amongst those who frequently find themselves, sometimes reluctantly and often inadvertently, asked or expected to provide interpreting services.

Many cognitive skills come into play, and not all bilingual people can engage in interpreting adequately, especially without training. In Latin America, Europe, Japan and China, interpreters working at a level of community interpreting equivalent to that experienced in Australia are required to have undertaken a full-time four-to-five-year degree course at a tertiary institution.

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As Australia has long been the final destination of refugees and migrants from all corners of the world, our universities and TAFEs offer interpreting and translation degrees in many of the languages spoken here, but not all. As a result, it would be near impossible for every interpreter to comply with the rigorous educational standards that apply elsewhere. NAATI was created to provide testing for those aspiring to be interpreters. It sets minimum benchmarks of competence and accuracy, and the recipients of interpreting services by NAATI accredited or recognised interpreters can at least get some idea of their levels of linguistic skills.

NAATI is currently undertaking a revision of its testing and accreditation processes ; in the future, all aspiring interpreters will need to undergo a specified number of hours of appropriate training before they are deemed ready to sit NAATI accreditation tests. Ideally only accredited interpreters should be doing this work, for two main reasons. Firstly, the acquisition and application of the knowledge and skills required, as well as the professional ethical obligations, take years of specific training and experience. However, factors including cost and convenience frequently propel bilingual support workers to act as interpreters.

It is very difficult to ascertain when the content of any exchange will be and remain simple throughout. Risk will always be present, as parties cannot be assured that what they have said has been accurately rendered into the other language. They should be expected to decline to undertake any interpreting task that goes beyond a simple conversation, without prejudice to, or belittlement of, the bilingual worker; especially as anyone who engages in interpreting, whether they are accredited or not, may be subject to legal liability, as mentioned above.

Anyone who is already providing interpreting services, who enjoys doing so and feels they have the makings of a good interpreter, should be encouraged to seek support from their employers to formalise their skills via the NAATI accreditation process. She can be contacted at patriciaeavila yahoo. Or whether the mode of interpreting used affects the perceptions of those listening to your interpretation? A research team set out to find answers to these questions. The goal of the interpreter, therefore, is to interpret accurately both content and manner of speech in order to render the situation as close to a monolingual situation as possible.

This research project set out to ascertain whether the mode of interpreting used affects the fulfilment of that goal. Each juror was randomly allocated to one of the three conditions. The trial participants, including the accused and the interpreter, were played by professional actors and the dialogue was scripted. In other words, all jurors, across all three conditions, heard exactly the same testimony from the interpreter and the accused. The interpretation languages were Spanish to English.

This suggests that an accurate rendition can, as intended, place a non-English speaker in the same position as an English speaker with respect to likelihood of conviction.


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  5. However, there were significant differences between C1 consecutive and C3 monolingual , with the former eliciting a more positive perception of the accused overall. The interpreter used in the study was well dressed and acted professionally, and it may be that in C1, in which the jurors were often visually focused on the interpreter, the positive impression that this created was projected onto the accused. In the afternoon, jurors in C1 consecutive tended to report more loss of concentration than in C2 simultaneous , indicating that consecutive interpreting is more distracting to jurors than simultaneous.

    That the study found no significant differences in the rate of conviction across the three conditions is encouraging, as this seems to indicate that when interpretation is accurate, the interpreter will not change the outcome of the case. However, the study also seems to indicate that the simultaneous mode C2 may be preferable to the consecutive mode C1 with respect to achieving the intended interpreter role of placing the non-English speaker in the same position as an English speaker. The consecutive mode tended to distract jurors more and to interfere with their assessment of the accused—effects which did not occur with the simultaneous mode.

    However, research into the difference, if any, that mode makes to accuracy is needed before any recommendation can be made. The research team has applied for further funding to conduct the next phase of the research, to try to ascertain whether the same level of accuracy is achieved using consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, across three typologically different languages: Arabic, Chinese and Spanish.

    This research project was funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Program , Round 2 LP and the following partner organisations:. The other investigators were Prof. For the full research results and more publications, click here. Learn more about her here. Polaron are offering translators and interpreters a number of free professional development sessions throughout the year to improve the delivery of language services. The first session for will cover the basics of superannuation with guest speaker Cameron Stewart.

    This session will cover the following topics:. Participants are encouraged to stay after the session for networking and afternoon tea. There will also be minute sessions available with our speaker to discuss your super individually. I have been a Swahili interpreter and translator for over a decade. I feel amused about Swahili being categorised as a rare language because it is spoken by about 80 million people globally and is the second most widely spoken language in Africa after Arabic.

    Swahili is an official language in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda but is also spoken in neighbouring countries. After four months of language school, we lived in villages and later the capital, which were wonderful environments for language learning. When I returned to Australia, a community worker suggested I consider responding to the need for interpreters. I leapt at the chance of flexible employment which could help me keep my second language, and might also guide me in finding my place in Australian society again.

    Swahili-speakers have arrived in Australia due to migration, fleeing wars in Burundi, Rwanda and the Congo and as returning expatriates like myself. In the census, there were 6, Australian residents who reported speaking Swahili as their main language at home. In my experience, many interpreters are newly settled refugees with good English, who then move onto other full-time work as soon as they can.

    The first interpreting agency I worked with in took me on although I had no training or recognition: I was their only Swahili interpreter for some time. At an initial job, I discovered a teenager had missed about 16 days of his TAFE lessons due to interpreting for his family. As I gained confidence and skills, I entered contracts with other agencies. The NIP was a project that aimed to increase the number of interpreters in specific language groups by covering the cost of obtaining NAATI accreditation or recognition.

    NAATI shows foresight in running such projects, since interpreters of rare languages only receive income from casual appointments. Being a rare interpreter and translator brings some unique challenges and benefits.

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    If I cannot accept a job on a particular day or time, a person might go without an interpreter, with consequences like having to come back to court again, or being held in police custody longer, or getting less than ideal service. This means that I may be asked to nominate alternative days and times that I am available. Occasionally, even if I am not logged in for telephone interpreting, I may be contacted outside the system to check on my availability.

    Another particular challenge I deal with is that I defy the usual expectations about African interpreters. I speak English with an Australian accent, since it is my mother tongue. My Scottish and Irish names match my appearance - white skin and freckled with red hair. On the other hand, some of the professionals I meet are taken aback by my appearance and have to readjust their expectations and control or not their curiosity.

    Jean Burke is a senior social work lecturer at Australian Catholic University, and a Swahili paraprofessional translator and interpreter. She learnt Swahili as her second language when she and her family lived in the United Republic of Tanzania from On returning to Australia she has interpreted for many Congolese and Burundian refugees and others from East and Central Africa. As part of this, we have changed the way our sample test kits are provided.

    Each USB will be pre-loaded with the particular sample test or tests you request. This new convenient digital format has allowed us to dramatically reduce prices. We have also made some major updates to our application forms. A number of our most popular forms are now in an editable PDF format, meaning that you can fill them online.

    If your application does not require photos, you lodge your signed form and any supporting documentation via email. Another significant change is that as of 1 February , NAATI no longer requires application photos to be witnessed. Applicants will still need to provide us with two Australian passport sized photos as well as having any other supporting documentation certified.

    Click here to find out who can certify application documents. If you have any questions about these changes, get in touch with us. To learn more about our INT project, click here. Otherwise, keep up with our latest project news by signing up here. When I migrated to Australia from Italy, in , I already had 10 years of experience in translating and interpreting. Most of my experience had been acquired on the job in Italy, as it used to be in those days.

    Like many migrants, I relied on the information obtained from my relatives and from the Government institutions I dealt with on a daily basis. It was in fact my first visits to a hospital and to Centrelink that led to my being advised to continue my line of work in Australia. Professional associations can really help us to develop our support networks and develop our own professional knowledge and awareness of the issues concerning our profession.

    All this makes us more informed and more effective in managing our business and assisting the people who most need our help. If we, as professionals, are able to communicate with each other and learn from each other, we are also less likely to be taken advantage of by unethical clients and language service providers. This can mean that we can then reach out to our colleagues at all levels and in all nations, creating awareness of the importance of protecting ourselves from vicarious trauma and the risks associated with exposing ourselves to unnecessary emotional and physical stress-related illnesses.

    We need to look after ourselves above all others, or we lose our effectiveness in our professional capacity. This applies, of course, to all professionals. Unfortunately, particularly in Australia, many interpreters and translators do not see themselves as professionals partially because of how the industry itself came into being. In fact, the history of translating and interpreting in Australia is a fascinating subject of which many lack awareness.

    This lack of awareness also contributes to the frequent misconceptions about what it means to be a language professional in the Australian environment. It is important, not only for interpreters and translators, but for everyone to become more aware of what has led to the current state of the profession and to work towards the necessary improvements which will benefit Australian society as a whole. Raising awareness and facilitating professional development is what professional associations do best.

    Please consider joining us.