Interpreters are terrible at grabbing the spotlight. From the booth to the exam room, from the refugee agency, battlefield, and the court room, interpreters are trained to be as invisible and unobtrusive as possible.
Of course, we never really are. Just as feet perceive the bridge under the soles of their shoes when crossing from one side to another, so is the interpreter who bridges communication between those who don't speak the same language visible. We are not part of the multilingual conversation, but we are present for it. We facilitate it. Without us, it cannot take place.
The training to remain inobtrusive may serve us well while we are interpreting, but it can be counterproductive to the broader world being able to perceive the vital function we perform.
This week Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a moment every year when the country pauses to count its blessings and give thanks. Now more than ever, when the world is under threat, reeling from grief and an uncertain tomorrow, it's important to be grateful for all that works toward good in this world.
Here at InterpretAmerica, we pause to express our most heartfelt gratitude for the thousands of interpreters worldwide vital to human beings achieving connection, understanding and reconciliation. Whether it's our colleagues in France and Europe keeping the world up-to-date after the Paris attack, or local sign language interpreters volunteering at a camp for the deaf and hard of hearing, interpreters everywhere are a force for good.
This week's blog pulls a small smattering of headlines and photos from around the world from just the past month or so that highlight the kinds of contributions interpreters make every day.
We love our profession and love the talented, hard-working and dedicated interpreters we are lucky to call colleagues and friends. So, here's to you. The interpreter. Not so invisible, perhaps, as we thought. We raise our glass in thanks and deepest gratitude.
Deutsche WelleNovember 11, 2015
Family violence services call for urgent specialised training for interpreters
October 26, 2015