A Moment of Gratitude for Interpreters Worldwide


By Katharine Allen & Barry S. Olsen

Published November 25, 2015


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.


Interpreter helps traumatized refugee children

Deutsche WelleNovember 11, 2015


Veterans In Phoenix Help Afghan Interpreter Settle Into A New Life

Fronteras: The Changing America DeskNovember 24, 2015


Need For Interpreters Growing In Metro Melting Pot

WOWT News - NBC OmahaNov 20, 2015


Interpreter awarded for 24-year service

The New Zealand HeraldThursday Nov 19, 2015


Left to Right, Professor Bill Cooper signs to his student Valerye Ward during his American Sign Language class at Valencia College (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel)

Demand for sign-language interpreters soars

Orlando SentinelOctober 28, 2015


The Story That Made Our Interpreter Cry: #15Girls

WSHU Public Radio GroupOctober 25, 2015



Family violence services call for urgent specialised training for interpreters

Melbourne LeaderOctober 27, 2015 6:15pm




Sudan: Search Continues for Pilot and Interpreter Abducted in Darfur

All Africa

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