Down the Rabbit Hole


By Katharine Allen & Barry S. Olsen

Published: 11 June 2013


Every time we take the next leap, consider the next step, or launch the next project, we tell ourselves, “now we are well and truly down the rabbit hole.”


InterpretAmerica can be described in many ways. We like to “think outside the box,” “push the envelope” and “be the first to occupy a space,” as the new lingo goes.

But nothing describes better what we actually do, and I suspect, secretly enjoy the most, as the phrase “down the rabbit hole.”


Cited at the very beginning of Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice and Wonderland, the saying “down the rabbit hole” describes Alice, startled by the sight of a rabbit with a waistcoat-pocket and watch, and then running “across the field after it, and fortunately…just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge. In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.”

To say that Barry and I, when we launched InterpretAmerica on a well-conceived whim, with many prayers and without a cent of initial backing never once considered how we would get out again is not entirely accurate. We were not planning our exit strategy so much as embracing the unknown doors and corridors we would certainly travel before exiting into new landscapes and experiences.


Every time we take the next leap, consider the next step, or launch the next project, we tell ourselves, “now we are well and truly down the rabbit hole.” It has become our mantra, our symbol for being willing to stay curious, to follow adventure, to explore where our efforts take us even if we cannot predict our road ahead of time.


Without a doubt, sometimes we misstep and find ourselves overly huge in tiny spaces or teeny tiny in vast arenas we’ve never navigated before. Negotiating with one of New York City’s top talent companies to secure Jack Jason as a keynote speaker for last year’s Summit or signing on the dotted line to commission the first-ever marketplace study of the US interpreting profession with no idea of how we would fund it are just two of many moments when we’ve taken risks to follow our vision.


But gradually we find our way through, and every new step brings us back to ourselves, our goals, our overriding desire to help raise the profile of our chosen profession, and, most importantly, to enjoy ourselves along the way!


The launch of InterpretAmerica.com and our new blogging and news structure is just another leap into the unknown and down the dark, swirling rabbit hole so vividly described by Lewis Carroll.


But it is no different than what each of you also do every day to navigate the topsy-turvy waters of our changing, transforming, growing, evolving profession.

Come to this blog space and together we will explore these changes with humor, personal stories, and hopefully, helpful information and insight for how to tackle the transforming social and technological landscape we now maneuver through on a daily basis.


Falling down this latest rabbit hole at times feels overwhelming and daunting, but it offers more ways to create and raise the profile of interpreting than ever before.

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InterpretAmerica, LLC was established in 2009 to provide a national and international forum for the interpreting profession.

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