InterpretAmerica @ International Language Services Conference 2016




By Katharine Allen

Published October 14, 2016

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InterpretAmerica and MasterWord Services Collaborate for #ILSC2016

Follow the conference at #ILSC2016

Today (October 14) in Houston, something rare is happening in our profession: a regional interpreting conference deliberately designed to produce concrete progress for language access - in a single day.


The 5th Annual International Language Services Conference (#ILSC2016), created and run by MasterWord, is bringing together, plenary style:

  • Healthcare interpreters (sign language and spoken language)

  • Language service providers

  • End users  of language access services (patients and providers)

  • Procurement reps (from hospitals and healthcare institutions)

  • Government stakeholders

  • National interpreting leaders

  • Regional players

Follow the conference at #ILSC2016

Note that it is still lamentably uncommon for interpreting conferences to highlight end users of interpreting services (patients, providers, clients) as key speakers. Also note that most conferences do not have fully-integrated representation of sign language and spoken language speakers woven together thematically. This conference does both. It has also convened key national figures to help provide a big-picture perspective of key trends in the field.  


The day is designed to bring together about 100 regional stakeholders from all sides of the language access equation. Together, in one room, we will explore the current state of language access issues from the patient and provider perspective, the sign and oral language interpreter work reality, from issues facing those who hire interpreters, to concerns of those who help regulate policy and workplace conditions. 


MasterWord did its homework ahead of time, sending out a survey to identify the pressing issues challenging the field in Texas. The top three themes to emerge were:

  • Competency and Qualifications

  • Integrating Language Access into Healthcare

  • Fiscal Challenges

After presenting everyone with the current state of affairs through morning speakers, we will spend the afternoon working together to come up with next-step recommendations. 


This is where InterpretAmerica comes in. Today's #ILSC is echoing the work pioneered in early InterpretAmerica Summits through our Professional Identity Workgroups. We've run these groups through four Summits, and the wealth of information, insight and action they generate is amazing, given how relatively little time people have to work.


Some of you may remember the snapshot White Report that came out of the second InterpretAmerica Summit: Interpreting: Full Speed Ahead - Blazing a Trail Toward National Unity, authored by Marjory A. Bancroft.  You may be surprised at what has changed in 5 short years, what has stayed the same, and what was foreshadowed.


You can download a copy here.

At today's #ILSC, InterpretAmerica Co-President Katharine Allen will give a brief keynote and then help run a similar workgroup session in Houston. Masterword will be putting out a report of the results after the conference. We are privileged to participate and look forward to what emerges from the day's work. 


Regional conferences matter. The time and effort that small groups of people put into creating collaborative opportunities has quite literally built the healthcare interpreting field, bit by bit. At these events relationships are forged. Priority actions are identified. And even though it may seem like a fruitless Promethean lift, the energy and synergy a well-designed event creates can and does lead to real change and progress. 

Follow us on Twitter using #ILSC2016!

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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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