Four Issues Interpreters Are Talking About
In my review of social media and conversations I have had with interpreters in the U.S. and abroad, I find the following topics are being followed closely and I would like to submit them to your consideration for feedback
The Capita/Applied Language Solutions Situation in the UK
The latest developments are that, instigated by Margaret Hodge, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, the powerful National Audit Office (NAO) will be investigating the matter. A six week deadline for the investigation has been set which will come due at the end of July. The scope of same is significant.
On Wednesday, July 18, the Justice Select Committee of the House of Commons which scrutinizes the policy, administration, and spending of the Ministry of Justice also launched a call for written evidence to examine the service provided by Applied Language Solutions and the process by which it was selected. See an article in the Law Society Gazette dated 18 July 2012 for greater detail.
Furthermore, Gavin Wheeldon, the CEO of Applied Language Solutions, at a time of utmost upheaval during the implementation of the Interpreting Framework Agreement, has suddenly quit his position. Read the circumstances at The Manchester Evening News, Business Section.
What repercussions can this have on the rest of the industry?
The Need for Education/Standardization/Certification In the Interpreting Profession
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Translating and Interpreting sector in the U.S. is expected to grow 42% from 2010 to 2020, much faster than for all occupations, and job opportunities should be best for those who have a professional certificate.
The Glendon College at York University in Canada is one of two institutions in North America whose interpreting curriculums have been vetted by AIIC. I contacted them to see how their programs were doing. Andrew Clifford, the coordinator for the Master of Conference Interpreting tells me they are expecting the first cohort for interpreting in September and although they have experienced some volatility in the existing translation programs, the trend is mostly positive as students seek out second careers during the global economic crisis because the translation industry seems to be somewhat recession-proof.
Karen Borgenheimer, a certified interpreter who teaches at the Professional Translation and Interpreting Program at Florida International University (F.I.U.) confirms that their program has grown about 56% in the last 2 years. Most of their students are professionals who have either lost their jobs or are looking for an additional source of income given salary cuts and inflation.
F.I.U. also get many women who have left the job force to raise families and either can’t get back into their previous professions due to budget cuts or are looking for more flexible work schedules, with very few “college” age students. This is consistent with the findings of Common Sense Advisory’s 2010 Review of the Language Services Market, indicating that this profession is not typically embarked upon by high school or college students. It is of concern because 18.24% percent of interpreters are between the ages of 58-67, or retirement age. Only 5.29% is younger than 28[i], which is why it is very important that we reach out to high schools with programs designed to attract young people to the profession.
Michelle Hoff, a freelance conference interpreter at the European Court of Justice and an interpreter trainer at the University of La Laguna in Tenerife, Spain, reports that their interpreting programs are relatively stable, which may be a trade-off between those who have no money to attend during the economic downturn and those who want to take advantage of the hiatus to improve their skills.
It is interesting to note that ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards, has initiated the creation of a standard practice instead of a policy, to accredit an organization to give credentials to individual interpreters. Visit their website at http://www.astm.org/ and become involved.3.
Interconnectivity Through Social Media; Especially YouTube, Blogs, Twitter and FB
There has been a veritable explosion of valuable national/international connections created, far too lengthy to detail, in the last two years. Just browse for Interpreting and Translating in these forums and you will be amazed at the sheer number of colleagues participating, from which we can all learn.
Major Players Driving Change
In the U.S., in my estimation, the main forums seeking to lead positive changes in our profession are The American Translators Association, The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators, AIIC, InterpretAmerica, LLC, The International Federation of Translators, and Common Sense Advisory. If you want to make a difference, learn what these organizations do, avail yourself of their expertise and give input on how to shape our future. Only then can we be satisfied with outcomes.
What do you think? What would you add?
[i]. Kelly, Nataly, Stewart, Robert G., Hegde, Vijayalaxmi, (2010) A Study of Interpreting in North America Commissioned by InterpretAmerica, pp. 9, © 2010 Commonsense Advisory, Inc.
Posted on July 27, 2012, in consecutive interpreting, Economy, Interpreting, language training, Recession and tagged Conference Interpreting, interpreting, translation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.