A Timely Gift

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I was one of those lucky professionals who attended Interpreter Education Online’s inaugural online conference. And I can tell you that the value delivered was above the price tag – which is what I have learned to expect from IEO’s Team. Plus, I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with some dear colleagues who I had not heard from in a long time.

The focus of the event was our current reality, meaning the adaptations we have had to make in order to continue meeting our clients’ expectations, how to manage our work-life balance when both take place in the same environment, how to handle the legal aspects of this new relationship with clients (especially important for interpreters used to in-person assignments), dealing with all the extra learning in order to remain relevant… Just the right mix of knowledge to give us a heads-up and encouragement.

The balance of subjects and tone also deserves to be highlighted. Presentations ranged from Bruce Adelson’s very corporate and technical to Eliana Lobo’s light-hearted and nugget-full to Caitilin Walsh’s humorous study on our current situation. There was—definitely—something for everyone.

We are all aware, at some level, that the disruption caused by COVID-19 does not care for the type of business you are in, it knows no geographic borders: we are all affected by it. Konstantin Dranch, Chris Carter and Dr. Bill Rivers gave us a glimpse of the issues the language industry and our professions – translation and interpreting – have to deal with.

Eliana Lobo’s very informative presentation focused on tools and tips for remote interpreting – an issue dear to my heart. In the time allotted, she was able to help you set up your remote working environment, prepare a list for self-assessment, find out where to go to improve your services and add value to your performance.

The plight of immigrants, especially those who speak indigenous languages, LGBTQ community members, deaf individuals and other underserved communities were also addressed. Howard Rosenblum Esq., Florencia Aguilar, Victor Sosa and Billy Pierre did a great job bringing those subjects to our attention. We now have an opportunity to affect change in a sphere broader than our comfort zones.

Interpreter safety and language proficiency standards were perfect segues for the previous session. Knowing what to deliver is steps away from doing it accurately and safely. The panel led by Bruce Adelson and composed by Carla Fogaren and Ernest Niño-Murcia discussed language access and the legal side of our jobs, while Natalya Mytareva focused on language proficiency standards.

Rafa Lombardino and Florencia Aguilar teamed up to talk about expanding our services and the need for learning and implementing new tools and skills in our professional routine. Elena O’Halloran expanded on the same subject (kind of) by discussing how and when machine translation becomes an ally.

Caitilin Walsh’s presentation delivered exactly what we all needed to end a full day of learning: useful humor, self-reflection, and acceptance that indulging oneself is sometimes necessary.

All the presentations added value to our knowledge base, and the speakers’ ability to communicate clearly made it easier for attendees to stay put, waiting for the next gem to be delivered.

I can hardly wait for the next IEO conference.

Giovanna (Gio) Lester

Giovanna (Gio) Lester

Giovanna (Gio) Lester is a conference interpreter, speaker, translator, writer with 40 years of experience. Gio is a member of a number of professional organizations, in which she holds various volunteer positions: General Secretary, Mentor and President Elect (2020-2022) at Abrates (Brazilian Association of Translators and Interpreters), Spokesperson for the American Translators Association (ATA), Co-founder and former President (two terms) of the ATA Florida Chapter (ATIF), at NAJIT, she served as the Social Media Committee Co-chair and Editor/Curator of its blog, The NAJIT Observer (2016-2020). Gio was an Adjunct Professor at Florida International University (1986-87 and 2001-2003), and she is the immediate past Chair of the Miami-Dade College Translation and Interpretation Advisory Committee. Sharing her knowledge and professional experiences is a passion that keeps her growing.

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