Interpreters Tell the Story

Over the past few posts on the Diaries, I have been telling readers about some of the blogs I enjoy reading. In today’s post, I will add one last blog to that list. This one is of particular significance to me, and I’ll tell you why in a moment.

The AIIC Blog was launched last spring as part of the revamp of the main website of AIIC, the International Association of Conference Interpreters, of which I am a proud member. The blog’s tagline, “Interpreters tell the story,” promises an inside look at a broad range of topics related to the life of a conference interpreter, and that is precisely what it delivers. Recent posts have included a discussion on how government cutbacks might affect language policy, reflections on how techniques for glossary management have changed over the years, an entertaining rant about poor lighting conditions in booths, and even some ideas on the possible link between interpreting and jazz.

The blog is a collaborative effort, publishing regular articles from a number of veteran interpreter-bloggers, including Luigi Luccarelli, Phil Smith and Mary Fons, as well as guest posts and the occasional contribution by our President, Linda Fitchett. The more eagle-eyed among my readers may have noticed a familiar byline among all these names. For the past few months, I have been making regular contributions to its pages, telling stories from my own life as an interpreter. So far, I’ve talked about how a chance encounter in Brussels airport got me thinking about my own (mildly neurotic) relationship with the languages I speak, and I shared with readers what I did over the summer – or didn’t do, actually. And I have plenty more ideas brewing for future posts, so please stay tuned!

Here’s the quick way to find out what they’re talking about over at the AIIC Blog

If you would like to keep up with what is published on the AIIC Blog, all you have to do is add it to your RSS feed. By the way, while I’m on the topic of RSS feeds, I can’t pass up this opportunity to tell you about an interesting feature of the new AIIC website. Not only can you add the blog to your RSS feed, you can sign up for RSS updates on any number of interpreting-related topics. Whenever an article is posted anywhere on the website (not just the blog) that is related to the RSS feed you’ve chosen, you will get news of it in your feed. You can choose to receive news on more than a dozen topics, including freelancing for international organizations, getting started in the profession, training and research, conference equipment and standards, and others (consult the full list here). Cool, isn’t it?

Another nifty feature of the new website is its page of site sections, which offers a tidy little selection of past AIIC articles, all organized by topic. Visitors can navigate between about 30 different compilations. Here you’ll find articles on interpreting in conflict zones, memoirs talking about the history of the interpreting profession, overviews of global conference markets, tips for voice management, research findings and guidelines on remote interpreting, and much more.

Happy reading! I’ll be back soon with something other than a blog review…

The Rapidly Expanding Blogosphere

There’s a debate currently raging among physicists as to whether space might be digital. You will be pleased to hear that this doesn’t mean that they’re worried that Google is going to continue expanding until it swallows up the Milky Way (to find out what it does mean, read this article by Scientific American).

My own personal blogosphere, in any case, has been growing by leaps and bounds lately. Chalk it up to the observer effect, or maybe to the fact that I have had plenty of time on my hands this summer to explore what fellow bloggers are producing. One way or another, I’d like to share with you today some of the blogs that I’ve come across in recent weeks.

First on the list is Unprofessional Translation, a blog that I’ve had on the edge of my radar for some time now but which I had never found the time to read. I only just recently realized that the author is none other than Brian Harris, the man behind the Natural Translation hypothesis. You may or may not agree with Harris’ theories, but his blog certainly does make for compelling reading.

Then there’s Sideways Station, a thoroughly entertaining blog written by fellow AIIC interpreter Phillip Hill. It’s not about interpreting, but it does make a great read. (If you want to read posts by the same author about languages and interpreting, click this link).

I should point out that Phillip Hill is not to be confused with Phil Smith, another AIIC interpreter who also writes entertaining pieces on the profession, although he doesn’t have a blog of his own. This link will take you to a compilation of his posts that I put together last summer.

Next up is Translation and Interpretation in America, a blog on legal translation and interpreting written by Gladys Matthews, a US-based court interpreter and trainer. I had the opportunity to work with Gladys on a project recently (more on that in a future post) and I found her views on training very insightful. The blog is sure to be a useful resource to anyone involved in the field.

I met Julie McDonough Dolmaya, the author of a blog on translation research and teaching, through the same project. I found her views on virtual learning particularly interesting.

You won’t believe it, but there is yet another blog by a T&I trainer that you need to add to your reading list. Nekje vmes, a blog by Jana Forte (aka @tolmacka on Twitter) of the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, is by no means new to my blogosphere, but I’m adding it to this list because I had the great fortune to meet the author in person during a Training of Trainers seminar run by DG SCIC in Brussels in July. Most of Jana’s posts are in Slovene, but she writes the odd post in English as well, and these are always worth a read.

So there you have it: the most recent additions to my blogging universe. For past lists of my favourite blogs, you can click here for interpreting-related blogs, click here for blogs on other topics, or just check out the favorite blogs category in the right-hand column.

And now I am going to leave you with the tune that has been going through my head for the past hour as I’ve been writing this post:

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that’s the fastest speed there is.

So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space,
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.

– Eric Idle