Communication in the Age of the Acronym

Ask any successful business person what the key is to maintaining success and you’ll be told: Communication. We’ve heard this a thousand times, haven’t we? And of course we all know the basics of communication. But times are changing and we are living in a technological era. Most of our conversations are had over text, email, messenger, etc. We rarely pick up the phone and have long conversations anymore. Full words have been replaced with acronyms. Communication has gone from full thoughts to mere letters to imply thoughts.
Where does that leave us in the business world when trying to communicate successfully?
Most of the miscommunication in the workplace comes from the misinterpretation of meaning. In an email, we can only read words, statements, sentences. We are not able to read vocal inflection or intent of the sender. Likewise, when we send emails, we are sending words, sentences, statements. We are not able to send our intent or tone.
Here are some helpful tips to keeping communication open and maintaining happy business relationships. First, take a breath before reading emails. So often, we open mail in the midst of some busy moment and we are already multitasking and preoccupied. Taking a moment to breathe before each email clears our minds of the myriad of things we may feel before even looking at the first word. Second, take a moment before replying. Make sure any reaction you have to an email or message is a reaction based on fact, not based on what you think the email implies. Third, and most importantly, read your emails twice before hitting send. Make sure your intent is coming across as clearly as possible. Be sure that you clear up any language that may come across as harsh to someone who will not be hearing how you’re saying what you’re saying.
Communication is a critical element in business and in life. When all else fails, go back to the cardinal rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. This week, take a look through some of your email exchanges to see where you could have changed wording or taken something a different way. How can you improve communication in the future? Training yourself to be the most successful professional you can be never stops. Please share your thoughts with us on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages!

Where Does the Time Go?

That’s a question we ask ourselves daily. Do you wake up each day with a feeling of being able to accomplish the difficult tasks set in place for you? We certainly all hope to start our days that way. But how often do we find ourselves getting ready for bed at night and wondering, “Where did my day go?” Time management is one of the most evasive practices in any industry. The desire to achieve all that is in store for us and the reality of what can be done, don’t always merge into one. So what can you do to more effectively manage your time and make the most of each day? So many lists of how to properly manage your time are in print, on the internet and flooding social media. We’re even giving you links to some of them in this article! No single technique works for everyone. At Interpreter Education Online, we like to practice The Three A’s: Assess, Adjust, Accept.

Assess your day before you start. Make mental notes of the tasks at hand, the resources with which you have to accomplish each task, and the reality of your abilities within the limitations. Assessing your daily schedule gives you the opportunity to step back and see the big picture before over committing and setting unobtainable goals.

Change is natural. Adjusting to change is where we often find ourselves in a tough situation. You have to be prepared for changes, and be willing to adjust to them. Adjusting does not mean being unfaithful to your goal, it just means taking control of each situation and allowing reality and the ideal to merge. When our plans change, or something isn’t going as we expected it to, is when we tend to lose the most time. Prioritize the key elements of any task and trim the edges to allow for change.

Acceptance is the underlining key to time management. When we accept that things will rarely ever go according to plan, that our abilities are not always given enough room or breath, and that each new day brings new opportunities to learn and grow, we make room for peace of mind. At the end of the day, time management means not only achieving more, but also peace of mind and the freedom to enjoy the little things in life. Are you practicing these three techniques? Start implementing The Three A’s today, to save yourself time and energy and to give yourself more time to accomplish your training goals!

The Bottom Line – Hiring Interpreters

The demand for Interpreters in the medical and legal fields is on a massive rise. It is predicted that in some areas of the US, we will see a nearly 50% increase in the need for interpreters. As the need for interpreters grows, so does the education, awareness, and qualification process. Colleges are offering interpretation as a major; interpreter training seminars are available online and locally in many places; and technology is enhancing every day to ensure the language needs of this century are met.

So with this increase, what is the bottom line for hiring interpreters? While in the vast majority of states the medical and legal fields do not currently require certification for hiring, it seems that they might in the near future. Miscommunication in a legal or medical encounter can lead to lives lost, people wrongly imprisoned, and unlawful deportation. With such critical circumstances, each organization needs to take the utmost care in hiring the best interpreters they can; hence the growing demand for certification.

Certification is the best way to ensure the quality of interpreters any organization hires is tested rigorously and approved. So why are so many interpreters and companies hesitant to go after the certification? Lack of requirement is one reason that holds people back from making the commitment. Cost, length of training, and fear of not achieving, are other reasons. These are the same reasons many people do not go into the rewarding careers that could change the world; astronauts, doctors, scientists. At the end of the day, the time, money, and energy spent to achieve a worthy goal are merely necessary steps on the ladder of success.

If you’re an interpreter or an organization that works with interpreters, start getting ready for the certification exams now! There is no time like the present. It will only help ensure better and safer communication in the future. Not sure where to start? Let Interpreter Education Online help you with Interpreter Assessment Testing, Language Proficiency Testing, Prep Courses for certification exams and more. Visit our website, and please share your thoughts with us on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages!

The Debate Over Understanding

Lately there has been a lot of debate over translating Shakespeare’s work from his style of English to contemporary English. The contention is that Shakespeare doesn’t need interpreting. Isn’t the first canon of any interpreter to accurately render the message from one language to another without adding omitting or changing any of the content of the message? Which begs the question: What exactly is interpreting? What remains true for all interpreters is that when speaking for another person, we speak in first person. We essentially experience what the person for whom we are interpreting is describing. In a way, it makes the two worlds, acting and interpreting, very similar. An actor interprets, in first person, the words of a character, created by a playwright, but the actor adds his or her own bit of personal story to it. And don’t we do that as interpreters? Of course we remain professional and we maintain ethical boundaries, but a part of us feels the story we are telling.
So what is the debate really about? And how does it relate to what we do? It comes down to a matter of universal versus personal circumstances. In each industry, actors and interpreters are called upon to properly portray the meaning, purpose and intent of the person or character. Acting will never mean the difference between life and death, but all the same, one word changes the context of an entire paragraph. One word changes the context of an entire line of thought and can mean the difference between sick/healthy, or imprisoned/free!
So looking forward, will you be interpreting for an expert witness? What if you’re in the emergency room interpreting? Political negotiations? End of life discussions? Have you considered all complications you may encounter? How can we, as interpreters, ensure that we are telling the proper story? It starts with education, and continuing that education as the times change. What can you do this weekend to ensure you are accurately bringing understanding, skills and training to everything you do? Let us know what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and how others can do it too! Post your comments on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages!

What Does Accreditation Mean to You?

What does accreditation mean to an interpreter education program? Interpreters must spend a lot of time, energy, and money in order to become certified. Certification allows for more job opportunities and life experience. If certification can be such a game changer for interpreters, shouldn’t educational systems strive for the same goal? In our opinion, being accredited by Certification organizations means something great. It means we can ensure that our services are indeed helping interpreters gain and retain their certification. Being able to provide Interpreters with accredited training allows the educational organization to offer more than just training. It means we can offer a few small things that every working person needs: peace of mind, confidence, and the feeling of accomplishment.
Did you know that out of all the training organizations for interpreters, only four are accredited by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters? Interpreter Education Online is thrilled to be one of those organizations.
In this era, people of all cultures and languages reside in the same places. At some point or another, everyone needs medical attention. Ensuring that we do our part to help bridge the gap between language barriers in healthcare settings is one of the main reasons we became accredited and strive to always be. This article is not about boasting, it is an encouragement to every training organization to do the tough work that gets the accreditation. Because, like the professionals who utilize our services, we also enjoy: peace of mind, confidence, and the feeling of accomplishment. Don’t you?

This weekend and coming week, try to find some unique ways to improve your business or skills. And let us know what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and how others can do it too! Post your comments on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages!

Instant Celebrity

In the past week, the Pope’s visit to the U.S. and other areas has of course made headlines. As popular as he may be, however, the apparent star of the show is the Pope’s charismatic interpreter, Monsignor Mark Miles. Twitter and other social media is a buzz with comments about Monsignor Miles, and for good reason. In an age where LOL and IDK are common forms of speaking, the attention to the beauty of language is a welcome addition to the headlines.

As the interpreter for the Pope’s star continues to go strong, other recent or fairly recent interpreters who have gained a social media following are being rejuvenated. Take former Mayor of New York’s passionate Lydia Callis, for instance. Hers is still a household name for her on point interpreting during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Lately, her articles and updates have resurfaced. She is using her abilities and contacts to the advantage of the hearing impaired community, and bringing awareness to the interpreting community.

And what about Jonathan Lamberton, the certified interpreter who garnered all the attention during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press conference about a possible Ebola outbreak? His interpreting sent the twitter feeds flying, when people had a difficult time grasping why the ASL interpreter was signing with someone in the audience. Jonathan has been using his celebrity to bring awareness to the field as well.

So what does this mean? Our technology age brings about the need for celebrity in all forms. Fifteen seconds of fame lasts a lot longer than its name suggests. Will this fad continue? And will the outcome be more international focus on the interpreting community? We want to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts on the rise of celebrity in the interpreting community and what that means for the future of language and interpreters! Post your comments on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages!

Interpreters Take the Stage

As long as there has been language, there has been theatre. Ancient rituals were the first to introduce the idea of theatre as interpretation, when they acted scenarios out in order to communicate stories of folklore. The practice followed through Ancient Greece and early Christianity. Works from these eras still exist today, and there has been a longstanding need for interpreters to keep these classic works in current languages.

The need and demand for ASL interpreters in theatre is constantly changing as art and culture advance. Works from the past will always need new translations, but what about the work of today? Simultaneous interpretation can be found at most live theatre events, but no longer just to the side of the stage. Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles has been redefining interpretation in theatre for years. Well known for their Tony nominated revival of Big River, the company also revived Spring Awakening last year. Director Michael Arden said of the production, “I’d like people to have a bit more knowledge about deaf culture and ASL as a language. Specifically, how art and theatre can break barriers. Working with both deaf and hearing people makes the show in a sense, bilingual. It forces us to come together.”

Deaf West’s productions feature interpreters and actors working side by side together onstage, singing, dancing, acting and signing. As we continue to move forward as a culture, language remains a currently changing industry. Just think, the first deaf school in the US was established in 1817 and now ASL is the 4th most spoken language in the country! With all the industry-to-industry crossover, the options for interpreters and potential interpreters are truly endless.

Like what you read? Have something to contribute? Post your comments on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages!

The Impact of Interpreters & Translators on the World

At Interpreter Education Online, students are taught that when facilitating communication between speakers of different languages, the primary task of the interpreter is to remain a neutral party and repeat only what is said, without omitting or adding information. Likewise, a translator’s duty is to impartially convey meaning from one language into another. While it might seem that interpreters and translators lack influence, history has shown otherwise. Here are a few examples that illustrate how interpreters and translators have made an impact on a global and historic scale.

The Renaissance – Spanning from the 14th to the 17th century, this cultural and intellectual movement transformed the Western world. Starting in Italy, and then spreading to the rest of Europe, an influx of new artistic, social, philosophical, and scientific thought helped bring Western Civilization out of the Dark Ages. However, this flourishing of ideas would not have been possible without the translation of Greek and Latin texts and interpreting them for speakers of other languages.

 
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The European Discovery of the New World – In 1492, Christopher Columbus’s landing in the Bahamas changed the world forever. It helped establish trade routes between North America and Europe and ushered in a new age of voyage and discovery. Columbus brought Luis De Torres, an interpreter, with him during his first voyage. Unfortunately, De Torres’s proficiency in Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Portuguese, and Spanish was of little use in communicating with the natives. As a result, at the end of his first voyage, Columbus brought back native Indians with him to Spain, where they were taught Spanish so they could be used as interpreters in subsequent trips. Thus, if it were not for these interpreters, Columbus’s voyage to the New World would have been fruitless.

 
New World
 

The Nuremberg Trials – From 1945 to 1946, an International Military Tribunal was conducted in the German city of Nuremberg to try leading Nazi war criminals. The trials were crucial because they established the precedent that individual leaders and administrators, not only countries, could be held accountable by the international community for actions that violated universal standards of conduct. Furthermore, the trials helped lay the foundation of the legal principals and procedures that serve as the basis for the modern international law. This event also marked the first time that simultaneous interpreting was used on the world stage. Thanks to the work of interpreters who overcame tremendous linguistic hurdles and technical obstacles, the international community was able to bring justice to the millions of victims of World War II.

 
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The Growth of the Internet – With information being available at the speed of light from virtually anywhere on the planet, the Internet has brought the world together like no other technological advancement before it. Nevertheless, this unification of humanity never would have occurred had the language barrier not been crossed. Until roughly the late 1990’s, the vast majority of content on the Web was in English. Now, web pages are available in hundreds of languages and Chinese will soon replace English as the most used language on the Internet. The spread and popularity of the internet is due to the diversity and number of languages that it is now available in. Through crowdsourcing, web localization, and the development of translation software, translators have helped the Internet become what it is today.

 
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Do you know of any other examples of interpreters and translators impacting the world? Share your comments with us on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages!

Myths About Interpreting

As interpreters, you’re probably familiar with the following myths, however, some may catch you by surprise. If you have a myth about interpreting you’d like to add to this list, share it on our Facebook page!

 

1.) “Any bilingual speaker can be an interpreter.”

This is the most common misconception that non-interpreters have. Sure, you might know how to ask, “Where is the bathroom?”, but are you familiar with complex legal and medical terminology in that language as well? Does simply speaking another language make you aware of different interpreter codes of ethics and how to react in certain scenarios?

 

2.) “Being an interpreter is easy.”

Guess again. Can you simultaneously interpret a U.N. Speech at 150 words per minute without any errors? Would you be able to keep your emotions in check when interpreting for a family whose young child has just died? Do you think you’d be able to pass a court or medical interpreter certification exam with ease?

 

3.) “Interpreters don’t require much training.”

Not true. Every profession requires training, and interpreting is no different. Nobody is born equipped with a list of court interpreter or medical interpreter ethics. Likewise, most people don’t have the mental juggling ability or note-taking skills that interpreters need. These are techniques that must be learned and perfected throughout an interpreter’s career.

 

4.) “Interpreters are not affected by what they interpret.”

Known as vicarious trauma, interpreters can actually change over time as a result of witnessing the suffering and pain of others. If interpreters aren’t careful, they can experience an emotional breakdown.

 

5.) “Interpreting can’t be made into a real career.”

False. According to the Department of Labor, interpreting is one of the fastest growing fields and will remain so for many years to come. Training and certification, along with standardization of the profession, will help interpreters working in many languages to find stable, full-time opportunities as freelancers or employees in healthcare, law, business and other fields.