Sunday, September 30, 2012

#IntJC Notes and thoughts on Session 22

Here are a few quick notes on Session 22 I will not elaborate about but just want to keep record of. The link to the transcript is here: http://chirpstory.com/li/25290

- Something was strikingly different in session 22 compared with previous sessions: the staggering number of questions that were left unanswered. In real time TV interviews for instance, politicians use a standard tactics of digression by opposing a rephrasing of the question to deflate it, counterattacking the questioner by negating competence, the timing of it, the inadequacy due to circumstances and other tactics at "drowning the fish" as you say in French.

- One interesting side of chat communication I was not aware of, as a rare user of it, is that you can skip a question ... by simply skipping it.

- The Darwinian in your face argument that one must face technological change by adapting or dying is - even in its clarity and sense of urgency thrown as a diktat - the equivalent of digressing by shifting key issues that are matters of business and (therefore) exploitation models to mere technological features and techie blabla. The point is not facing technological changes by pointing at the fate of dinosaurs, especially when all in the assembly are using advanced technologies as a matter of fact to engage into exchanges and in daily affairs. No, the point is understanding who is in charge, and who is not, and who is taking charge of your fate.

- Related with the above, you may notice going through the script that one side is making intense usage of utterances of verbs like "must" and "have to" as in "we must". The side casually inviting to provide feedback doesn't make a single use of such verbal imperative.

- 50% premium of peanuts is more peanuts.

- Masters of words are not masters of rhetorics  because the rules or rhetorics have changed and are less word based maybe, and more informed by poses and postures.

- In the salty snack and fast food industry, it is said that you just throw into the new recipe more bacon and sugar to further dumb the tastebuds. In a different situation but with same tactical intention, you just throw in more interface screenshots.

- My take on the second article and the parallel drawn between the coming crowdsourcing of interpreting and Wikipedia is that it is simply intellectual fraud and yet another tactic at drowning the fish. The agenda is the same though.

- I was in Sendai on March 14th 2011 as a volunteer interpreter among others, actually too many others because the needs where marginal. That gathering of interpreters including an absolute majority of "enthusiasts" was in a sense crowdsourcing of interpreting in terms of recruitment devoid of special tech side for there was no need for that. Face to face was enough. We were copiously doused with radioactivity just faintly knowing it.

To end with this, a future session of #IntJC could cover something like "What they don't teach you but should in interpreting school". I am looking for pointers at possible support articles and documents. React here or over Twitter with hashtag #IntJC.

#IntJC Session 22 Transcript now online

You will find the transcript of session 22 on crowdsourcing interpreting here: http://chirpstory.com/li/25290

I invite you to spread the link around. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

#IntJC Session 22 Discussion Points (draft)

Session 22 of The Interpreting Journal Club is scheduled for Saturday 29 th, from 10 pm Tokyo time. Details are here.

Here are tentative discussion points. Your input and suggestions are welcome to make these better.

Q1. What were your first (gut), and second (brain) impressions viewing the video presentation?

Q2. Will crowdsourcing for interpreting mean precarity?

Q3. How do you think the NAJIT article inform the topic?

Q4. Why are interpreters seemingly absent from the debate, granted there is a debate?

Q5. What's your take on the future of it? What are conceivable actions from the interpreters' side?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Demands from above. What's wrong with #IntJC ?

This is unexpected. A few days ago, I was contacted by representants of John Benjamins Publishing through a warning mail contending that I had reproduced - read copy/pasted - most of the article used for Session 21, and demanding clarification on how access to Session 13 support article - theirs again - was granted. The message included two orders, that the "reproduced article" be removed, same for the article available via download, and a somewhat puzzling request to change accompanying text.

I deleted the link to the downloadable text but didn't move on the matter of Session 21 support article. The reason for the latest is simply that the article is partially visible over Google Books and what is still featured over #IntJC web site is the link to Google Books. As far as I know, both link and Google Books display of the article are public information. As for the accusation of "reproducing" the article, this is still wrapped in a mystery shroud as nothing was reproduced, and technically speaking, even if the will to slyly reproduce something from Google Books were part of my intentions, I would have crashed on the wall of technical incompetence. It seems you don't copy Googles Books content with a click.

As for access to Session 13 support article, this was granted and thus taken care of with fair intentions in mind. The authorities above answered back after a little mail chit chat that they would investigate at a later time the matter of Session 13.

Once you set aside the conspiracy theory, there are a few issues left half-cooked that need to be looked at squarely in the eyes.

Let's start with a long digression, as usual.

As I wrote somewhere else in the past, "Sorry is the hardest word" could not be a song happening in Japan just like Al Capone could only happen in Chicago. Here in Japan, apologising is part of the daily socialising grease. You chuckle early on at the joke that people here would apologise for the rainfall. Especially Westerners learning Japanese at some level bump into the difficulty of doning the cultural suit of mellowing tone and manners and saying "I am sorry", because culturally speaking, apologising in the modern times is harder than it used to be in the West, at least when you read 19th century literature that suggests that manlyness and gentlewomeness came with theatrical settings of saying I am sorry and looking for mending the bruises. Manners and sincerity are two different dimensions, but theatrics may be better delineated on this side of the planet than on your own. Not having been raised in the 19th century has made me too as ill at ease with apologising as the next door's lad. I suffered learning Japanese for such non-linguistic yet essential issue of "paraître dans la société", something that might translate with "management of self public visibility". So now you know why Elton Jones made a hit.

Now, back to the issue which is no matters of apologies. After all, my take on Google Books being public may be wrong. My assumption that a text was made available as a result of cleared authorisation may be missing the spot. I have sent two requests for receiving a pointer to where a "reproduction" of Session 21 article was located. These didn't generate any answer and may or may not stem from the fact that the other side has been wrong, as again, it may be the reverse.

But let's set aside the matter of gentlemanlyness in an exchange where demanding and looking under is easier performed from a side than from the other.

The point is this: although it would be nice to have at times collaborative rapports with such essential publisher like John Benjamin to feed the need for support articles and beef up the scarcity of free and valuable content online, #IntJC didn't start with a single speck in mind that it would be swell that way. I never thought about the possibility.

What is swell though is the dynamic, that of people in a profession that - although not unique in that sense - share a public secret of backslashing and hushed innuendo mongering at all levels and settings you can think about - that some of them would gather and in a repeated manner at that is a miracle, or just the reverse, a possibility proved by experience to be indeed feasible.

Therefore, it is that dynamic devoid of the above that is swell, that (to me at least) permanent jaw dropping with no healing in sight witnessing of top gun interpreters, together with learners and beginners joining at a fixed time to exchange knowledge, thoughts and wits, in a totally devoid of the above atmosphere. I would gladly simply sweep the floor of such meeting place just to eave drop at the discussion, only there is no dust in virtual thin air and everything is public.

Thus, I set this public too: putting aside any sources of contention, #IntJC doesn't need taps on the shoulder, doesn't need paternalistic nodding from the above nor frowning. It doesn't need you, although it would be nice and probably valuable on a reciprocal basis that some collaboration arises at times. The office is open so just inquire.

But horizontal collaborations of individuals have already shown that it works and may be going on for a few further sessions, or end all of a sudden, or else. It doesn't matter as proof of concept through the practice of it has already been proved 21 times, and a 22nd time is coming on Saturday next week. That is the only near future target that matters here. The rest is conjectures and a dash of mystery.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

#IntJC Announcement: Session 22 on Sept 29th

The next Session 22 of The Interpreting Journal Club will tackle matters of crowdsourcing and interpreting. Read the details here, spread the link and participate.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

#IntJC Session 21 Discussion Points (draft)

These are my suggested discussion points for the coming session on interpreters/agencies relations.

Please provide feedback to make these better.

Also, you are reminded that the session is especially focused on community interpreting. Based on some feedback, it seems that not everyone is clear with what community interpreting encompass. Yes, judiciary interpreting is part of community interpreting. In Australia at least, some references put business interpreting into the community interpreting bag. I am not against the concept although some may not agree (and it doesn't much matter I think).

Yes, medical interpreting, social, school, administration's interpreting is part of community interpreting. And if I am missing bits and parts, please forgive but best, help correct the trajectory.

Even if you are "only" into conference interpreting, your views are welcome.

For community interpreters who have been so far the least visible part over #IntJC - despite that by sheer number, you are the majority - this is your opportunity to come out of the wood and enlighten us.

Here the tentative discussion points. Refer to this page for the session details, spread the word, and by all means, join the conversation!


1. According to the author, interpreting agencies' service is often misunderstood by their clients, by interpreters, and not infrequently by agent employees themselves. What are your takes and experiences in these regards?

2. According to the author, professionalism may be uneven due to lack of standards, professional support, compulsory training, licensing and strong interpreters association. Where do you stand from these ideal factors. What element are you missing in your own professional environment?

3. Are the agencies you work with providing guidelines that help you understand the relationship you are supposed to have with them?

4. How would you define the agencies you work with: are they clients of yours, partners, authoritarian entities to abide to or else? What are the best models?

5. What are good interpreters/agencies relations from your point of view (agencies representatives are also invited to give their views).

6. What are the priorities that should be tackled with when trying and make relations between interpreters and agencies better?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

#IntJC Announcement: Session 21 on Sept 15th

Correction: I is Saturday 15th and not 16th. Sorry.

Read and spread the details on the coming Session 21 of The Interpreting Journal Club on September 15th. Topic will be Improving Agencies/Interpreters Relations, with a special focus on community interpreters. You can help in many ways. Click on the link up there.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First timer to #IntJC? Don't fret! Join!



So you have read some transcripts of #IntJC past sessions, you are involved with interpretation in a way or another, in settings that may or may not be related to conference interpreting, you are feeling uneasy to join next time, say hello and exchange?

Don't fret, because:

1. Although it may feel like it, #IntJC is not only for conference interpreters, practitioners or students. I myself am not related to conference interpreting and if many participants belong first to the world of conf terps, it is simply because the community interpreters, the public service interpreters, the medical interpreters, the judiciary interpreters, the liaison interpreters, the people who jumped into interpreting without training and swam through their own paths (I am one of them), all those people into interpreting that are often disconnected with any professional socializing dynamics (not a member of any terp association or discussion groups, maybe for the lack of such dynamic), who never discuss interpreting but just do it, are simply under represented. Despite this being indeed the current situation, you are welcome to join whatever your background is.

2. #IntJC are open sessions. You don't registrate, you don't call in advance, you aren't ask to show your credentials. Yet, you read a few transcripts and felt overwhelmed by the shower of distant hugs and greetings at the start and end of each session. You are feeling uneasy because it feels like entering the party room where everybody knows each other but you. Fact is that there are regulars and despite the distance, it creates connexions and reciprocal appreciation. But sessions are totally open. #IntJC's dynamic relies on participants views, experiences, questionings and knowledges  like yours. Don't fret. Come to next #IntJC session.