What is the easiest job in the world?
Truly? We may never know, but according to AIIC’s Claudia Cereghino, conference interpreting ranks the third most stressful profession in the world, following up air traffic controllers and fighter jet pilots.
For those who have the dubious pleasure of having lived under a rock; AIIC is the best friend for any conference interpreting practitioner; based in Geneva, the International Association of Conference Interpreters is the only worldwide association of professional conference interpreters, founded in 1953 with more than 3,000 members operating in over 100 countries today.
On the 19th, T-1 attended a conference organised by the AIIC VEGA Network in close collaboration with The Conference Interpreters Association of Turkey (TKTD). It was one conference with two different audiences: a session for students and newcomers to the profession in the morning and another session for the professionals and seasoned interpreting booth veterans later in the day.
Moderated by the VEGA Network Coordinator Claudia Cereghino, needless to say it was a blessing of a day for any participant.
What does AIIC do?
As Cereghino put it:
“We help ensure that clients see us as professionals who respect ethics, strive for quality and excellence in our work; we support interpreters by negotiating collective agreements, governing the remuneration and working conditions of all conference interpreters freelancing for international organisations (incl. UN, EU, NATO, Council of Europe, WCO, etc.).”Claudia Cereghino
But there is more. Among the myriad objectives are CPD research, standardisation of quality, enhancing visibility, encouraging all interpreters to be ethical and follow the best practices.
As for the VEGA Network, named after the brightest star in the Lyra constellation that many travelers as well as seafarers referred to in finding the right path to their destination, VEGA lives up to its name in guiding the newcomers to the profession. They produce starter packs and relevant materials, run workshops and outreach sessions in 16 regions and put an emphasis on professional ethics.
Professional Ethics and Responsibilities
Now, you will have noticed that professional ethics in the translation & interpreting industry is a subject we try to tackle with great attention (see our sketches here), so we were more than happy to hear from Cereghino about the ethical code of AIIC.
Members of AIIC are encouraged to value secrecy, only accept the assignments they are qualified for, and afford their colleagues moral assitance as well as collegiality.
“So, your colleague takes you with them for an assignment, and after the assignment is done, their client approaches you and congratulates you for your work; letting you know that they were more pleased with your performance, they ask for your business card. What do you do?”Claudia Cereghino
If your answer was to thank them and give them your card, unfortunately, Ms. Claudia Cereghino says, you have failed on the ethics department: “Your colleague has their client, yes; but as they brought you along, your colleague has become your client, and you must not return their kindness with betrayal.” So, what is the appropriate behaviour in this scenario? Simple. You thank them, and ask them to address your colleague on it so that they know.
More cases and anecdotes were presented by Cereghino, to which participants provided their own answers and discussed later in the session.
Cereghino put the ethical responsibilities of the interpreters under three categories:
The interpreter vis-a-vis themselves,
The interpreter vis-a-vis their colleagues,
The interpreter vis-a-vis their client,
Of course, as mentioned in the beginning, interpreting is no walk in the park, thus Cereghino addressed certain source materials that assist the interpreter.
First off, the renowned “effort model” of the interpreter by Daniel Gile displayed factors the interpreter had to deal with: Information on the subject (i.e. technical terminology), audio quality, temperature in the booth, volume, speed and density of speech, stress, the speaker’s accent, and the noisy environment.
A survival tool slide for the interpreter displayed booth etiquette, respect for colleagues, continuous education, proper dress code, general culture, adequate use of voice, self evaluation or peer evaluation and good command of working languages.
“Read everything you see.” Cereghino suggested. “Books at home, brochures in the subway, posters in the streets, everything you lay your eyes upon can broaden your knowledge base. Much like a journalist, the interpreter has to be curious forever; research and learn forever.”
Later in the evening some of the participants made their own presentations on various topics like the workload and stress management (Esra Özkaya), battling with tunnel vision and challanges and solutions of T.V. interpreting. (Özüm Arzık Erzurumlu)
All in all, as with the other participants, we were very much delighted to attend this informative and eye-opening event.
Many thanks to AIIC VEGA Network and TKTD. Soon, interviews with TKTD President Bahar Çotur and VEGA Coordinator Claudia Cereghino will be available on our website. Stay tuned!
Photos by: Kadriye Vural