LIL: Caring for Yourself; Dealing with Traumatic Material as an Interpreter


It is a fact of life that interpreting is not all fluffy clouds and rainbows – we will be put in difficult situations in our line of work. Court interpreters may deal with relatively benign cases like running a stop sign; or they may be assigned a murder. Likewise, medical interpreters may be assigned routine check-ups, or may have to explain to a patient that they have terminal cancer. These situations can be incredibly hard to deal with, but they are part of the job.

All that being said, there are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with this…

Finding the Parallels: A Weekend to Remember!

Last weekend, DE LA MORA Interpreter Training teamed up with various members of the interpreting community to host a summit with the theme of “Finding the Parallels.” We examined the crossroads where legal and medical interpreting intersect, and learned from doctors, interpreters, and law enforcement officers who all have experience in the field.

Giovanna Lester and Patricia Alonzo opened the weekend with presentations from the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) and the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) respectively.

They were followed by a panel discussion on finding the parallels between the interpreter codes of ethics in…

Lessons From the Field: It’s All Just Interpreting… Or is it?

By Athena Matilsky

When I enter a court-room, I suddenly transform into “Madame Interpreter.” I must admit, the first time a judge addressed me in such a fashion I felt a thrill. I still find it quite soothing to the ears; it’s one of the bonuses of working in court.

However, when I first started interpreting, the courthouse intimidated me. I found it easier to work in clinics and hospitals, where things didn’t feel so formal and rigid. I felt like I was helping to facilitate peoples’ well-being instead of their punishments.

In a medical setting, I’m definitely not “Madame…

LIL: Double Meanings in Interpretation

            One of the most important principles of the interpretation field is being able to produce a complete and accurate rendering of the source material. This is generally understood to mean that we shouldn’t add, omit, or alter anything in the original message. However, this mantra can be extended even further by adding that our renditions should be understood in exactly the same way as the original message. I think Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin said it best: “. . .[we] want to be sure / ‘cause you know…