Dear Friends and Colleagues,
We will soon meet again and catch up on all of the exciting new initiatives and projects we have been involved in since we were last together in Toronto. CLI conferences are the foremost, globally relevant, community/public service interpreting events. All of us coming together to share ideas, learn and shape the future. Very exciting!
In 1992 Critical Link began with a mandate that it still holds dearly today, to promote and advance the field and profession of community interpreting. Over the years, that commitment has worn different hats; at times focusing on research and study to better understand what the role is, at other times, informing and educating service users to work better with interpreters; and yet at other moments focusing on policy development.
As these efforts continue, Critical Link is also taking on a new challenge, to refocus the attention back on the very vital core of our community, the practitioner, without whom community interpreting would not exist. The role of the community interpreter greatly evolved since the early beginnings, and it continues to do so. But it is at this juncture in the evolution, in the light of recent studies on working conditions and the development of global standards, that a central question remains; has the position of the community interpreter advanced at all from perspective of the practitioner?
As the profession advances in infantry square formation, are we losing foot soldiers along the way? Our successes have been many – the advancement of curricula, technological platforms, policies, standards and certifications – and yet community interpreters continue to be badly remunerated, work under demanding conditions and are fragmented as freelancers without a unified body. At a global level, we hear stories of outsourcing, deteriorating working conditions and reversion to voluntary services. As a profession, we must turn a unified gaze onto this reality. This is the focus that CLI wishes to advance.
It is my hope that this discussion will continue among those of us who are champions of this profession, and who are passionate and engaged. To that end, I would like to invite you all to the panel on Working Conditions and Public Service Interpreters – The State of the Field from the Perspective of the Interpreter on Day One of CLI8. Four panelists will provide an overview of a regional picture and Paola Gentile will begin the panel with an overview of her recent global survey. It is my hope that we stimulate a dialogue that will take us well past July 1 and into a new future for community interpreters.
Looking forward to seeing you all in Edinburgh, Scotland in a few weeks
Critical Link International