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Interpretation a Great Fit for Glendon


Two complementary events on the topic of community interpretation, and a third one on parliamentary interpretation, all of them held at Glendon, received a huge, enthusiastic response by students, professionals and members of Toronto’s multiethnic community. The capacity attendance at all three underlines the lively interest in this specialization and the significant need for training.

Right: Glendon translation professor María Constanza Guzmán

A public lecture on February 29th featured guest-speaker Dr. Claudia Angelelli of San Diego State University, with the title Minding the Gaps in Healthcare Interpreting: New Directions in Research, Practice and Standards. Organized by Glendon translation professor María Constanza Guzmán, the event was co-sponsored by the Glendon School of Translation, Glendon’s Centre for Research in Language Contact (CRLC), and by Multi-Languages Corporation.

Left: Visiting professor Claudia Angelelli, the keynote speaker and workshop presenter

Professor Angelelli is the author of numerous academic publications, including Medical Interpreting and Cross-cultural Communication, and Re-visiting the Role of the Interpreter: a Study of Conference, Court, and Medical Interpreters in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Angelelli outlined the skills and training required for this specialization and confirmed that the need for interpreters, nation-wide and in all fields, is currently not being met. The evening provided an opportunity to convey the professional realities to students and emphasized the great need for professional training in a field where most practitioners work without it.

Community participants in the Saturday interpretation workshop with organizer M-C Guzmán at lower right

Angelelli went on to lead a full-day Interpreting Workshop at Glendon the next day, March 1st, to a capacity group of participants comprised of students and others, many of whom are already working as community interpreters in a wide variety of fields. Hosted by Glendon professor María Constanza Guzmán and by Multi-Languages director Lola Bendana, the workshop as well as the lunch were provided free of charge by the sponsors to a group illustrating the diversity of the Toronto community. Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, Creole, Vietnamese, Urdu, Punjabi, Tamil, Hindi, Portuguese, Italian and French were some of the language groups represented at the workshop. Since general interpretation skills and approaches are applicable to any language, everyone benefited from the information they received.

Left: Parliamentary interpreters Bryce Graham and Claudette Branchard

The third event of this term at Glendon, on the topic of interpretation, was a public lecture on March 17th funded by the Glendon School of Translation and given in French and English by two parliamentary interpreters from Ottawa: Bryce Graham and Claudette Branchard. Under the title “Demystifying Interpretation: Training, Careers and Experience” (Démystifier l’interprétation : formation, carričre, expériences), the presentation and the ensuing discussion shed light on the increased interest and need for interpretation, as well as the role of modern technology in this field, which must create a change in relating courses and training content. Graham and Branchard conveyed their passion for their profession. They also provided invaluable information about careers in simultaneous and consecutive interpretation. “It is important to introduce these choices to students, who may be unaware of them when they plan for their future”, said Glendon professor Aurelia Klimkiewicz, the host of the March 17th lecture.

Right: The workshop was a truly hands-on experience enjoyed by all

The fact that several events relating to interpretation were held in quick succession at Glendon, to such public acclaim by an overflow participation, indicates the need and interest in the community. These conferences and the workshop opened up opportunities to bilingual and allophone individuals that were locally unavailable until now. “Language rights are essential for positive human interaction”, explained Guzmán, “and especially important in multicultural Toronto—one of the world’s global cities.” It is hoped that the success of these programs and the practical applications of Claudia Angelelli’s workshop will set in motion an annual event, and might even lead to incorporating interpretation into Glendon’s curriculum in the not too distant future.

Article by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny

Published on April 29, 2008