The Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT) held their conference in Salt Lake City from 31 October till 3 November 2018. It was a wonderful opportunity to give my plenary presentation on “A European panorama: Educating sign language interpreters for multilingual conferences“ and to meet educators, researchers and interpreters from across the USA and abroad.
In international conference settings interpreters typically work in a high-level multilingual environment. Such settings range from European projects with partners from multiple countries to international high level conferences organized by the EU institutions. They require a specific set of skills from the interpreters, skills that are not taught in the current sign language interpreter programs. As a result, interpreters find themselves often insufficiently prepared as they face a challenging linguistic and technical environment and often end up learning by doing.
Sign language interpreters can use the rich knowledge and extensive experience of spoken language interpreters to become skilled in conference interpreting. In turn, spoken language interpreters can learn from the expertise of sign language interpreters. Ultimately, master-level conference interpreting programs should aim to develop a curriculum that will bring out the best quality for conference interpreters, whether signed or spoken.