Editorial: Travel, Technology and Professional Connections

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Editorial:  Travel, Technology and Professional Connections

George Major and Ineke Crezee, Co-Editors[1]
Auckland University of Technology
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Advances in technology allow us to connect, share, and collaborate with colleagues from around the world more than ever before. It has never been easier to keep abreast of discussions, debates and new ideas in the field via social media, and to work collaboratively online with colleagues in other countries and other time zones. However, all of us who have attended conferences nationally or internationally recognize the enormous benefits of interacting with (and being inspired by) colleagues face to face. An inspiring array of conferences relevant to interpreter education took place around the world in 2016. We would therefore like to begin this volume by reflecting on the value of conference attendance to strengthening our work as interpreter educators and researchers, as well as our connections to international colleagues.
Grace (2016) reminds us that the importance of such face-to-face professional networking can easily be overlooked, because its outcomes are not necessarily immediate or measurable. We sometimes only recognize the benefits when we look back and realize how much these opportunities to build professional networks have enhanced our research and our knowledge development. For example, an IJIE editor met fellow researcher Eva Ng at a linguistics conference in Cardiff many years ago; little did either realize at the time that the connection would lead to collaboration through co-authorship and, now, conference convening: The First International Conference on Legal and Healthcare Interpreting, Hong Kong, February 2017. Many readers will have similar experiences of professional collaboration opportunities (not to mention new friendships) developing out of conferences.
Earlier this year we were both privileged to be able to travel to the Critical Link (CL8) Conference at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, where we presented our research and connected with signed and spoken language interpreters from many different countries in the world. We enjoyed the high quality of new research and scholarly discussion and debate. It was also wonderful to see how signed language and spoken language interpreting researchers all connected together and learnt from each other. We found this collegial interconnectedness very inspiring.
It is important that we share the benefits of travel with those colleagues who are unable to attend national or international conferences in these times of budgetary and time constraints. As academics from New Zealand, we are often not in a position to travel a long way to attend the plethora of conferences on offer in the Northern hemisphere. Funding issues, travel costs, semester start and finish dates, and workloads may all make it difficult for us to travel as part of our professional development, and this is a predicament shared with many others. Other colleagues may never be able to travel due to financial and other constraints. However, there are other ways of remaining ‘linked in’.
Technology has brought us many other means of keeping connected. These include social media such as Twitter, and Facebook, which allow us to instantly share thoughts, opportunities, and announcements. Webinars for interpreters and educators (such as the Colloquium Lecture Series organized by Gallaudet University) allow for learning and teaching nationally and internationally. Conference reports, such as the one written by Doug Bowen-Bailey in this issue, ensure those who are unable to attend can still get a sense of the important discussions and debates that occurred. Different settings may sometimes lead to us seeing things through a particular lens. As Ralph Crawshaw (1984) wrote,

Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel’s immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way.

Crawshaw’s quote relates to medical doctors travelling and connecting with international colleagues, and we can easily draw parallels to our work in the interpreting field. International collaboration and communication quite literally broaden our horizons. Of course, IJIE itself is a very relevant example of an avenue to connect scholars and educators from around the world and we are feel privileged to be involved in continuing to build on the wonderful groundwork laid by Professor Jemina Napier and the IJIE Editorial Board.
Turning to our 8(2) volume, we are pleased to share contributions from both signed and spoken language interpreter education scholars from around the world, including the U.S., the U.K., Belgium, Mexico, and China. In our first Research Article of this volume, Leah Subak describes a qualitative study in which she examined deaf and hearing interpreters’ perspectives on Deaf-World cultural competence. This topic is of great relevance to particularly signed language interpreter educators, given that only a small minority of interpreting students are native signers (Williamson, 2016). This means that for the majority of students, who are not bilingual and bicultural, Deaf-World cultural competence has to be learned, as students navigate their place in the Deaf world. Subak explores what this means in detail, and suggests that this issue could have a more prominent place in interpreter education programs.
Our European colleagues Heidi Salaets and Laura Theys focus on the note-taking practices of spoken language interpreting students using the consecutive interpreting mode. They describe the relationship between students’ use of link words in note-taking and their interpreting performance, and make practical recommendations for educators teaching note-taking techniques. We are very pleased to be able include work by an emerging researcher like Laura Theys working with a more experienced scholar (Heidi Salaets), and we would like to once again take the opportunity to ask other scholars to encourage their postgraduate students to submit their work to IJIE.
This volume also includes a focus on the use of VoiceThread technology in interpreter education, by Stacey Webb and Suzanne Ehrlich. Many interpreter educators use Blackboard as a learning management system; they may now be using VoiceThread technology as a modality for posting interpreting practice, either in audiovisual or audio mode. In this article, Webb and Ehrlich share their own experiences with using VoiceThread, and they include some practical examples of its use for different types of tasks, as well as their reflections on its use for enhancing dynamic dialogue in the interpreting classroom.
In our second Commentary section article, Brett Best focuses on the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) accreditation for British Sign Language/English interpreters. Using two frameworks for adult learning, she provides a theoretical evaluation of the NVQ and sets out her recommendations for further development of this process. Her theoretical analysis is relevant to readers outside of the U.K. system also, as she explores the concept and implications of viewing interpreting as a practice profession (Dean & Pollard, 2005) as opposed to, or in addition to, a technical and skills-based profession.
In the Open Forum section, Marla Robles and Debra Russell introduce us to Sergio Peña, multicultural and multilingual interpreter and interpreter educator who grew up on the interface among U.S., Mexican and Deaf cultures. Sergio relates his life’s journey, the influences of his Mexican heritage, and how he became involved in the Deaf community. He speaks of cultural diversity and the many different cultural affiliations with which interpreters (as well as the general population) may identify.
The second Open Forum contribution focuses on the value of connecting with each other as interpreter educators and researchers, of sharing knowledge, and finding new inspiration for our teaching and researching. Thus, Doug Bowen-Bailey shares his reflections on the recent 2016 CIT conference in Lexington, Kentucky, in the U.S., enabling readers from around the world to share in topics discussed and inspiration drawn from this conference.
Yanqiang Wang, from the Department of Translation and Interpretation at Fudan University in China reviews the recently published Introduction to Healthcare for Chinese-Speaking Interpreters and Translators by Ineke Crezee and Eva Ng. He reflects on the usefulness of the book to practitioners and educators, and makes some suggestions for future editions.
Our Dissertation Abstract section provides an insight into new post-graduate research work on topics relevant to interpreter education from around the world. In her PhD thesis, Helen Slatyer (Macquarie University, Australia) discusses the reflective and collaborative action research design used to develop a language-neutral interpreting program catering to trainee interpreters from migrant and asylum seeker communities. The final curriculum reflected the views of all stakeholders, including teachers and trainees. For her doctoral study, Vicky Crawley (University of Leeds, England) used a conversation analysis framework to examine the extent and nature of interpreter participation in interactions where there were problems with seeing, hearing, producing or understanding. Yan Ding’s PhD thesis (University of Auckland, New Zealand) describes an experimental study that explored the effect of existing or acquired domain knowledge on student interpreters’ interpreting performance. Finally, for her master’s thesis, Qianya Cheng (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand) identified and analyzed the challenges of remote interpreting, as reported by telephone interpreters in a survey and in one-on-one interviews. Her interviewees also discussed some of the strategies they used to overcome such challenges.
We are very pleased with the high calibre of contributions received for 2016. As the end of the year approaches, we would like to remind our readers that we have a rolling call for manuscripts and we encourage those working in interpreter education to send in submissions for our 2017 volumes. We welcome submissions of research articles, practice-based reflections and discussion papers, book or curriculae reviews, interviews, and summaries of dissertations. IJIE’s Student Work section that may be of interest particularly to interpreter educators who are studying toward doctoral and master’s degrees, but who do not yet have a wealth of publishing experience—this section provides a chance to share student research alongside established scholars in the field.
International conferences and visits to other states or other countries enable us to see things through different eyes. In a time of funding constraints, conference and other travel may not always be possible, but we can make the most of other avenues to connect and share our work and ideas with each other. We strive to ensure that this journal is a forum for interpreters and interpreting educators nationally and internationally, and your contribution is welcome. As reminder of the value of our professional connections, we end this editorial with a second quote that embodies the international nature of our journal and the way it supports our interconnectedness with colleagues from around the globe:

“Le véritable voyage de découverte ne consiste pas à chercher de nouveaux paysages, mais à avoir de nouveaux yeux. ”

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust (1923)


Crawshaw, Ralph S. (1984). Doctors across the sea: A doctor-to-doctor international medical education exchange. Journal of the American Medical Association, 252(22), 3170–3171.
Dean, R. K., & Pollard, R. Q., Jr. (2005). Consumers and service effectiveness in interpreting work: A practice profession perspective. In M. Marschark, R. Peterson, & E. A. Winston (Eds.), Sign language interpreting and interpreter education: Directions for research and practice (pp. 259–282). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Grace, P. M. (2016). Learning the lessons of networking. Science, 352(6286), 738.
Proust, M. (1923). Remembrance of things past: The prisoner, Vol. V. Trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff (1929).
Williamson, A. (2016). Lost in the shuffle: Deaf-parented interpreters and their paths to interpreting careers. International Journal of Interpreter Education, 8(1), 4–22.
[1] Correspondence to: CITjournaleditor@gmail.com