Session 1 - Interpreting: A Profession and a Business

It is incredible that many great interpreters struggle to make ends meet. It is common to hear from a colleague who complains of having little work, of to see how an experienced interpreter works under deplorable working conditions, of for a miserable pay. A common trend to these interpreters is their lack of entrepreneurial knowledge, or for them to despise the business side of our profession. These colleagues working with such attitude and ideas are the perfect target for those unscrupulous agencies who prey on these interpreters’ weaknesses and convince them to work for an “industry”, abandoning being professionals. During this presentation, those in attendance will learn that interpreting is a profession and a business, that money is not a dirty word, and that professional services as complex and difficult as interpreting must be treated and compensated. The presenter will show how to get better clients, how to assess the cost and value of an interpreting assignment, and how to educate the clients so they understand what we do and its relevance to their own professional future.

Session 2 - Court Interpreting in the U.S.: Lessons learned. Mistakes avoided.

Court interpreting represents over sixty percent of all interpreting in the United States. Because of the country’s demographics and immigration history, court interpreting goes back to the birth of the nation, and has been formally regulated as a profession for fifty years. There are many court interpreter systems co-existing in the United States: the federal system, the federal administrative courts system, the systems of each state and territories, and the tribal systems from the Indian pueblos and reservations. The presentation will focus on the main characteristics of the American court interpreter systems, such as interpreter certification and licensing requirements, continuing education, codes of ethics, rare and unusual language interpreting, and the structure of the systems where staff interpreters, independent contractors, agencies, and NGOs sometimes work together, and sometimes get in each other’s way when attempting to deliver interpreting services. From his experience as an interpreter and attorney, and from the perspective of the interpreter as an officer of the court, the presenter will provide examples, statistics, and his view of the positive and negative aspects of the system, so those attending the presentation learn from the accomplishments, and avoid the mistakes.

Tony is an interpreter with a U.S. Department of State conference-level; a court interpreter certified by the U.S. government, and the States of Colorado and New Mexico. He is also certified by the Mexico City, Mexico Supreme Court. An attorney from Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City, he has worked internationally as a conference interpreter, and interpreted for dead penalty trials, Olympic Games, and TV broadcasts.

He has worked with many top level politicians, celebrities, athletes, and entrepreneurs, including presidents and popes. Tony was part of the advisory committee on the new court interpreter legislation in Mexico, currently serves as advisor to the Mexican Sign Language Court Interpreter program, and has been a rater for the U.S. Federal Court Interpreter Certification Exam.

The author of two books on court interpreting, he is a visiting professor at various universities in the U.S. and overseas, a well-known conference presenter, and the author of the popular blog “The Professional Interpreter.”