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What do you see as threats in your domain of practice? Is AIIC taking a stance towards these threats?

asked 16 Jan '12, 11:52

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  • Young interpreters: A growing number of members will reach retirement age without a corresponding potential for replenishment. Conclusion: AIIC needs to find ways to attract young members.

  • Working conditions: booths that do not respect ISO standards (safety risks), whispering instead of simultaneous interpreting in a booth, remote interpreting under bad technical conditions

  • Users underestimate our added value: According to our ethics, we have learnt to be "invisible" and discrete. This is one of the reasons our users tend to forget that we've been there.

  • Cooperation with large organisers, agencies, PCO: Interpreters usually haven't learnt to "sell" their services. We need to learn (training on commercial behaviour, negotiating techniques, legal structures for companies) and ask for professional help.

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answered 19 Jan '12, 18:22

Angela's gravatar image


+1 for pointing out threats we can do something about (as opposed to bogeymen speaking global English). Wish I could upvote more than once.

(19 Jan '12, 18:27) Vincent Buck

+1 For being realistic and down to earth!

(20 Jan '12, 08:24) Marta Piera ...
  1. The immediate threat I see in our region (Africa) is the lack of high standard training schools to ensure a decent "relève"
  2. Our regional organisations (Africa region) have plenty of non trained interpreters at hand that they can use, so they don't see why they should discuss/negociate/enter into agreements with Aiic for better working conditions..(this issue is closely related to point 1).
  3. Lack of solidarity among colleagues when there is an attempt to fight for our rights
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answered 21 Jan '12, 17:40

Elisabeth%20K's gravatar image

Elisabeth K

As explained elsewhere, I also see the increased use of webcasting as a threat for female interpreters, as speakers are mostly men. When a conference is webcast, organizers tend to request gender casting, as they confuse interpreting with dubbing. This will inevitably translate into fewer job opportunities for female interpreters who, however, make up most of the profession.

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answered 08 Apr '12, 16:37

Danielle's gravatar image


What I see as a temporary threat is that scientific event organizers are resorting increasingly to all-English conferences, that is, no interpretation is used to cut down on costs. I say it is temporary because I have always had the feeling that in such a setting communication is very limited and those that do not have an excellent command of English will simply opt-out.

I do not see technology as a threat to interpreters. There are so many things that go on in the process of communication that machines simply cannot grasp; and this will be the case for many years to come.

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answered 16 Jan '12, 12:11

Vero's gravatar image



As a further note, many languages are lagging severely when it comes to developing scientific and technical vocabulary. I speak as a technical communicator. English has now become the lingua franca for the sciences, medicine, and academia even. Arabic is one of the worst languages for lacking a developed technobabble----most educated Arabs use English and/or French instead. I would presume the same applies to countries like Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, and Iceland, in which bilingualism with English is extremely widespread.

(10 Apr '12, 14:55) jdecamillis

I see a growing threat of de-professionalization with the increasingly predominate role of agencies and a race to compete predominantly on price. This is being felt especially in the field of public service interpreting, as you can read in this post on AIIC's FB page.

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answered 23 Jan '12, 13:44

Luigi's gravatar image


+1 for the link with AIIC's FB page ;-)

(25 Jan '12, 09:42) Angela

As an English booth interpreter I see the increasing use of English (Globish) as the only floor language a problem as it often hinders optimum exchange of ideas and information, plus it eliminates the EN booth. AIIC is making an effort to point out that such a policy often works against good communication and full participation, though I think it could do more.

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answered 17 Jan '12, 13:10

Luigi's gravatar image


That and the expectation that conference interpreters work bi-directionally, as is primarily seen here in Vancouver. Booths here are not monodirectional.

(10 Apr '12, 14:57) jdecamillis

I couldn't agree more with Angela. We need to avail ourselves of help so that we can keep being as "invisible" as our clients need inside the conference room, but as visible as required for our own survival once the conference is over.

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answered 08 Apr '12, 21:58

Laura's gravatar image


Agree with Angela: commoditization of our services. Users underestimating our value addition leads to price-based competition

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answered 10 Apr '12, 09:06

Florencia's gravatar image


I visited some international organizations last July and was told that the rule on the use of many languages is that the more languages the less technical content... and for those meetings that were highly technical only English was spoken...

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answered 19 Jan '12, 18:05

Vicky%20Massa's gravatar image

Vicky Massa


It depends on the markets: In Germany, companies need interpretation to sell their services and products in a convincing way. They also recruit interpreters for training seminars. Those meetings are highly technical and require a lot of preparation.

(19 Jan '12, 18:27) Angela
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question asked: 16 Jan '12, 11:52

question was seen: 6,649 times

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