Image credit: WordClouds.com
There are many different opportunities for professional networking in the conference interpreting community. Networking can be formal (at regional meetings, industry conferences, CPD events) or informal (coffee before a meeting, lunch with colleagues between shifts in the booth). These days, of course, much of it takes place online, where countless Facebook groups, Twitter and Instagram feeds, and online forums exist where interpreters can cultivate professional contacts.
Today, I want to share with you three interpreter networking events that stand out from the rest due to their innovative formats. Each of these examples originated from a specific language community (the German-speaking world in the first two cases, and Russian-speaking interpreters in the third), but perhaps we can use them as inspiration for events elsewhere in the world — maybe even here in Barcelona, the home of AIB!
Interpreters for Interpreters
The first networking event I will present is also the longest-running of the three. Called Interpreters for Interpreters ("Dolmetscher für Dolmetscher" in the original German), it is currently in its ninth edition. DfD, as its organisers call it, is exactly what its name implies: a peer training event organised by and for colleagues. Over one intensive day of sessions, colleagues present a series of themes before a room of their peers. The innovative aspect about DfD, as I see it, is how it is able to combine peer training and networking of the sort you might see at a major industry conference with the friendly, more intimate atmosphere typical of small-group CPD courses.
The event's target group is broad and the atmosphere is welcoming. As the DfD's English program (downloadable at the bottom of this link) puts it: "The event is open to AIIC Interpreters as well as Pre-Candidates and Candidates, colleagues from the VKD and other Interpreters' Associations and also graduates from interpreting courses at all universities or training centres. Students may apply as Workshop Assistants. The presentations about different aspects of conference interpretation are offered by our colleagues on a voluntary basis."
The next DfD is being held in Stuttgart on 16 November and while I imagine it is fully booked out by now, there is sure to be another one soon for those who may wish to check it out (interpretation is provided into English where required, so no need to worry if you don't speak German!). You can find out more on AIIC Germany's events page or follow AIIC Germany (@AIICDolmetscher) on Twitter for the latest news.
Interpreters with Interpreters
The second event is similar to the first, but also very different in an important way. Interpreter BarCamps are also small-scale peer training and networking event, but this time, instead of planning and advertising the agenda in advance, the organisers follow the innovative barcamp or "unconference" format, where all participants come ready to present and the decision is taken spontaneously at the event as to who will get a turn to talk. This approach makes for an open, interactive and exciting event where anything can happen.
The first interpreter barcamps were organised by German-speaking colleagues in 2016 and have been held semi-regularly since. You can find out about past events on their homepage and follow updates about their next event (planned for March 2019 in Hamburg) on their Twitter feed (@dolbarcamp).
The German barcamps have already served as inspiration for a similar interpreter networking event held recently in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. You will find all the information about that barcamp at this link.
Interpreters versus Interpreters
The third innovative networking format that I want to share today is not a peer training event but a competition. Yes, you read that right - COSINES Pi is an interpreting contest organised by and for Russian interpreters. When I first heard about it, it reminded me of the translation slams that I had seen at other industry events, where two translators offer up their works to a live audience for comment and critique. So I guess you could almost call COSINES Pi an "interpreting slam".
At COSINES Pi, interpreters go head-to-head on stage to produce simultaneous and consecutive interpretations for a live audience and before a jury of their peers. The interpreter who is considered by the jury to have produced the best interpretation is then declared the winner. I am told that the format has proved a huge success amongst Russian interpreters, filling auditoriums to bursting and generating buzz throughout the professional community. To find out more about the first two COSINES Pi events and get news about the upcoming third edition, you can consult their website (in English), follow them on Instagram, or check out their YouTube channel (mostly in Russian).
¿Para cuándo en España?
So these are three innovative networking formats that I have observed in the global interpreting community of late. If you know of any innovative events that are happening in your area, I would love to hear about them in the comments section. Also, it would be great to see events such as these happening a bit closer to home, for instance here in Spain, so that more colleagues can benefit from these forms of learning and sharing. If anyone wants to volunteer to help organise a peer training event, a barcamp, or even (gulp!) a contest, please reach out — maybe we can make it happen!