Conference for freelance translators and interpreters 18-19 June, 2016 - Porto, Portugal
Manuel Sant’Iago Ribeiro
Next year (if I’m still around) will mark my 40th anniversary as a Conference Interpreter – a profession that found me at a gathering of friends: most days J I still regard it rather festively… and keep on trying to give back at least part of the great deal it ‘s given me. Across agreement and free markets, as freelance and as staff, in PT and all over the world, both in the booth and in my several other professional capacities – as a recruiter, consultant, team leader, trainer (including as a modest author) and mostly from within my professional associations – I’ve aimed at professional ethics that I could be proud of, as I hope the many colleagues who kindly allowed me to learn from their example would be. All in all, I tried never to lose sight of the fact that professionals fleetingly pass, but their profession lives on… albeit both evolving.
Who arst thou?
What’s an interpreter?...and a conference interpreter? If the former is already rather vague – on account of all the other non-language professionals who share it – the latter will almost inevitably call for an explanation of what we do, hardly anyone understanding who we are. The world in general, honouring but misidentifying us, calls us translators (instantaneous, a delegate once named a colleague who promptly retorted “added water provided!”) not to mention the infamous “slash”, as in Translator/Interpreter, a hybrid of the same ilk as, say, Engineer/Architect. Even Tourist Guides (which in literal PT refers to a book) who interpret heritage, not languages, have dropped the hyphen from their local monicker – “Guides-Interpreters” - or the spelling reform did it for them, thus adding to the confusion J. We should have stuck to the old Portuguese word “tongue” (which does double duty as “language”) to single us out…