The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020 - 14

INTERPRETAMERICA 2020: A TIMELY RESPONSE TO AN UNPRECEDENTED CRISIS continued
even representation from conference
(25%), community (22%), health care
(27%), and legal (17%) interpreters. Sign
language interpreters (5%) were also
represented, and another 5% of attendees
were not practicing interpreters.
Unemployment Is Huge: Since the
COVID-19 outbreak began, the number of
job cancellations has been staggering. In all,
90% of attendees saw job cancellations, with
over 25% of those polled seeing more than
21 cancellations as a result of the pandemic.

Figure 2: Current Structure of Interpreting Services

InterpretAmerica 2020 Speakers and Presentations (see: https://bit.ly/InterpretAmerica-speakers)
Barry Slaughter Olsen and Katharine Allen:
InterpretAmerica
Idolly Oliva, M Health Fairview: Certification
Commission of Healthcare Interpreters

Moderators
The Urgency to Ensure Language Access

Dieter Runge: Boostlingo

The Transition to Remote: A Live Update

Kristin Quinlan: Certified Languages International

What Language Services Providers Are Facing and Need

Ted Wozniak: American Translators Association

What Can Associations Do to Support Members
and the Profession?

Winnie Heh: Middlebury Institute of
International Studies
Odilia Romero: Frente Binacional de
Organizaciones Bilingües and CIELO

How Can We Get Buyers/Procurers Switched to Remote?
How Can We Reach End Users so They Can Sill Access
Interpreting Services?

Ewandro Magalhaes: KUDO

How Can We Onboard and Transition to Remote?

Marjory Bancroft: Cross-Cultural Communications

Moderator, Next Steps Session

Cindy Roat: Health Care Trainer and Language
Access Consultant

Moderator, Next Steps Session

Andrew Dafoe: TraduccioNOLA

Next Steps Data Capture

Darinka Mangino: Léxica

Next Steps Data Capture

■	

begin offering remote interpreting
services to their existing clients?
They don't have to build their own
interpreting delivery platforms. There
are solutions already available.

■	

How can we help hospitals, schools,
businesses, institutions, and governments
get connected to remote interpreting
platforms and services so that they can
continue to provide multilingual services?

KEY TAKEAWAYS

■	

How can we preserve the laws and
policies that require language access-
some of which may soon be waived?

■	

How can we advocate to make sure
our freelance linguists and small
businesses are included in state and
federal relief packages?

14

The ATA Chronicle | May/June 2020

How can we ensure that high
standards for working conditions and
compensation can be maintained during
this massive shift to online delivery?

The information we received from the
audience polling detailed the challenges
the field is facing with the loss of so much
onsite work and the need to transition to
remote interpreting. We also obtained data
on what would help attendees the most.
Figure 3 on page 15 gives an idea of what
we learned.
Who Participated? InterpretAmerica 2020
attendees represented a solid cross-section
of the interpreting profession, with roughly

Fear of Remote Interpreting Replacing
Face-to-Face Interpreting: Many attendees
expressed fear that remote interpreting
would now replace their previous face-toface work structures. They reported lower
pay for remote interpreting work, even
when assignments are available, and greatly
worsened working conditions in the rush
to switch to remote.
Maintaining Professional Standards:
Attendees provided many examples of
having to lower working and professional
standards to work using remote interpreting,
from taking pay cuts to poor technological
solutions to the interpreter becoming
even more invisible in the communication
process. Many expressed distress that lower
standards could become permanent. They
were also concerned about the difficulty of
advocating effectively.
Training and Access to Information Are
Top Priorities: Among attendees polled
during the event, the number one concern
was providing training for interpreters so
they can begin to provide their services on
remote platforms, followed by an urgent
need for a public relations campaign to
inform end users of interpreting services
about the options available to them for
using remote interpreting.
Access to Interpreting Has Been Hit
Hard: The COVID-19 pandemic has
affected access to interpreting services across
the board, with conference interpreting, a
market segment almost entirely dependent
on people being able to travel and meet in
large groups, being the hardest hit.
InterpretAmerica 2020 caught a moment
in time in this crisis. It tried to make
sense of the overnight shift to remote
interpreting, and the unsettling fact (for
many) that remote is, for the duration of
www.atanet.org


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The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020

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