Not just a picture, but silence can also speak a thousand words; forgive the oxymoron. On July 29, Jonathan Carreon, MCIS’ Interpretation Services Team Leader took this a bit further and asked the gathering at the Interpretation Appreciation Event, “Please close your eyes and listen. Do you hear anything? After a few moments, someone in the audience broke the silence and shouted “Silence”
“Exactly,“ Jonathan said “That was the voice of a Somali woman living with Domestic Violence, a Russian man not being able to defend himself in court, a Vietnamese woman who can’t understand why her children are failing school, a Tamil speaking man who has difficulty applying for social assistance and an Arabic speaking woman who needs to go in for surgery, and is petrified of the procedure because she didn’t understand the doctors’ explanation.”
Following a minute of silence, he told the interpreters how they were instrumental in giving the vulnerable population a voice. “Because of you, they now have a voice. Because of you, they now can be integrated into our society. Because of you, they now can overcome these barriers and move forward with their lives,” Jonathan continued. “Please remember, the service you provide, whether it is a two-hour face to face interpretation assignment or a 20-minute call has made a positive change in someone’s life.”
As his words ended, and everyone opened their eyes, it was clear what the question had done; it had touched a chord among interpreters who feel the anguish of those who face language barriers every day of their lives.
Although this can be easily dismissed as just a touching closing speech, for us it is a reality. At MCIS, we have always respected the hard work and dedication of interpreters, and truly believe that we are what we are because of them. We understand that countless lives have been changed for the better because of them. We have also seen first-hand the impact of language barriers and how an interpreter helps a family access critical information and service. It is for these reasons we provide them advanced training opportunities such as Healing Voices, a specialized training program for interpreters working with victims of war, torture or severe trauma.
At MCIS, we have embraced technology and use advanced video and telephone interpretation platforms today. We also encourage our interpreters to use these platforms to ensure customers get seamless service. Our language professionals are assets, and we need them as much as we need technology.
So, if you feel you can empower or give the silent a voice, give us a buzz. We may be able to get you the training you need to do just that.
-Vivek Vijayapalan, Marketing and Communications Coordinator and Jonathan Carreon, Interpretation Services Team Leader, August 02, 2017, Toronto, Ontario