Reflections on the 2016 OSTI Annual Conference
-by Jazmin Manjarrez
On a beautiful sunny weekend in Bend, Oregon, a group of translators and interpreters came together to celebrate the Third Annual Conference of the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters.
Friends and colleagues gathered to share coffee and pastries, in anticipation of a promise of an exciting day of learning.
First up was Detective Pat Hartley. He was very knowledgeable and forthcoming as he took us behind closed doors to a place most of us have never been: the process of polygraphs while working with interpreters. What truly happens as the process of a polygraph begins, adding to the mix an interpreter? He walked us through the initial interviews; deciding if the subject is fit for a polygraph, and how the detectives work closely with an interpreter to ask the crucial questions. It was all so very interesting.
Up next was Cindy Roat, who spoke to us about technology and how it can be incorporated into language access in healthcare. Who knew there were so many technologies being developed specifically for language, some more effective than others. What does the future have in store? Will interpreters and translators eventually be replaced? Interpreters and translators have a keen sense that observes and detects little nuances that machines could never do. Not to mention machines could never understand culture in healthcare. As a colleague once said, “machines do words, people do languages.”
After a well-deserved lunch break, we quickly got back to business. The Annual Board meeting got on the way. Various reports were presented to the members, including the treasurer, membership, Facebook progress, etc. Then the time came to elect a new OSTI president, director and secretary. Each candidate spoke eloquently as to why they were running for the respective posts. Our members asked candidates about their vision for OSTI, and how OSTI will advocate for the profession, among other things. The votes were in, members had spoken, and a new board emerges. Congratulations to Lois Feuerle, president, Susanne Kraetschmer, director, and Svetlana Ruth, secretary.
Time for the learning to continue. Jacquie Hinds and Sierra Groenewold, LPC delivered the challenges of interpreting in behavioral health.
The group is hungry for more knowledge, some eagerly awaiting our presenter Martin Cross, none more interested than our translators as to what this knowledgeable man would reveal. Translation is tricky, but we already knew that, yet Martin brought up some excellent points keeping our audience engaged.
As we near the end, we discuss the ATA exams. Susanne and Denise share their experiences preparing and taking the ever so challenging exam. The participants were quickly engaged and enthralled by the complexity. We learned that the best resources are paper dictionaries, technology not so much. We found out that soon the ATA would be rolling out a keyboarded exam, a relief for many hoping to take the exam next year. This year there were seven individuals who signed up to take the ATA exam the day after the conference, and we wished them the best of luck!
Also, this year OSTI organized an ATA exam study group, the brainchild of Helen Eby. She and the study group briefly shared what it was like to study as a group and how they supported each other in this grand adventure.
As the conference ends, we thank the organizers, presenters, table guests for making this year’s conference a success. Moreover, a very special thank you and a well-deserved standing ovation is given to our departing President, Helen Eby.
A great day of learning and networking was had by all. Many head out for some food and libations, while others begin their journey back to Portland. We say goodbye to our colleagues; good luck and good night, see you next year at OSTI’s Fourth Annual Conference.