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Editorial~ From Classroom to Professional Practice: The Challenging Nature of Our Work

Ineke Crezee and George Major

Auckland University of Technology

We are very happy to present Volume 7(1) of the International Journal of Interpreter Education to you. As incoming editors we are aware of having some very big shoes to fill, and are grateful for the ongoing support from Jemina Napier, as the outgoing editor, as well as Serena Leigh Krombach, Kimberly Hale, Doug Bowen-Bailey, and the Editorial Board. As the field of interpreting research advances internationally, this journal plays a crucial dual role: first, in examining the application of new theory to interpreter education, and, second, in reflecting on best practice for interpreter education. Our vision for the future of the journal is to continue to build on these existing strengths and to ensure that the strong international focus is maintained and enhanced, with contributions from spoken and signed language interpreter educators, researchers, and practitioners from all over the world. We will continue to push for an evidence-based approach to interpreting pedagogical practice, and welcome submissions on new research that has very clear applications to the educational setting. At the same time, we will strive to always include the voices of practitioners, research students, and consumers of interpreting services, by welcoming commentaries, interviews, and dissertation summaries. In this way we hope to maintain a healthy balance between research and reflection, as we continue to explore together the fulfilling but challenging work that we do, from the interpreting classroom to professional practice and development.

This volume has a number of articles focusing on the challenging nature of our work as interpreting practitioners and interpreter educators, in both signed and spoken languages. A closer examination these articles shows how connected interpreter educators are in their efforts to bridge the gap between classroom and the challenges of interpreting practice. This thread is apparent throughout the volume.

Miranda Lai, Georgina Heydon and Sedat Mulayim surveyed 271 practicing interpreters in the state of Victoria, Australia, around the extent of their exposure to traumatic material and their way of coping with the ensuing vicarious trauma. They also investigated how institutional care and self-care were administered. Danny Wang and Lynn Grant examine issues encountered by practicing court interpreters in New Zealand and participants’ reflections on whether training prepared them for such challenges. Binhua Wang’s article explores another potential gap between interpreter education and the demands of the profession. He describes an e-learning environment set up at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University to provide student interpreters extended opportunity to not only analyze professional interpreters’ skills and strategies, but also give them scope for practice, instructor feedback and self-reflection. A thought-provoking paper by Stacey Webb and Jemina Napier explores some preliminary doctoral research findings on job demands and resources faced by interpreter educators. They explore initial feedback from a small sample of educators and the many and conflicting demands that they face.

In the Teaching Forum, Janice Humphrey’s article reports on supported fieldwork to increase the work-readiness of student ASL–English interpreters. Humphrey provides some clear teaching models which may be replicated by other educators wishing to address the gap from interpreter classroom to the demands of community.

The Commentary (by Ineke Crezee, David Atkinson, Robyn Pask, Patrick Au and psychiatrist Dr Sai Wong) picks up on the issue of self-care and proposes ways of incorporating elements of this in interpreter education and professional development programs.

The Dissertation section includes a summary of work by Jan Cambridge. Practicing interpreters, interviewed by Cambridge for her doctoral research, questioned the appropriateness of the ‘impartial’ model of interpreting within mental health settings.

Debra Russell introduces us to Dr Jessica Dunkley, a Deaf medical doctor currently in her second year of residency in Alberta, Canada. Dr Dunkley provides a fascinating and unique perspective on the types of skills, attributes and knowledge she expects from interpreters working with her in the very complex medical (training) and professional context. Future volumes of the Journal will continue to incorporate the perspective of a variety of interpreting consumers, as we believe this is crucial in guiding and inspiring us as practitioners, researchers and interpreter educators.

The book review focuses on Sandra Hale and Jemina Napier’s (2013) Research Methods in Interpreting, a book which will have been welcomed by all interpreter educators, thesis supervisors, postgraduate students and interpreting scholars. Much of the advice given by Hale and Napier is of great relevance to researchers and students even beyond the field of interpreting and translation; the chapter on how to write a literature review being only one example.

In her very first editorial for IJIE, Jemina Napier wrote:

If researchers are investigating aspects of interpreting, but are not publishing their findings, how can we benefit from the research? Likewise, if interpreter educators are reflecting on and evaluating their teaching, and not publishing their reflections, how can the quality of interpreter education improve? (Napier, 2009)

We feel extremely privileged to take on the role of co-editors of this pioneering journal, and we look forward to working with the contributors and readers of this journal to reflect on and advance interpreter education. Rolling calls for manuscripts will be sent out regularly, and we again wish to stress that we welcome submissions from interpreter educators, graduate students and scholars from across the world. Jemina Napier used to end her editorials with a quote, and we would like to continue that tradition. The quote below reflects our vision for the future direction of the journal, maintaining its strong international and cross-modal (signed and spoken language) and cross-disciplinary (research and educational) focus.

There is more that binds us together, than holds us apart. (Robert F. Kennedy)

Reference

Napier, J. (2009). Editorial: The real voyage of discovery. International Journal of Interpreter Education, 1, 1–6.