Language Practitioners

  • Improving professional capacities

Among language practitioners – those who work as professional interpreters or teach and train in this area – the problematics of interlingual communication in zones of crisis and war are of central and increasing concern.  One key approach has been educational, to try to improve the professional capacities of those working locally as language intermediaries. Barbara Moser-Mercer suggested (2008) that the consequences of poor communication ‘on the ground’ can be extremely serious both for the organisations working in these areas, and for the interpreters themselves.

In this scenario, she argued, training a cadre of proficient locally-based language intermediaries is an investment in the future development of the particular region: ‘Improved skills for interpreters in crisis and war zones…provide an excellent spring board for these very same interpreters to function during post-war and post-crisis reconstruction, enabling nations to participate more fully in rebuilding their societies and economies’. Starting from a detailed needs analysis among ICRC delegations, Moser-Mercer has developed two training modules, one focusing on the specifics of the communication situations such interpreters will encounter, and the other offering advanced consecutive interpreting skills. This educational project , InZone ( http :// virtualinstitute. eti. unige.ch/inzone), based at the University of Geneva, is tailored to the working practices of those in the field – a virtual learning environment with bite-size pieces of teaching – and seeks to provide a community of practice for interpreters who may well be isolated in their particular working environments.

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