|It looks like I’m going to be doing a LOT of live interpreting!|
The interpreting for the virtual Regional Missionary Training Forum in July (mentioned in our last update) went really well! There were over 50 participants logged in, with presenters from as far away as the Asia Pacific region on the other side of the planet.
Apparently, the organizers were happy with my services as an interpreter because word got around and other requests started coming in, and they keep coming!
In August, I was asked to help with an online forum about the impact of Covid on our missionary families and their kids. One of the participants from Colombia (a good friend) needed interpreting — to Spanish so she could understand, as well as to English so she could contribute.
Rather than “interrupting” or taking turns between Spanish and English, we decided to try using a separate communication channel so I could interpret simultaneously for her as people were talking. The most convenient way to do that was with a cellphone call using WhatsApp, the most commonly used messaging and internet phone app outside the USA.
That worked really well! Our Colombian colleague was able to follow the discussion and even had the opportunity to enrich the conversation with her own story about the impact of Covid on her family.
As a follow-up to the July training forum, a coordinating team was formed to work on standardizing the curriculum in our five missionary training centers, with help from our (non-Spanish-speaking) global equipping coordination team. This group began meeting online a couple of weeks ago and I was asked to interpret for them, using a WhatsApp group.
In order to make significant progress, they decided to meet on a weekly basis, so we did it again this week and will continue for the next few months, I expect.
Then I was approached to help early next week with a virtual meeting of the Field Leadership Teams of our Latin American region. It’s likely that this will also be a regular event, though not as frequent.
I didn’t see this coming! I hadn’t really done a lot of simultaneous interpretation recently. Regional leadership would invite me to help with a workshop or seminar overseas, maybe once every couple of years. But now with travel being restricted and virtual meetings being the new norm, it’s much more convenient and affordable to bring me in.
“Isn’t it stressful?“ you may ask. I can’t deny that it is. First, there’s the fear that I won’t be able to do it well, then I wonder if I can keep transposing everything that is said into another language for two hours. It’s nearly all “live” without the benefit of being able to translate notes or presentations in advance. But I expect the more I do it, the more comfortable it will become, and the stress levels should come down.
It makes me smile to remember “Aunt Charlene,” one of my teachers in boarding school, who used to give me a hard time for talking incessantly in class. I suppose the Lord has a constructive use for many of our character traits, as annoying as they may seem. 🙂
You never know what the Lord has planned for you when you enter His service full time, but we are here by God’s grace to do whatever we can for as long as He enables us. And we’re very grateful for you who stand with us as we help equip Latin American cross-cultural church planters and facilitate communication among God’s servants from different parts of the Americas.
May the Lord bless and keep you,
Steve & Eida Irwin
Spanish Language Resources