LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of interpreters polished their skills, connected with other professionals and re-energized during the 2012 California Federation of Interpreters conference this past weekend.
Some 350 attended the workshops, including interpreters from Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota and North Carolina. The 3-day conference in Los Angeles allows interpreters from California and several other states to complete their required continuing education while networking with colleagues.
This year’s conference included sessions on international topics. Judge Donald Shaver, who was a visiting professional at the International Court in the Hague, discussed how interpreters preserve human rights and fulfill obligations of due process on an international level. Cesar Sivo, an attorney who represents victims of crimes against humanity during Argentina’s military dictatorship, presented a moving session on Prosecution on Crimes Against Humanity in Argentina. Interpreter Shirin Ershadi, who was a practicing attorney in Iran, presented Rape: War Crime, Crime Against Humanity or Both?
Other sessions focused on helping interpreters take care of themselves. Mona Rich, a family therapist and former court interpreter, provided attendees with ways to manage stress and safeguard against its negative consequences. Julie Martin, a presentation coach, conducted an Improv for Interpreters session. Music professor Hedley Nosworthy worked with interpreters on voice care during her presentation The Speaking Voice: It’s Technique, Usage and Care.
Interpreters also received an update on bargaining and interpreter budget issues from president Michael Ferreira and CFI staff. Court administrators have proposed a 10 percent wage cut for Regions 2 and 3, both in Northern California. CFI’s Region 1 negotiating team, in Southern California, is seeking pension buy back opportunities for interpreters.
During the conference, CFI leadership urged contract and employee interpreters to sign a letter asking the Judicial Council to help preserve interpreter services in the courts and protect unspent funds in the interpreter budget from being used for other purposes. A Judicial Council working group has proposed taking reserve funds from the interpreter budget to use for other court programs.
CFI, part of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, represents nearly 1,000 members who provide language access services in more than 50 languages in California.
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