CAPI Treasurer, 2020-2022
Last year in May I was leaving my position as a faculty teaching Translation and Interpretation and I was looking for a way to be more active and engaged with my favorite group of people – interpreters in the state of Colorado. It so happened that Ruben Buitrago was moving to California and I volunteered to finish the second year of his term. As soon as I joined the board, I remembered why I volunteer! We have evolved as the organization in the most surprising ways. I felt a lot of collaboration and open discussion and willingness to work to elevate our profession.
My work so far:
Over the period of one year we worked on a number of projects. My focus was on the improvement of the efficiency of CAPI operations and money savings for our members. Since the board is a volunteer board, my goal was to increase efficiency and maximize the impact from the work done by the board members. As a result, I came up with a dashboard concept that will be implemented on the CAPI website that will contain everything a board member needs in one place to be able to make decisions and to send out mass emails or post social media messages. The dashboard will help save time for the CAPI volunteers who are usually business owners. In addition, we are hoping to create a similar dashboard for the regular CAPI members and create a single space where the members can view CAPI meeting minutes, access member-only content like classes, review CAPI financials, and any other relevant information.
Another point of focus I have had as a chair is to bring in brand- new members from other parts of the state and increase the number of memberships from various practice fields – to include academic and medical fields. I have started working on building ties to the interpreters who work in schools and hospitals. Given the state of the affairs now as the pandemic is ongoing, many interpreters are experiencing similar issues. In my opinion the more diverse voices we have to bring awareness to interpretation as a profession and to any issues that we are experiencing right now – the higher the chance is that we will be heard and that the issues can be resolved. I have also worked together with Michael Mudd to reach out to existing members who struggled with renewal or those who had their membership lapse. I hope that all interpreters in the state can feel that CAPI will hear them and will represent their interests to elevate the standards of the profession.
Ever since the start of the pandemic, I have been organizing ways for CAPI to be more responsive to the needs of the individual interpreters in the state. I proposed to create a more robust platform on the CAPI website that will allow members to attend webinars and take online courses that have no instructor interaction to accommodate for the fact that so many of us are now at home. CAPI mobilized quickly. We reviewed a proposal for a custom platform and existing professional development platforms. We made a selection already and are in the process of putting in classes already! There will be various class options, some will be member-only free classes, short and sweet low budget classes, and also some longer “I want to invest in myself”-type classes. We are very excited about this!
My priorities for the year if I were to become elected would be several:
- First, I would like to finish the organizational part of the board-only website section to maximize the impact of the volunteer board members. There is nothing worse for progress than having board members bogged down in the complex logistics. Having to navigate multiple websites with separate logins to get one thing done can be daunting, frustrating and time-consuming. What can be done by an app will be done by an app to leave the minds of our board members to do all the creative planning and thinking! I hope to create simple event-planning checklists, a tracking system of presenters who have been hired and how they were received by the CAPI audience. I also hope to have a section for contracting speakers that will incorporate automated send-off of contracts and electronic signature capture ability. Again, this is focused on simplifying the administrative burden on the volunteer board members.
- On the professional development front, I hope the add a few courses per each course category on our new educational platform as well as create a few simple free courses that help the new interpreters get started in their professional life.
- I also hope to help the interpreter community in Colorado find its voice and be seen by the professionals who are most often in need of interpreter services the way that they deserve to be seen – as professionals who are knowledgeable, reliable, and trustworthy, as linguists who love their craft and know way too much about language, as professionals who can bring very unique skills that allow people from two different ends of the world to understand each other. This i a lofty goal but I will start with simple steps to accomplish it. I will engage with interpreters on the local level, I will create connections to other interpreter associations, and I will engage the consumers of our services by offering client education webinars to their professional organizations.
- My last and probably most important goal is simple. It is to show up and be there. I think the power of showing up on a regular basis can’t be underestimated in any task one takes one. Showing up no matter what is what makes a difference. It is easy to make promises and talk about the amazing future. I think it is hard to routinely rearrange your schedule because an even needs hosting, or the email is down, or a speaker for your event had to cancel last minute. All these sacrifices that take place behind the scenes is what I call showing up. I promise that I will show up.
I started my interpreting and translation career in the far-away country of Belarus in 2000 and later continued it after my move to the US. At first as a college student, I volunteered some, got paid some, and took assignments that on some days started at 7 am and ended at midnight. I have been offered to sleep in the same hotel room as the attorney on the case when my flight was cancelled for weather and the client didn’t want to pay for an extra night in the hotel. I learned the lessons of overworking, underpayment, and the value of a good contract early on in my career. I have experience in almost every possible setting in interpretation – from farm tours with manure on my boots, to international conferences in buildings with tight security. I have worked in schools, in courts, in hospitals, in the booth, out of the booth, next to cows, in server rooms, and in prisons. I have also spent 10 years teaching interpreting at the Community College of Aurora to allow a professional entry into interpreting for community interpreters. Now I freelance full-time. I do some interpreting but lately have been doing a lot more translation. I am very familiar with many work settings for interpreters and have a soft spot for interpreters in my state. I think I have a lot to offer to CAPI and I can put to use not only my interpreting know-how, but also my research, organizational, and leadership skills that I have gained during my career.