AIIC Training Course in Conference Interpreting


Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Dr. Georganne Weller, PLD member

I was fortunate to be able to attend the High Intensity Interpreter Training Workshop (HIIT) held in Curitiba, Brazil, on January 25-29, 2016, sponsored by the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC). This workshop was offered to conference interpreters for whom Portuguese is a “C” (or passive) language or who are planning to add Portuguese to their language combinations. Although the workshop, held once a year, was announced through official AIIC channels for members, it was also open to non-AIIC members, space permitting. The workshop leaders were Richard Laver and Raquel Schaitza, long-standing AIIC interpreters with excellent track records as freelance interpreters in Brazil and as trainers. They were ably assisted by other native Brazilian Portuguese speakers from local universities who were also budding conference interpreters. Their assistance was invaluable, as were the many professional lessons that Richard and Raquel shared with us.

The workshop definitely qualified as “intensive”: with the exception of short breaks and time off for lunch, we worked continuously from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for all five days. Our work was conducted either with a partner in a booth or with portable equipment at our seats. We were expected to pay attention at all times to the live speakers, although we could also tune into one of the booths to sample how our colleagues solved difficult language problems. We could work from Portuguese into our “A” (native) or “B” (active) languages, which in our group included English, Spanish, French, and German. Most of the work was done in the simultaneous mode with live speakers and a wide array of interesting topics, but we also had daily sessions for brief periods to practice note-taking for consecutive interpreting on various Brazilian cultural phenomena our colleagues had chosen for us. We worked hard, but the general feeling in the group was that the experience was well worth it and we all hope to go back in 2017 or as soon as possible. It was a growing and rewarding experience!

In addition to this particular workshop, another course was offered at the same location: a Training of Trainers (ToT) course, “IT and Blended Learning in Interpreter Training,” taught by Michelle Hof, which was held the week before our course and again two weeks later for native Portuguese speakers. In addition, a few days before our course, Matthew Perret gave an intensive course in Rio de Janeiro on “Working into English B,” held at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC-Rio). This meant there were many possibilities for training, both into and out of Brazilian Portuguese, for those of us who wanted to avail ourselves of such opportunities. I strongly encourage all of you to do just this.

More information is available on the AIIC website.


GWGEORGANNE WELLER is an interpreter and translator working with English, Portuguese, and Spanish for over 35 years. She is also an independent researcher and has taught T&I classes in several universities in Mexico. She has taught about translation/interpreting techniques, methods, tools, and technology.


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