When they go low, where do interpreters go?

When they go low, where do interpreters go?

Photo:  Dan H

Photo: Dan H

Following up on my "How to Trump" post, here are a few ideas for what we as interpreters and translators can actually DO.

Learn and reflect.

Be very careful with your attention.

Be aware of the filter bubble issue and try to break out of yours from time to time (it's hard!) - or have someone else do it for you (DE).

Listen to episode 607 of This American Life or watch this John Oliver video to learn more about the interpreters who helped US troops and now have to fear for their lives.

Read the Open Letter of several interpreter and translator associations to President Trump: "The war against ISIS cannot be won without translators and interpreters."

And, maybe, check out my conversation with Robert Ham, who is working on a feature film to tell the story of the interpreter who saved his life:

Speak out.

Talk to people, actual people, in real life. Maybe at the local school.

  1. keep emotions out of the exchange,
  2. discuss, don't attack (no ad hominem and no ad Hitlerum),
  3. listen carefully and try to articulate the other position accurately,
  4. show respect,
  5. acknowledge that you understand why someone might hold that opinion, and
  6. try to show how changing facts does not necessarily mean changing worldviews.

How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps “The Power of the Powerless” by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czeslaw Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.
— Timothy Snyder: "What you — yes, you — can do to save America from tyranny"


Join a professional associationadvocacy group or non-profit.

Consider joining a political party.


 Translators Without Borders (worldwide).

No One Left Behind (US).


The Red T

Translators Without Borders

No One Left Behind's fundraiser to safely house 100 Iraqi interpreters.

More organisations you can support throughout Europe

... and some motivation.

Bone-conduction for interpreting - yay or nay?

Bone-conduction for interpreting - yay or nay?

How To Trump*

How To Trump*