Interpretation is abundance of settings, topics, people, worlds and words
One way to walk the path of abundance, is to share it with peers who also enjoy being professional interpreters; colleagues who are willing to practice, “like musicians do” to improve, some would say.
That is the spirit of the Círculo de calidad, or “Quality Circle” in English in its Mexican version. The concept and interaction framework were conceived by Daniele Fonseca and Melissa Mann, probably with other creators whom I’m not aware of, apologies for that.
I learned about this Circle over a casual Skype conversation with Melissa Mann, who is based in Brazil; because of my interest, she kindly shared the guidelines with me. Not long after, I invited a group of seasoned colleagues who accepted to form a group and give it a try. Experiences in that first pilot circle, revealed the merit of inviting others to join the practice, even if only out of curiosity.
It’s free of charge.
We require the following tools to complete assignments remotely:
- Whatsapp – immediate means of communication for general topics with the whole group.
[Other sub groups considering 2 – 3 members maximum are temporarily set up in Whatsapp to schedule Skype meetings for feedback exchange.
Feedback is constantly renewed and enriched by mixing members among the sub groups between assignments.]
- Gmail account. The practice is based on Google Drive cloud storage system, which grants much space and easy way to share and edit, so everyone would individually upload their recording, listen to the audios recorded by the other members in each sub group and preferably, fill out and upload evaluation formats with comments.
- Skype. For holding virtual meetings with other colleagues in the sub group for feedback exchange.
The Quality Circle keeps my feet on the ground, vigilantly attentive to offering a better level of communication to users and customers alike.
I believe it is a good way of remaining an active participant in the interpretation ecosystem. Colleagues involved in this virtuous circle consider time apart to reflect on performance and what our listeners, receive from us. This practice also helps us get used to giving and receiving criticism as well as broadening our professional network within our own city, in other cities, even in other countries.
Members record 15 minutes of their own interpretation about some media material and upload their mp3 recording onto the shared Google Drive corresponding file.
It goes without saying, that we are not supposed to listen to the material before recording since we intend to represent our work as it really is in the booth or field.
Every 3 weeks, once the previous assignment had been completed, active members take turns to select the new interpretation assignment, which is posted with additional valuable information such as for instance, personal context taken into account during selection, suggested links for studying, etc.
The assignment should be recorded preferably, during the first week of the assignment.
During the second week, members would take time to listen to recordings by colleagues in her sub group, fill out evaluation form(s), but mainly giving helpful criticism to improve.
The quality circle is imbued in a relaxed atmosphere where we all know this is plain practice, we feel comfortable because we are not trying to please or impress anyone, we want to learn challenges of interpretation which might be coming our way tomorrow in real-life missions.
Interpreters have something to learn from every perception. In the circle, I’ve corrected myself if I choose to do so. The more opinions about your work, the better, so participants find their own way to develop their own style, chasing fidelity and naturality at all times. I’ve also internalized room for improvement, terminology that comes in handy at some point in the future.
There are many ways of conveying a message, many ways in which other brains manage to interpret clearly, the shared mistakes, the effort to communicate regardless of strange speech or bad sound conditions, anticipation and fierce competitiveness might also bring about honest advice or praise.
Colleagues participating in the Circle are very kind to each other, no one has had so far, any issue or complaint about unfair feedback or attitude.
In the third week, sub groups set up their Skype meetings accordingly.
During the session, feedback is exchanged along with many other comments about the speaker, speech, topic, difficulty, challenges, reactions, emotions and techniques used in different chunks of the audio. Maybe some related anecdote told by some member might also give a glance of the range of risks and factors we face when communicating
Different lessons will individually emerge from each separate session. Afterwards, every member will then freely decide whether to take action about any piece of feedback, discarding it, or leaving the Circle at any point after completing the last task, since it would not be nice to leave any colleague hanging on without her feedback.
As of November, 2015 we have 22 active members from Argentina, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Spain, and Mexico. It is exciting.
I want to publicly thank every colleague who has given time and service in order to keep the wheels rolling. Nothing would be possible without their selfless support. Feedback will go a long way in our renditions.
In a nutshell, I do recommend deliberate interpretation practice with colleagues.
Thanks for reading and considering to start up Quality Circle in your language combination and region.
PD. Thanks to Christina G for revising most of this blog entry.