As interpreters aiming to deepen and hone our practices, we attend workshops, read books, and talk with colleagues. We find mentors, engage in dialogue, and analyze interpreting models, challenging ourselves to move forward.
In 2001, practitioners who had done extensive work with Betty Colonomos encouraged her to produce an extended, committed learning series that would lend itself to on-going exploration of her Integrated Model of Interpreting (IMI) and the work of Lev Vygotsky. Betty had been conducting Foundations of Interpreting workshops all over the United States and beyond for over 25 years. Many interpreters wanted an opportunity to take those workshops to another level. Thus was born Etna, NH, a five weekend series that happened from the fall of 2002 through the spring of 2003.
The Etna, NH series has continued to be held in the years since, each year having a group of participants numbering from 15 to 20 who met for five weekend sessions from Thursday evening through Sunday morning. In 2009 another group was formed in Maryland that has now had three complete cycles. Attendees brought work samples----interpreting work, mentoring work---that were used in small and large group activities. Applying the framework of the IMI and the learning theory of Vygotsky, interpreters from around the country uncovered their own biases and criticisms, worked to identify what they were on the cusp of learning about their own process, helping them to understand their own and others’ interpreting work more deeply. Many participants have attended the Etna Project repeatedly, committed to a process of continued learning.
Language, culture, meaning, affect and intent are some of the domains that an interpreter must understand. Yet underlying all of this lies the interpreter’s ability to process the complex decisions that we face in every moment. The work we do from the Etna Project helps us unpack and examine the cognitive task of decision-making through non-evaluative, honest dialogue. Colleagues share their work and their questions, leading to further inquiry and opportunity to build a greater understanding of why they do the things they do.
Join us at the next Etna Project!