Lifestyle, Photography

Photos of my grandmother before she met my grandfather

17 photos of my grandmother, Helene Greene, née Kupferman, as a baby, girl, & young woman before she met my grandfather, Ernest Greene. Taken in Brooklyn, NY 1910–1931

Business, Interpreting

Do conference interpreters make more than medical interpreters?

I find it interesting to follow the interpreting field in general, not just the ASL-English interpreting field, and the other day I saw a surprising post on a blog I follow called The Professional Interpreter: Many medical interpreters are missing out on a prestigious and profitable field. The author, Tony Rosado, a Spanish-English interpreter, says that most medical interpreters do not venture from interpreting medical jobs to interpret medical conferences. I don’t think of conference interpreting as more prestigious and profitable than interpreting in medical settings, but things may be very different between signed-spoken and spoken-spoken language interpreters.

Qualified interpreter means an interpreter who … is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.

According to the article, until recently there were no standards for medical interpreting. It is important to note, though, that the author is not talking about interpreting between deaf and non-deaf people; he is talking about interpreting for people who do not share the same spoken language. Interpreters for deaf people are provided as an accommodation mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and previous laws such as PL 94-142 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Such mandates create a demand for quality; in fact, Title III of the ADA sets the legal definition:

Qualified interpreter means an interpreter who, via a video remote interpreting (VRI) service or an on-site appearance, is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary. Qualified interpreters include, for example, sign language interpreters, oral transliterators, and cued-language transliterators.

I am interested in hearing from interpreters of all language pairs to see what you think about conference interpreting as opposed to medical interpreting. In your experience, have you found conference interpreting to be more profitable than medical interpreting? Do you find that your colleagues and/or consumers respect you more for doing conference interpreting than medical interpreting? Personally, I find both equally rewarding, both personally and financially. It can be stimulating and glamorous to interpret for someone charismatic while facing a large audience, yet it is challenging and rewarding to interpret for a doctor and patient in a private room. I like both settings, and feel respected in both settings. What do you like?

Education, Photography

I remember a time before… yet where are we now?

I started thinking tonight about how I remembered a time before every town — nay, every corner — had a Walgreen, Walmart, Starbucks, CVS, Dollar General, QT, 7-11 (are there 7-11’s anymore?), Circle K, etc. Then I realized it was September 11th and it would be wrong not to add that to the mix. Well, this is not a Nine Eleven post, but it’s on 9/11, so I will add to this that, unlike anyone eleven years old or younger today, I remember a time before 9/11. I remember a time when we called the World Trade Center the twin towers. I remember when Philippe Petit walked between them on a tightrope. I remember a time before the twin towers. I remember a time before motion screen billboards. I remember a time before wrap billboards. I remember a time when billboards were rolled out in paper and the strips had to line up just so. I remember a time before Apple. I remember a time before Microsoft. I remember a time before the iPhone, the iPad, Google, AOL, Facebook, Twitter, Quora (I don’t even use Quora), social media, sexual harassment (as a term)… although I remember hearing a joke about Catholic priests and choir boys at summer camp when I was 10,  in 1977, just before this movie called Star Wars came out. So let’s say I remember a time before people said they were shocked that Roman Catholic priests were molesting and raping boys– I remember when it was so well-known there were jokes about it. Hypocrites.

Hmph. As I was saying… I remember when I had never heard of Starbucks. I remember the first time I saw one I was vacationing in Seattle in 1990. Within a year or two, they were everywhere. I remember when a tweet was a sound a bird made, blah, blah, blah. I’m 45. It’s not so old.

And yet, you know what else I remember? I remember when I was in first and second grade and being told we had to learn the metric system because we would all be moving to it. Whatever happened to that, huh? I remember when we were going to go solar in the 70s. Whatever happened to that? I grew up watching 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, and Space 1999. I thought we would be living on the moon by the end of the twentieth century and in space by the twenty-first. I also grew up believing in and praying fervently for World Peace by the Year 2000! (Soka Gakkai) How about that world peace? Well, if we can’t even switch to the metric system…

I am not a man who is shocked at all this “newfangled technology.” I’m a boy who grew up expecting a world bigger, better, greater, and more peaceful than what we have now. I hear it’s patent law and trademark and copyright and litigation that’s holding us back, and I’m not surprised. I see trillions (is that enough, or is it quadrillions?) burned, bloodied, killed, wasted, and wounded in war, killing, destruction, neglect… I see greed and money stolen from the middle class and given to the rich while the poor have less of a chance of becoming middle class.

We have such great technology, it’s both awesome and terrifying. When I see what filmmakers do with technology, sometimes it restores my faith in humanity. A lot of what people do with technology in social media, photos, videos, words, music– these things restore my faith in humanity. I suppose I should count us lucky that our whole world hasn’t been demolished, and I do! We are lucky, and I guess we are doing something right. We have a long way to go, though. It’s not too late to adopt that metric system, go solar, wind, water, clean energy, sustainable. It’s not too late to make this world the great place we thought it would be when we grew up. I think I have an idea for tomorrow morning. I’m going to wake up and ask myself, “What can I do today to help make this world a great as I hoped it would be when I was a boy?”

The Dark Knight Rises movie poster © Warner Bros.

The Dark Knight Rises — Has the dark night already fallen?

I finally went to see The Dark Knight Rises yesterday, and I sat there in the theatre wondering if the dark night had already fallen. First of all, I couldn’t watch any of the mass-shooting scenes in the movie without thinking of the mass-murderer who stomped into the theatre that first weekend with machine guns, killing twelve people and injuring 59. Second, I couldn’t watch the Wall Street scenes and crowds-in-the-streets scenes without thinking of Occupy Wall Street and the most criminal transfer of wealth in history (I wonder who’s enjoying one-third of my 401-K and the value of my home, and I’m lucky I’m not one of the millions who lost their homes altogether).

While I sat in the theatre thinking of all the mass shootings there have been over the years, including by kids in schools, and listened to Catwoman’s line about “the whole ‘no guns’ thing” it saddened me to think of the NRA and the debate in this country over “the right to bear arms” (Second Amendment). It’s not a matter of “no guns” or “guns, guns, guns” — it’s a matter of reasonableness and sanity. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a rise in the unreasonable insane of late. (And, unfortunately, the NRA are a bunch of Republicans who have it out for Obama.)

The Dark Knight Rises is an apocalyptic film, and it made me wonder if we don’t already live in an apocalyptic time. We’ve been in a recession for the past four years and now they say we’re headed for a depression. (I’ve been suspected “they” just haven’t wanted to admit this recession is a depression, but what do I know.) We have a political party that — thank you, Todd Akin, true party representative! — is hell-bent on forcing raped women to bear children and giving tax breaks to the wealthy while claiming to be about conservative family values… we have this party of politicians who lie, get caught in lies, and keep lying and might actually win if we don’t stop them! I think the dark night has already fallen.

What am I doing to strengthen myself for this apocalypse or prepare for its eventuality? Writing a thesis about vague language, or worse, spending hours obsessing on my blogs’ themes while I could be writing said thesis? I came away from that movie feeling that my life is frivolous and it was time to wake up and smell the napalm.

Okay, in all fairness, it’s still a wonderful world. Polluted, but wonderful. Full of liars, thieves, murderers, but wonderful. Really, though, I do believe there’s a lot of clean world and good people. And I do believe it’s okay to waste time doing nothing once in a while. And I don’t think I’m doing “nothing” to make the world a better place. And I did love Ann Hathaway as Catwoman and those great one-liners in the film which I will not repeat here. And I do believe we need fluff and frivolity in life. I just think we I need to remember it doesn’t take work to keep the sun shining but it does take work not to let the night of apocalypse fall over us and block that sun from view.


This is why I don’t blog as much as I think I “should.” I don’t want to have to sit down here chasing link after link to relate what I’m saying to what others are saying so you know what I’m talking about or future generations know what I’m talking about (if those links are even active in the future). I don’t want you to think I’m crazy, which now maybe you do. I don’t think of myself as a conspiracy theorist, but I’m also not easily misled. (I am agnostic as to whether Bush let 9/11 happen as a pretext for war, but I always knew there were no weapons of mass destruction –WMDs.) And maybe I don’t like the fact that I write in parentheses a lot. But one thing The Dark Knight Rises inspired me to do is to write on my blog(s) this weekend and not just make them pretty.

Communication, Lifestyle, Photography

Sexting revisited

I just saw a video of Dan Savage’s thoughts on sexting, and it reminded me of my blog post on sexting that was published in a book on the subject. One funny thing that has come up since then is the Anthony Weiner (not Wiener) sexting story, in which — contrary to Savage’s forecast — there is a big deal made about a guy sexting his dick. I wonder if Savage is right that everyone will have a “dirty picture of themselves” online some day. I don’t know. Will we, as Savage predicts, elect a president who has a pornographic photo of themselves online? I don’t see why not. Eventually things get out of control and no one cares anymore.