I would have to say 2018 was a good year! I stayed busy as an interpreter and teacher, continued to branch out into more legal and trilingual interpreting, enjoyed entertainment, rest and recreation, and did some wonderful traveling. My health and that of my loved ones was not bad, and no one in my family died. Yay! I continued to work on making my fives look nothing like sixes, and I put myself out there a bit more in search of friendship— an important endeavor I will write about in another post.
I taught several interpreting workshops locally and one in South Dakota, and I taught several ASL classes at local community colleges, including an ASL II course I designed online. Teaching is gratifying, and my students seem to enjoy learning from with me.
My trilingual interpreting is improving and increasing slowly but surely. I made a business trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend all the workshops of the trilingual track at the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Region IV conference. I also made a business trip to Austin, Texas to take the Board of Examination of Interpreters (BEI) Test of Spanish Proficiency (TSP) and Trilingual Interpreter Performance Test. Oddly enough, although I earned an 87% on the practice test in the TSP study guide, I only earned a 65% on the actual test. You need to earn a 68% (which I thought was a low bar) to take the performance test, so I wasn’t able to move on. I have heard that even native Spanish speakers have failed the TSP, but I have been unable to get the BEI to tell me what the pass rate for the TSP is. The most recent data published on the BEI Testing Pass-Fail Rates page (2014) shows that only 60% of test takers passed the Test of English Proficiency (TEP), so unless 40% were non-native English speakers, which I doubt, the indication is that even native English speakers are unable to pass the BEI language proficiency test. Hm…
Regardless of how long it is taking for me to master it, I continue to practice Spanish three hours a day, listening to music and commentary on the radio, listening to Duolingo Podcasts, Radio Ambulante Podcasts, News in Slow Spanish, and Audible audiobooks such as Cuando Era Puertoriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago and Cien Años de Soledad by Gabriel García Márquez. The most recent learning tool I have discovered is the Busuu app. I highly recommend it! I like it much better than Duolingo, whose premium subscription I let lapse in favor of a premium subscription to Busuu. I have learned much more from Busuu and feel confident that I could pass the TSP now. My current CEFRL level is between B2 and C1, depending on what online test I take on what day. The highest level is C2, so I am approaching proficiency. My Spanish-speaking, English-learning conversation partners around the world, with whom I speak through HelloTalk and WhatsApp, give me excellent opportunities to practice speaking and listening in conversation. Everywhere I go, I speak Spanish with anyone who will speak it with me.
I continue to serve as the webmaster for Mano a Mano, and am proud of the improvements I have made to the website, including making it mobile friendly and more bilingual. I made sure the domain name and social media account names were all the same, manoamanoinc. I am gratified to see how it has come along. I have helped on the bylaws committee as well, and have been attending meetings even though I am not a voting officer.
In 2018 the agency I work for, Arizona Freelance Interpreting Services, kept me pretty busy with legal interpreting work, sending me to interpret in courts throughout the greater metropolitan Phoenix area as well as in other towns throughout Arizona. In addition to interpreting in courts, I interpreted in jails, police precincts, and legal offices. My legal interpreting mentor who lives in Austin is always very helpful and excited to talk with me about legal interpreting. I finally met her in person when I went to Austin to take my BEI Court Interpreter Performance Test (in addition to the TSP and trilingual tests). I felt I did well on the performance test, but I have still not received the results after waiting for five months. I hope I get them soon and find out I passed!
Rest and Recreation (R & R)
Recreation was equally as much of an accomplishment in 2018. I spent at least two hours a day on the loveseat with my husband and pets watching TV, which gives me a break from doing, is very entertaining, and is quality time that we all need. If we don’t spend time with the pets, they become restless and come to us like, “Why aren’t we cuddling on the couch? I need to be with you!” It is also exciting that we live in a time of so much great television on the networks and streaming services. We walked the dogs every day, and I excercised fairly regularly by walking and dancing— mostly salsa alone at home, but recently on a cruise!
Traveling was also very fulfilling in 2018. We went to weeklong visit in Quebec, hosted by good friends for a whole week in October, and took a weeklong Mexican Riviera cruise in December. We also took day trips, such as to Sedona in March and Queen Creek in September. We made several trips to local museums and went hiking on a couple of nearby mountains as well as on Mont Orford in Quebec and along Rio Pitillal in Puerto Vallarta.
Without getting into politics, let me just say that I was able to sing the following Christmas carol with more hope this year:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong will fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”