Interpreting: A Lifelong Learning Experience
webinar presented by Enrica J. Ardemagni, Ph.D.
Vice President, NCIHC board
Professor of Spanish
Midwest Association of Translators and
April 24, 2014
Europe higher education and lifelong
learning = linked learning to work,
through paid educational level and
US 1975 Lifelong Learning Act =
traditional adult education (Resnick and
Commonality: both respond to changes in
◦ Education in tandem with changes in the
organization of work.
Brief Historical Overview
Clarification of terminology
Education – implies humanistic,
environmentally aware values,
usually considered to be a long-
term investment over time
Training – learning based on a
field, the work, very time-specific,
usually short period of time
Absence of values???
Deliberate (structured) learning
Intentional - learners are aware of
what they are learning
Specific goals or learning
Goals are the reason the learning
Learner intends to retain and use
what has been learned for long
period of time (Tough, 1971)
• Nascent field as a profession where many
still “promote” being interpreter
(translator) as a fall-back profession
because they are bilingual.
Fall under the realm of adult education.
Most of the “training” is currently done
outside the formal education system.
Result-high level of adults who depend on
organized adult education, this dovetails
into learning on the job with minimal
structured or deliberate learning.
Traditional vs. adult education
Traditional university-level students are
equipped for adult life, but still
continuing to learn on the job, but
“may” have more exposure to critical
thinking skills that allow for advances in
skills through work.
Many interpreters come to
employment as adults, so a different
framework needs to be the reference
point for defining competencies that
have not been acquired through formal
• Is language proficiency in 2
languages the Number 1
• Ability to communicate well in
native tongue L1.
• Ability to communicate well in L2.
• Ability to interact linguistically,
socially, and culturally and in
different contexts associated with
• Ability to perform.
Impact on lifelong learning
• Requires the ability to pursue and
organize one’s own learning.
• Think about WHY an interpreter
needs to go beyond an initial
training, i.e., 40 hours, 60 hours,
150 hours, etc.
Why is Latin a dead language?
• Languages are in a state of flux,
• You’re bad or You’re bad!!!!
• Do you want to join? I’m straight
• Social, culture changes take place
• Chaperone dating or acceptable
• Technology is now the driver
• Floppy disk or flash drive or dropbox
• Advances in field
• Changes in law, practice, insurance
Lack of lifelong learning impact
• Skills decline or fossilize
• Not able to interpret concepts, in
oral or written form
• Digression in communication in L1
• Lack of progression in L2
• Overall result – level of proficiency
does not depend on maintaining
skills but sustaining skills
• Sustaining skills depends on lifelong
opportunities are there?
• Courses, degrees
• On-site trainings
• Read in L1 and L2
• Listen in L1 and L2
• Study groups (physical, hang-
To keep up with learning I
• Field of interpreting
• Develop key competencies.
• Update key competencies through
lifelong learning focusing on
adapting to change and integration
(European Parliament 2006).
• Goal of the EU – develop education
and training systems that facilitate
peer learning, exchange of good
practices, follow up developments
and report on progress (Education
and Training 2010).
Questions to be answered
• How will this movement towards lifelong
learning impact other countries?
• How will the recognition of forms of
learning be recognized, i.e., diplomas,
certificates, licensure, certifications,
• How much more time and money needs to
be invested in learning?
• How much learning will be done on the
• Will there be research to support
innovative pedagogy for instructors?
• U.S. National Research Council
Panel on Continuing Education is
reviewing continuing education
with sciences since changes are so
rapid many cannot keep up with
the rate of change.
• Report The Engineer of 2020
focuses on lifelong learning for the
engineering professional because of
their career trajectory will take
more directions (nae website)
interpreters, Oh my…
• Dr. Chris Cassel (President, American Board
of Internal Medicine) relates engineering
and medical professions through
imperative of lifelong learning (Cassel
• Certification addresses up-to-date content
knowledge, professionalism and
application of knowledge in practice.
• Learning in medicine has evolved to
lifelong learning or “perpetual motion.”
• Lifelong learning revisited from academia,
continuing education, private sector,
What will be needed?
• Self-motivated learners.
• Creation of materials.
• Work support.
• Buy-in from stakeholders. Who
• Match of salary to credentials.
• Cassel, C., M.D. (2009). “Lifelong Learning Imperative in
Engineering: Summary of a Workshop,”
• European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December
2006 on key competencies for lifelong learning.
2006/962/EC. Official Journal L 394 of 30.12. 2006.
• Commission Communication. Lisbon European Council
2001, revised 2005, objectives for Education and Training
2010 work programme,
• U.S. National Resource Council Panel on Continuing
Education (2011). www.nae.edu/.../26533.aspx
• Resnick, L.B., Wirth, J.G. (1996) Eds. “Linking school and
work,” San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
• Tough, A. (1971) The Adult’s Learning Projects. Toronto:
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.