The launch of the ‘Many Languages, One Voice’ campaign on 25 July at Trades Hall in Carlton attracted about 130 participants, many of them AUSIT members.
AUSIT was well represented at the committee level, with Barbara McGIlvray (AUSIT National Vice-President), Meredith Bartlett (Vic/Tas Branch Chair), John Gare (Vic/Tas Treasurer) and other Vic/Tas committee members in attendance, as were professional stalwarts such as Adolfo Gentile (former President of the International Federation of Translators), AUSIT Past President Moreno Giovannoni, Niki Baras and Rita Wilson. John Beever of NAATI was there and was also acknowledged, as were representatives of the big agencies, All Graduates and VITS Languagelink. AUSIT’s support of this APESMA (Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers Australia) campaign on behalf of interpreters and translators, as well as the presence of the National Vice-President, was acknowledged from the stage.
The APESMA T&I Committee and officials, including Victorian Director Bede Payne, Dr Kim Rickard, who wrote the ‘Lost in Translation’ industry report, union organisers April Byrne and Daniel Francis, and Fiona Simpson, who looks after PR had clearly put a lot of work to make the launch a success.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe gave an excellent keynote speech linking the situation in our profession to the bigger insecure-work picture (he chairs a committee currently looking into the insecure work situation in Australia), and said he would continue to support the campaign.
Serbian interpreter Bisa Surla said all the things we’ve been hearing for many years about a lack of recognition and less than professional treatment of community interpreters.
The venue was wonderful: the Bella Bar of Trades Hall, located up old stone stars to a dimly lit room with an old fashioned bar, dark cream walls, a black stage, and strings of lights around the walls, felt just like an old music hall. We all sat at small round candlelit tables.
Whats the next step? APESMA’s Victorian Director Bede Payne says he now wants to sit down with AUSIT and ASLIA representatives, plus all other industry participants to discuss our common goals.
The community interpreting sector in particular needs the support of a professional union, and it seems this is our best chance in a long while to bring about much needed change. We would encourage AUSIT members from around Australia to join APESMA and help bring about that change.
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Article originally written and published in AUSIT In Touch magazine
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