It’s not all about Chocolate

This was my first AIIC General Assembly, and I know some were worried I would come back disappointed, given the somewhat reduced format, and the complicated nature of some of the topics up for discussion.

And yet… I don’t think I could ever go with that.

I was indeed disappointed to go back, but only because it felt like it was too soon.

The Final Countdown. Waiting for the 38th General Assembly to start.

I got to follow AIIC38 in both formats, on-site, and then online as well for a bit, enjoying the hybrid format in all its complicated beauty, and it was a throwback to that absolutely unique kind of multitasking I hadn’t realized just how much I missed.

It was a pleasure to see everyone, and then dive, head first, into that whirlpool of social media exchanges that always accompany such events, surfacing back up only to enjoy more of that live interaction, a quick over-the-mask wink, a cheeky well-distanced drink, a good hearty laugh.

I still have no idea how the organizers had managed to pull it off, but I am more than glad they did.

This is going to be something to remember, something to treasure. And it has definitely given me more food for thought.

Hearing and auditory health were centre stage, for obvious reasons.

And I was heartbroken to hear about more cases of colleagues being forced to stop interpreting – some for good – due to severe damage caused to their hearing.

Retiring from a career of your choosing, especially one you love and enjoy, should never be forced upon you. But when this happens mere years after you’d embarked upon it – that’s just downright unfair. It’s painful, tragic, and yes, heartbreaking. And no one should have to go through it.

Which is why this issue should not be taken lightly.

If we can’t hear, we can’t interpret. It’s as simple as that.

Much work is being done in the area, hopefully more will follow.

We talked about how the times were changing, about distance interpreting, and its many implications, about the responsibility that we could carry, and the kind of responsibilities that were not ours to bear.

“Collective action leads to positive influence. And that is why AIIC is so important.” And after following the Assembly for the past four days, I can only – wholeheartedly – agree.

Another important #AIIC38 takeaway for me was the chance to see and enjoy the One Trial – Four Languages Exhibition again.

And it was good to just see everyone again. Share the same physical space, laugh over the same jokes, reference the exact same situations, – simple things like that. But made so special by this “physical-virtual conundrum” we still find ourselves.

To quote the TIME Magazine Editor-in-Chief, “To really establish trust in human relationships you need personal contact. You need to have some moments on the side of the video screen”.

It’s true for establishing trust. It’s true for sharing experience. It’s equally true for dealing with problems, and trying to solve them. And we, as a profession, have a couple of those to deal with.

Here’s to hoping this new year brings more in-person meetings, and more meaningful connections.

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