Sunday, May 25, 2014

AIICing Your Way Through Life

Warning: If you are currently taking prescription medication for high blood pressure or are a heavy smoker, we recommend you stop reading now and consult with your GP prior to reading further.  This blog bears no liability for any acute or chronic cardiac or respiratory conditions due to readers’ emotional reactions stemming from this post.  Please note that we write with the purest of intentions, which is, to shed light on our profession and how to protect it.
AIIC, the august and respected association that protects and defends the working conditions of interpreters.

What does AIIC do for us? Well it defends the profession, DUH!

It does so by having massive bitchfights over petty grievances amongst the people in the managing bodies! We get the privilege to subsidise these with our dues!

Neverless, it must be acknowledged that AIIC is, above all, un label de qualité. Belonging to AIIC demonstrates that an interpreter belongs to the top tier of language professionals in the world, and that he or she sucked up to more #boomers than the entire cast of Debbie Does Dallas in order to get those sponsorship signatures.

Moreover, membership in AIIC means that the interpreter adheres to the most stringent of ethical standards: AIIC members ONLY have one professional domicile, AIIC members NEVER charge bottom of the barrel rates or undercut colleagues, AIIC members NEVER work from their C into their B, AIIC members NEVER double book, and AIIC members would NEVER do the nasty with one of their delegates while on assignment (Yes, we totally know who you are, and YES, we just totally blasted you on our blog!). AIIC members are so chaste and pure that they can (and should) be considered saints. In fact, reaching 150 days in AIIC working conditions is referred to as “reaching sainthood.” If this all sounds like a weird religious cult to you, rest assured it is not: a cult is a lot less intense.  

AIIC is the platform that young interpreters can use as a springboard to take their careers for to the next level. That is, if by next level, you mean having endless arguments about what percentage to charge for “webstreaming” in conferences, eating cheap catering from Exki, or wringing your hands about how the profession is dying and things were better circa 1975. Young interpreters will enjoy tense meetings where they are the only person under the age of 55, and mummified colleagues eye them with a mixture of rage and envy while surreptitiously asking for your business card “in case something comes up in the private market.”  New members also get to benefit from being in AIIC’s online directory. This is a great tool for looking up colleague’s addresses on Google Earth and trying to guess how much money they make from the look of their house. (Three swimming pools and you are complaining about not working enough? No more pity for you!)

Not all interpreters are members of AIIC.  Not all AIIC members are the world’s best interpreters, and not all accomplished and skilled interpreters are members of AIIC.  Plenty of them seem to hate it, in fact.  Why? Some say AIIC is irrelevant and a dinosaur from the post-war boom era, with no place in our globalised world. Some would-be members are denied entry because of a falling-out with someone with clout. Some simply believe that AIIC is a waste of dues money because the free market is the best way to set our rates and conditions, or they don’t want their job options to be restricted by trivial matters such as “ethics” and “standards”.   
AIIC is aware of the pressing need to recruit younger members to its ranks.  But does it know how to attract the under-40 set? (Hint: a Twitter account is only one step, Danica). Is it even in young interpreters’ best interest to join The Sainthood? Is it futile to even bother? Should we enlist to fight the good fight for interpreting standards, or learn to adapt to our current realities and environment? Will AIIC persevere in the digital age? Will it fall over and die with the last of its members? Or will it adapt and grow as an organisation? What exactly is wrong with AIIC and how can its newest members change that? Stay tuned until next time!

1 comment: