Whilst coursing the London MET´s Conference interpreting MA I was involved in a group assignment where as a group of students we were asked to make a presentation regarding one of the many practical challenges we may encounter in the profession.
After the usual back and forthing of emails, whatsapps and bouncing of ideas it became apparent that we were not going to settle for the usual topics (booth manners, client liaison, dealing with agencies…). This also meant that a few weeks in we still did not have anything to work with. Alas our eureka moment came in a very millennial way via a bit of the old Instagram scrolling and a quick search under the hashtag #ConferenceInterpreting, which provided us with a barrage of videos and pictures some of which were rather worrying.
Interpreters recording themselves in the booth and uploading videos whilst on assignment, pictures of preparation papers with clients’ details in full view, geotagging (look it up), names of clients published left right and centre, the not so LOLable #ViewFromTheBooth hashtag, and selfies. Myriads of selfies: selfies in sound booths, selfies in meeting rooms, buffet queue selfies and why not, hotel room bathtub selfies! (#TiredTerp)
It seemed that either interpreters were getting increasingly narcissistic or were overly prepared in which case the devil was finding work for those idle thumbs to press the share button on.
Perhaps up and coming interpreters had not given much thought to this and with social media being part and parcel of their upbringing this was just a normal thing to do. Yet lo and behold, the existing and supposed “older” ones were over sharing too. Whatever the reason, we had worrying cuantitative data showing that interpreters did not quite know how to negotiate their social media presence whilst ensuring that client confidentiality and the reputation of our profession was being maintained.
Some may argue that this is a matter of style and, if we disregard the existing codes of conduct, a matter of personal opinion too. For us, it was here that we found a gap where we could really make a difference in the community. We therefore ran an online survey which informed the launch of an online campaign called: conference interpreting – confidentiality and the use of social media. We made a quirky video of do’s and don’ts and thought up a hashtag (#1ntHUSH) to push the campaign on the Twittersphere, where most of the conference interpreting interaction takes place.
In mid 2017 the campaign was approved by our course leader and immediately published. #1ntHUSH a hushtag (not a hashtag) inviting interpreters to hush be quiet when it came to sharing specific information about their interpreting assignments was off to sail the interwebs hoping for a positive reaction. Fortunately we were not alone in thinking that there are ways of putting yourself out there without compromising our professional integrity and your client’s confidentiality.
The Marx Brothers of Conference Interpreting in their monthly podcast, the Troublesome Terps, seemed to agree and were early champions of the initiative. Since then #1ntHUSH has become a tool that can be used to produce online content that is risk free, engaging, creative, educational, and why not COOL. This was our contribution to the community. A contribution that as of today, has been given the official seal of approval by the UK’s branch of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC).