Lifestyle: Tourist. Citizenship: Global, Community Interpreters at the Cusp of a Postmodern World

“It is the magic of nationalism to turn chance into destiny” Benedict R. O’G. Anderson

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If you are a Punjabi/English community, liaison or public service interpreter living in Lucerne, Switzerland, you might consider moving to Vancouver, Canada to improve your job opportunities. And if that does not work out, you might consider living in Toronto, Canada, or any number of other cities where there is a significant population that speaks Punjabi as a minority language. Community interpreting, “bidirectional interpreting that takes place in communicative settings (2.2.3) among speakers of different languages for the purpose of accessing community services…may involve both private and public services provided by private or public interpreting service providers…[and]… includes, for example, services to tourists and disaster victims.” (ISO13611), is an ebb and flow occupation that tends to parallel global immigration and refugee migration trends. Which means that a community interpreter can experience both an economic drought and a fiscal feast. What if interpreters, instead of waiting for markets to come to them, went to their markets? Or as Silver Keskküla says, “change your coordinates and you might just find yourself out of an employment dislocation situation.”

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