August 2018 Member Spotlight! Rafael Treviño

NIC Advanced

Washington, DC

Region II

Why do you have a passion for interpreting?

I think what I enjoy most about interpreting is the translational task itself. In a way, trying to convey someone else’s thoughts is an act of audacity. This is especially true because we, as humans, know that it’s hard enough to convey our own thoughts clearly, much less someone else’s. Add to this the fact that we’re often working between differing worldviews. But we do it anyway, and with aplomb. José Ortega y Gasset has an essay entitled “The Misery and Splendor of Translation” (1934), and I think the title is a good description of what we do. We have an impossible task before us, but each time we interpret is a time either to grow or to celebrate a job well done or both!

Where does your passion lie? Is it in being a bridge between hearing and deaf constituents? Is it in your love for the Deaf community? Is it in interpreting itself? Is it in the “Aha” moment when those you interpret for reach the intended level of understanding made possible through your interpretation?

My passions have multiplied over the years. When I first entered this field, I was most passionate about the act of interpreting and languages of all kinds. I soon became concerned about the public’s lack of awareness about the Deaf community. Lately, my passions have grown to include research into innovative practices in interpreter education and fostering Latinx interpreters and other interpreters of color, both Deaf and hearing.

Is there a golden rule to maintaining longevity in this profession?

I don’t think there’s a universal golden rule; I think people have to learn what works for them. What has helped me stay in the game is diversifying my interests (interpreting, translation, teaching, research) and learning what I need to be happy in the places where I work.

What was your first official interpreting experience?

It’s a little hazy now, but I remember one of my first official interpreting experiences being a group meeting. What I do remember clearly is that the assignment was about an hour and a half away from Tampa city, which is probably why no one jumped on it. I figured, however, that if I could demonstrate I was a good, ethical, professional interpreter with these hard-to-fill jobs, then eventually my job offerings would increase. And they did.

When did you know, “This is for me!”?

For a brief time, I considered leaving the interpreting field. I wrote down the must-have criteria interpreting afforded me that I wanted to keep, which included 1) a flexible schedule; 2) exposure to new settings and experiences; and 3) a good salary. Fortunately, I couldn’t find anything that could match up, even with just these three criteria, and s