Our History

We make knowledge accessible

Interpreter Commons (IC) creation in 2018

Interpreter Commons, a site and place for interpreters everywhere, is an evolution of the LinkedIn group Interpreting Think Tank and a response to the interest of the Interpreting Community in the impact of digitalization on our profession. In September 2018, Susana Rodriguez, Barbara Werderitsch and Jan Rausch produced a joint Kudov1 Platform Live Trial Report including peer-to-peer recommendations regarding the legal documentation interpreters sign with Kudo. This was possible thanks to consultations with other interpreters, among them Giovanna Lester.

The predisposition of other interpreters to write for our profession and the limitations of LinkedIn led to the creation of Interpreter Commons, an independent site by and for interpreters under the roof of Translation Commons whose non-profit status was granted by the IRS under Section 501 (c) (3) in October 2015. Constructing this site was so much work the present Core Council is keen for practicing interpreters with a true interest in the upholding of our profession to publish their dedicated articles under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License on our Articles by Interpreters section.

Practicing interpreters and interpreting students can also become otherwise engaged or propose their own initiatives or working groups to us. Interpreters and universities wishing to enhance the visibility of Academic Research on the subject of (the future of) interpreting, are invited to post their projects on the IC site. Other members of the Interpreting Community (LSPs, associations, tech providers) can publish their written contributions on our Guest Articles section.

Interpreter Commons (IC) would not exist without Susana Rodriguez’s and Ulrike Oster’s long hours of free counselling even before its inception. Nor without Giovanna Lester’s and Jan Rausch’s insights, ideas or manual work. Help us make the most out of it and become engaged to make a contribution to the self-governing of the Interpreting Community by putting more stress on what unites us than what divides us at a time where many paradigms are shifting: The grassroot project Interpreter Commons (IC) soley and absolutely depends on youthe practicing interpreter— to become a place by and for interpreters everywhere. For more information, kindly reach out to contactIC@translationcommons.org.

2017: Interpreting Think Tank (ITT) creation

Jeannette Stewart reached out to several language professionals in 2015, among them Nancy Matis and Barbara Werderitsch, with the proposal for a Survey: Mentoring for Translators & Interpreters conducted by TC under the wise guidance of Nancy Matis, with 547 respondents from countries around the world.

The initiative Survey: Mentoring for Translators & Interpreters was followed by a yet more ambitious Community initiative, the TC Mentoring Guidelines for Interpreters and Translators. Under the wise guidance of Nancy Matis and with truly diverse support from our International Community, they were partly conceived based on the above-mentioned survey and published in their second version in May 2019. This second version is currently being translated into Spanish and French.

Barbara Werderitsch’s involvement in the first version of the Mentoring Guidelines for Interpreters and Translators convinced her of the need to create a dedicated group by & for interpreters.  Jeannette Stewart‘s idea to specifically explore new interpreting technologies, therefore, resonated strongly with Barbara Werderitsch, leading to the creation of a dedicated Translation Commons Interpreting Think Tank.

The Translation Commons Interpreting Think Tank started by investigating Interpreting Delivery Platforms and created the LinkedIn group Interpreting Think Tank to provide a resonating board for interpreters about “all things concerning interpreting”. Its members, 828 in December 2020, posted a myriad of dedicated comments, articles, Q&As since the Interpreting Think Tank’s inception in April 2017. Several ongoing discussions within the ITT revolve around the impact of new technologies on our professional lives, market & working conditions. The joint presentation at LocWorld34 from the year 2017 provides an oversight on the state of the then far less extended new interpreting technologies. For that presentation, the input of Arturo Bobea, from Our Konnection, was very helpful.

2015: Translation Commons (TC) creation by Jeannette Stewart & Alan Stewart

The idea of Translation Commons (TC) was born with the realization that our industry would benefit from having an independent commons, a place to discuss freely and exchange ideas. So many conversations around what could be done to improve our daily working lives would find a home and gather momentum and advocates until things improve. Since we are a global industry, this home would have to be online. This is how the initial Advisory Board saw the Translation Commons. 

After many conversations during 2014 at language conferences, networking events and private meetings, Jeannette Stewart wrote a long-form article on LinkedIn “Can the Language Industry Embrace Collaborative Commons and Survive?”, which had an overwhelming response. In December 2014 she created a LinkedIn group called Translation Commons setting out the premise of community collaboration. Within 20 days, 1,000 members signed up and since then the numbers have been constantly increasing. As feasibility studies go, this was a runaway success.

Translation Commons was incorporated in the US by founders Jeannette Stewart and Alan Stewart in January 2015 and applied for nonprofit exempt status in April 2015. IRS granted TC nonprofit status under Section 501 (c) (3) in Oct 2015 and further classified TC as a public charity under Section 170 (b) (1) (A) (vi). Please read here the full story of Translation Commons and its main achievements.

Why Interpreter Commons

The Interpreter Commons Core Council and Translation Commons have put in many hours of work to make this website by and for interpreter practitioners happen. We are therefore more than happy for all practising interpreters with a true interest in the upholding of our profession to become engaged, publish their dedicated articles under our Articles by Interpreters section and/or propose any other initiatives or working groups to us. To do so, please click here to register with the non-profit Translation Commons. If you should require more information, alternatively, please reach us by email.

The name, Interpreter Commons, is a reflection of the new trend of collaborative commons, the opportunities stemming from it, and of a question Jeannette Stewart was bold enough to put out there for our International Community of Translators, Localizers, and Interpreters: Can our community work together to foster its self-governance mechanisms?