Warm Welcomes: Incoming NOTIS Board Members

01/26/2023 02:40 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

In January of 2023, the Board of Directors at NOTIS welcomed two new members to its ranks: Howard Chou, a Mandarin and Cantonese <> English community and healthcare interpreter, and Timothy Gregory, an Arabic to English (mostly literary, mostly science fiction and fantasy) translator. Beyond their biographies, which you can read here, on the NOTIS website, we asked them to share a bit about their experience in the field(s)—and, in the case of Howard, some advice for colleagues. Read on to learn more!

Directors are elected for a two-year term, which can be renewed up to two more times. Interested in volunteering? Want to learn more? Contact info@notisnet.org (and/or consult our bylaws here).

Howard Chou

What I enjoy the most about interpreting is helping the person with limited English proficiency (LEP) communicate with the providers. I always feel that by doing so, I make the world a slightly better place for those that need our service. 

One of my most rewarding experiences in the field was when I helped an LEP in a Labor and Delivery session. It was five and a half hours long, and, after the baby was born, the new parents decided to name the baby after me. (Can you imagine there is another Howard running around town?)

My most challenging experience was interpreting for the parents of a two-year-old girl that drowned in the neighbor's pool. The session was transferred to me from a colleague that was not able to continue. The deceased was already wrapped in a white blanket when I took over and the charge nurse was carrying her to the morgue in the basement with the parents following behind. For the next two weeks, I had to sleep with the lights on, and, to this date, the image of that white blanket still pops in my head from time to time...

A piece of advice I would like to share with my colleagues is "LET IT GO." Vicarious trauma is our worst enemy in this profession. Talk to your supervisor and your colleagues and seek professional help if you notice any physical or mental changes as soon as possible. At the end of the day, turn off the computer, throw the keys on the dresser, pour yourself a stiff drink, light up a cigar, get the music going and have a party.

Howard’s NOTIS mission statement:
This past year of volunteering for NOTIS’s CID (Community Interpreter Division) has been the best time in my interpreting career. I have enjoyed all the meetings and events in which I’ve participated, and I’ve learned so much from my colleagues here. As a board member, I will contribute as much as I can to help NOTIS prosper,  to help educate the members to be better interpreters, and to close more linguistic and cultural gaps in the community.

Tim Gregory

The thing I enjoy most about translating is the constant challenge. I know quite a few people who find their field and their niche in it and are happy to translate the same sorts of things all day every day. They become a master of that domain. My career has followed a more meandering path; I’ve translated a lot of personal documents, years of military and government, a smattering of religious and technical texts, and I am focusing my literary efforts on science fiction and fantasy, which can include a bit of all of the above. The new opportunities to learn and stretch my mind keep the job fresh and exciting for me. 

Tim’s NOTIS mission statement:
I’ve been a member of NOTIS since approximately 2007 when I attended my first workshop for the ATA certification (then accreditation) exam. After attending just a couple of in-person events, I knew that I had found my tribe: a group of people who were deeply interested in the same sorts of things I was. Professionalism in translation, a constant quest for self-improvement, and an environment that is supportive rather than competitive. One of my favorite features of NOTIS is that the organization is member-driven. The training offered, whether online or in-person, comes organically from within. If someone has something to share, or notices that a friend or colleague has something to share, NOTIS will help create the venue. In particular, the NOTIS-backed Northwest Literary Translators group has helped me find a home among like-minded friends. As a member of the NOTIS board, I will work diligently to continue this collegial mindset of peer mentoring, skills development, and friendly support.

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