In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020 the Canadian Parliament rapidly moved its meetings online. The lack of proper technical infrastructure and poor practice caused several interpreters, CAPE TR members, to be injured on the job, with a record number of incidents reported weekly.
(Read our report - PDF)
One incident is one too many.
What you can do:
- Use the proper equipment: no matter what, ensure your headset has a built-in microphone. It is imperative for interpreters to be able to do their work, and it makes hearing you easier for anyone listening.
- Interrupt meetings or skip a speaker or witness: In formal meetings like committees or debates, when the sound or the equipment is not up to standard, the chair or speaker should either interrupt the meeting or skip any speaker or witness who is not complying with the guidelines. Better that than sending someone to the hospital!
- Lobby and vote in favour of budget to modernize the House AV equipment: Encourage Parliament to fund the updating of its audio-visual system so that it is brought up to modern standards for remote simultaneous interpretation.
- Be kind and supportive when interpreters interrupt: from time to time, interpreters will elect to interrupt service, and a decision they never take lightly given the impact their decision has on government proceedings. Remember that they do it to avoid hearing loss, adverse cognitive effects and mental burnout.
It’s all about health and safety, period.
Your support will go a long way in sparing the interpreters the cumulative physical damage of straining to understand, when the sound is demonstrably insufficient to allow them to do their job, or of such poor quality that it damages their eardrum and causes impairment, immediately or over regular exposure.
Spread the word!
- Download PDF poster to post at your office
- Share social media messages - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn
- Hill Times editorial: One incident is one too many
- Virtual Parliament and Interpreters
- Report - PDF: CAPE’s Recommended Actions To Solve Interpreters’ Health and Safety Concerns