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InZone- The Center for Interpreting in Conflict Zones

Author: InZone
Published Date: 13 March 2013

Centre for Interpreting in Conflict Zones, InZone, was formally set up in 2010, at the Department of Interpretation of the University of Geneva with the objective “to improve communication in conflict zones by delivering virtual and on-site training to interpreters in the field.”

InZone was started with the understanding that interpreters often employed in conflict areas are individuals who speak English and the local language, but may lack essential professional interpretation and crisis management skills. This leads to a lack of proper communication between the interpreters and field staff and the local population, and acts as a major hurdle for carrying out appropriate needs assessment and for service delivery.

In order to address this communication barrier, InZone provides training to interpreters in conflict zones around the world through Virtual Institute, a comprehensive online learning environment for interpreters working in conflict areas. Virtual Institute provides a collaborative learning environment with modules that focus on professional ethics, skill development in consecutive interpreting, basic conflict resolution skills and offers tailored training courses related to organizational needs. Their overall mission addresses the areas of documentation and research, training and community-building.

The most innovative aspect about the Centre is that it tapped into an area that had hitherto been ignored. It was able to identify the training needs of interpreters in conflict areas and found a way to connect interpreters globally despite geographic dispersion in the most remote and dangerous areas. Through extensive research, they designed course modules that are “bite-sized”, and online activities that generally take no more than 10 minutes to complete in order to work around the technical difficulties surrounding connectivity in the field and participants’ work schedules. The courses are designed to be accessible and relevant to the interpreters’ cultural and work environment. Another important aspect is InZone’s emphasis on community building, sharing learning and experiences among interpreters who would generally be isolated otherwise.

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