An entrepreneurial interpreter/translator is aiming to rebuild a professional society for those who work in the field.

Eileen Kilabuk, seen here in her home community of Pangnirtung, is attempting to revive a Nunavut association of interpreters and translators. photo courtesy of Eileen Kilabuk

Eileen Kilabuk, owner of Edmonton-based Inuktut Translations, is seeking peers interested in joining an association, looking into the requirements to register a society and hoping for support from the newly-formed 5th legislative assembly.

Having a society of interpreters/translators would be beneficial by creating a central registry of certified service providers, she said.

“That would give you more business,” said Kilabuk, who pointed out that businesses are now required by law to provide various Inuktut services and signage under the Inuit Languages Protection Act.

The society would oversee professional standards, bylaws, a code of ethics and training and development opportunities. It could act as a resource for those in need of particular dialects or specific terminology. It would also provide a stronger voice to members on issues relating to the standardization of Inuktut and the use of syllabics, Kilabuk added.

Open to those who work with Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun, she is hoping for 100 or more members to join the society.

“I’m trying to generate a list of names. I’m interested in getting representation from each region and Sanikiluaq,” she said.

Rhoda Cunningham, owner and president of Iqaluit-based Innirvik Support Services for the past 20 years, sees a role for such a society.

“I think that would be useful,” Cunningham said. “It would create a network. If they use a website (with a) translator-friendly format, we could look up our connections with other interpreters/translators, tell our experiences and have all the resources in there like databases, glossaries, dictionaries, links – something that would always be developing into a bigger resource over time is how I see it helping.”

Although Innirvik employs upwards of 30 contractors during busy periods, there’s still a tendency for individual interpreter/translators to feel isolated at times, Cunningham said.

“We need a big (society) over Nunavut and eventually include the circumpolar Inuit languages, I think,” she said. “We need that network in place.”

A society representing Nunavut interpreters and translators previously existed. Nunattinni Katujjiqatigiit Tusaajinut was active until several years ago. Kilabuk said she’s been exploring the potential to revive it under that name, but if that’s not possible she’s prepared to launch a new organization that could be affiliated with Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council.

Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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