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By Cal Martin, past chair Interpretation Canada 

Last year's Conference in Korea

 

Cal in Korea with Jamie Cabral (United States), and Minyan Zhao (China)

If you are like me, you find that being around interpreters is an endlessly rewarding experience. I look for any opportunity to share stories with my colleagues – whether it is around a campfire, in a pub, or at a conference. Normally, when we seek these opportunities, it is with local interpreters at a fun and stimulating regional gathering. But, the chance to meet and discuss ideas with other interpreters from around the world is a chance of a lifetime.
 
In spring of 2014, I travelled halfway around the world to South Korea for NAI’s international interpretation conference. It proved to be just as valuable as I hoped it would be. I met conference participants from dozens of other countries, and explored what ties us together as a profession. I attended a wide variety of sessions, such as visitor profiles in India’s tiger preserves, interpretive planning in China’s parks, and a new approach to visitor-based interpretation from Denmark. It was fascinating to see how challenges in interpretation can be both similar and different in very diverse countries. 
 
The conference was incredibly stimulating, and one of the highlights of my interpretive career. To share ideas with a global community seemed like a chance of a lifetime! And, I’m not going to lie to you: bonding with other interpreters over late night karaoke and strange new foods is pretty fun, too.
 
But, now I feel doubly blessed, since the international conference is in Canada this year. As a joint effort between NAI and Interpretation Canada, this international conference will be held in the beautiful city of Montreal in May, 2015.
 
It is fitting that the conference is in Canada this year. It is the 30th anniversary of the First World Congress on Interpretation, held in Banff in 1985. That year saw the gathering of a new global community of interpretive professionals to connect, learn from each other, and discuss the future of the profession.
 
It will be interesting to see where we are 30 years later. We are expecting 150-200 participants from around the world. We already have registrations from 8 provinces and territories, 10 US states, 7 counties, and 3 continents, and there are more each day. It is a phenomenal opportunity to be part of a global community without leaving Canadian soil.
 
Will you be there? I hope so!
 

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Suncheon Bay, South Korea, where the 2014 conference was held.
 

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One of the offsite-session groups.