Calliope and its members all belong to the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), which sets standards in the field of conference interpreting.
Maya de Wit
Responsible for:Sign language interpreting worldwide
Working with the international and national deaf communities has provided me with many inspiring opportunities. My most memorable interpreting assignments include interpreting at the Paralympics in Lillehammer and at the European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities in 2012 and 2017 in Brussels. One remarkable event was the first ever PhD viva in Dutch Sign Language, which I interpreted with four other interpreters. Careful planning and intensive team work with my colleagues as well as the PhD candidate were necessary to make that interpreting challenge a success.
As a consultant interpreter, I like the complexity of coordinating multiple sign and spoken language teams and guiding the organizers through the process of working with interpreters before, during and after the event. One of my recent highlights was coordinating the interpretation for the ICSLA 2018 conference in Istanbul, where six different teams of interpreters worked together to deliver simultaneous interpreting in six spoken and sign languages.
A few noteworthy projects
- Interpretation Service Provider and Chief Interpreter, ICSLA Conference – Istanbul, June 2018
- Interpretation Service Provider and Chief Interpreter, International Conference Disability International – Amsterdam, November 2017
- Interpretation Service Provider for International Sign interpretation, COSAC meetings in cooperation with Congrestolken – The Hague, spring 2016
I have had the pleasure of working with Maya De Wit in her various capacities, as interpreter, as interpreter coordinator, and as an advisor and mentor. During the organization of the major conference “Multilingualism and equal rights in the EU: the role of sign languages”, with over 1,000 participants from all over Europe, Maya was the main interpreting advisor. The historic conference, which took place in the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Brussels, brought together more than 145 interpreters, who worked together in the 24 spoken EU languages and the 31 European sign languages. Maya supported us throughout the organizing process with her expertise and impressive network, both via email and in person. As always she was professional, friendly and keen to ensure the interpreters worked in the best possible environment. This was especially important for the sign language interpreters, as many of them had never worked at the European Parliament, since prior to the conference only Flemish Sign Language, Hungarian Sign Language, and International Sign had been used for official meetings and conferences.
Annika De Maeyer (née Pabsch), former advisor on disability and equality to MEP Helga Stevens, main organizer of the EP conference on multilingualism
I worked with Maya de Wit for the 3rd International Conference on Sign Language Acquisition (ICSLA2018). The official conference languages were Turkish Sign Language, American Sign Language, International Sign, Turkish and English. In addition, there were two further teams of sign language interpreters, making a total of 16 interpreters working for this three-day conference. Obviously, the success of a conference is very largely dependent on how accessible it is to the audience, so if the interpretation fails, your conference fails!
From the moment we agreed to work together for ICSLA2018, Maya de Wit coordinated the whole interpretation process - from selecting the best interpreters (ASL & IS) to coordinating different language teams, bridging the communication between presenters and interpreters, and even closely monitoring the sync among different interpreter teams during the presentations. She also guided me by being very open in her communications with the organizing committee and conference attendees and being clear about every single need of the interpreters. She was more than an interpreter coordinator - more like the conductor of an orchestra! I would like to reiterate the point that I made about her in my speech during the closing ceremony. Working with her was one of the best decisions that I have made in my life.
Beyza Sumer – Max Planck Institute, the Netherlands
Over the past six years, Kentalis has organized multiple events requiring sign language interpreting services. During one of the first events, we got to know Maya as a highly professional sign language interpreter, who received very positive reviews from deaf sign language users. For us, Maya stands out as a committed and motivated professional, which is clearly evident from her work.
We have also used Maya as a consultant and coordinator for sign language interpreting services, coordinating multiple teams during our larger events. She is friendly and clear in all her communications, which makes her very pleasant to work with. We are looking forward to working with her again at our upcoming events.
Pieter van Zelst – Project leader Kentalis Knowledge Events, the Netherlands
Council of Europe
World Federation of the Deaf
Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf (RID), USA
Register Tolken Gebarentaal (RTGS), Netherlands
International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC)
World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI)
European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters (EFSLI)
Dutch Association of Sign Language Interpreters (NBTG)
Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT)
European Union of the Deaf (EUD)