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Update to TAALS membership on the current situation in the US and the issue of subpoena and confidentiality
Here is an update on the media storm around demands for a Congressional hearing requesting that President Trump’s interpreter and her consecutive notes be subpoenaed following the close doors meeting between presidents Trump and Putin.
As I indicated in my previous message, TAALS has been working very hard to respond energetically to this situation. I have been in touch with Aitor Arauz Chapman, of the AIIC Regional US Bureau, and our two professional associations are of one mind on this issue.
TAALS fully endorse and subscribes to the AIIC Code of Ethics (https://aiic.net/page/6724/code-of-professional-ethics-2018-version/lang/1)
We have been answering a storm of emails and requests for interviews.
We owe a special debt of gratitude to our wonderful colleague and TAALS Goodwill Ambassador Stephanie van Reigersberg who has agreed to take on many interviews and has done a magnificent job of representing our profession. I hope any of you have had the opportunity to read her contributions in the various articles and to hear her. This is a remarkable opportunity to educate the press and people in general about our profession and Stephanie was a most remarkable ambassador for our association and our profession as a whole, bringing her long experience as a diplomatic interpreter, a chief interpreter and a true diplomat to a very delicate task. Bravo Stephie!!!
Kudos also to our colleague Yuliya Tsaplina who kindly agreed to give an interview in Paris for the New York Times article and added some most important elements to the story. Spasiba, dear Yuliya!
And my heartfelt thanks to all those who have responded with words of support to your Association for the work we are doing, and for our colleague Marina. Please rest assured that I will pass these words on to your Council and to Marina.
The immediate danger of a subpoena has been averted when the Republicans obtained that the requests of the Democrats for the subpoena be tabled.
However, this may still happen in the Senate, so we are remaining extremely attentive.
To our US colleagues: some of you have asked what they could do, concretely: as a citizen (and a resident, yes, even if you do not vote) you can write to your Congressional representatives. Each of us have two Senators and one Representative. Below are links to help you find out who your legislators are:
I would recommend that you send a letter that is always courteous, but clearly states (or quotes) the AIIC Code of Ethics and the paramount importance to preserve the confidentiality of what takes place in meetings. It is good to remind people that the interpreter is a communication channel, that we do not participate in the discussion and that, for Heads of State, political and world leaders in any field to be able to express themselves freely during discussion, they must be able to rely on the absolute discretion of the interpreter.
Let me close by telling you how proud and honored I am to work and serve with the members of TAALS Council, its Officers and all its members, as well as all the members of this profession I love.
Yours, always.Pascale Ledeur Kraus
Dear colleagues and friends,
By now, you have all heard of the current situation in the United States where, following a meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin, the assigned interpreter is asked to testify before Congress about the content of the meeting and to surrender her consecutive notes.
Many of you have contacted me with most justified concern about the implications of this situations for our profession.
As a reminder, TAALS fully endorses and expects all its members to follows the AIIC Code of Ethics. I am attaching, for your reference the 2018 version to this message (highlights are mine to point out the relevant portions).
In its Articles 1 and 2 it states clearly
I. Purpose and Scope
II. Code of Honour
Basic Texts. "Code of professional ethics. February 26, 2014.
Besides the issue of professional secrecy, which is paramount, consecutive is a form of informal and very personal note-taking which relies heavily of very short-term memory. Unlike regular short-hand, which can be reread and transcribed, it is meant exclusively as a support for the " now-memory" of the interpreter for immediate rendition of meeting attendee. As such, the issue of legibility of consecutive notes to give a new read-out once a meeting is over would have to be considered.
It is TAALS' official position that in such a case as this one an interpreter is justified in declining to testify because s/he is bound by strictest professional secrecy.
Several people are working with me to take this opportunity to try and educate people about our profession.
With warmest regards to all,
Pascale F. Ledeur-Kraus,