saf Reports 2013

Reports from the SAF participants at efsli AGM & conferences



Ivana Bucko, Mihailo Gordić and Desanka Žižić

Desanka Zizic Ivana Bucko Mihailo Gordic









We had the opportunity to attend the 2014 efsli AGM and conference in Antwerp (Belgium) thanks to the efsli SAF. Every efsli AGM and conference are unique and special events for many reasons:

LEARNING: conference presentations offer food for thought and new perspectives on interpreting theory and pratice. What we take from them are precious “seeds” that we are happy to cultivate in our own country and share with our colleagues back home.

NETWORKING: we exchange experiences, views and ideas with colleagues from all over Europe (and the world) … and we often find out that “the interpreters’ world” is so small and we have so much in common 🙂

MAKING FRIENDS AND HAVING FUN: through the years colleagues become friends and the efsli Saturday night dinner and disco are always a moment of great fun!

This year we felt even closer to efsli as in April 2014 we hosted the efsli Spring school in Belgrade! And we were proud to contribute to the efsli SAF by giving a special Serbian liqueur for the efsli auction in order to collect money for the SAF. Participating in the efsli AGM and conference is like opening a window to breathe some fresh air. We travelled back to our country with new energy and ideas in our mind.

We are grateful to the SAF Committee and the efsli Board for giving us this opportunity, the Flemish Association of Sign Language Interpreters (BVTG) for organising a great conference and for their warm welcome. Last but not least, we would like to thank our own association, the Serbian Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ATSZJ), for supporting us and our participation in the 2014 efsli annual events.

We look forward to seeing you all in Poland next year!


Nives Gotovac

Nives Gotovac








This year it was my first attendance to efsli AGM thanks to SAF. I already attended efsli Conference last year in Ljubljana and had a chance to meet wonderful lecturers and colleagues from all across Europe. Those contacts made in Ljubljana were more deepened this year as I meet most of the colleagues/ lecturers from last year and also some new ones. Regarding to that I think that efsli events are a great place to meet and discuss new or old ideas and make better conclusions.

One more thing was really important to me this year – our Interpreters Society is still struggling with some Statute changes we need to make in
order to become full efsli member- so efsli AGM and Conference were great opportunity to meet president Peter Llewellyn-Jones and discuss necessary
changes. Also he mentioned possibility of a short Training in Croatia regarding thedifference between Interpreter and Translator since in our country some of
their tasks tend to be misunderstood or even wrongly explained and somegroups of Deaf use them wrongly ( they think that Interpreter is a person
who does only Signed Croatian Language interpretation and Translator to bea person who is there not just to interpret but also to help them when they
face difficulties in decision making process ).

During efsli Antwerp 2014 I also had a chance to confirm some details for efsli Training on demand that was held in Zagreb November 2014.,
so again great chance to talk to the wonderful Marinella Salami and LieveRoodhooft about needs of Croatian Interpreters and what was needed for theTraining.

In addition to working part of efsli Antwerp 2014. I need to add that I wasabsolutley astonished by Cultural dinner event as well as efsli raffle and
dinner followed afterwards. It was pleasure to be there and to experiencethose four very, very short days 🙂

Big thank to SAF first, for choosing me for this years applicant, second to efsli for great AGM and Conference and to Flemish Association of Sign
Language Interpreters – BVTG for their welcome and wonderfulorganisation.

Of course I need to thank to my Association- Croatian Sign LanguageInterpreters and Translators Society for paying my travel expenses to come to Antwerp.

Hope to see you all again in Warszaw 🙂



Renata Swiderska

Magdalena Sipowicz

Magdalena Ljubliana

May 2013 was a time when I would nervously check my e-mail several times a day in anticipation of a reply from SAF. Thoughts about what kind of an answer I would receive were whirling in my head. Will I be rejected as last year? When the glorious day came, I was the happiest person on earth.

I nearly lost my life in a major head-on train crash in 2012. I suffered from numerous injuries, I was in a coma for almost two months and one of my legs was amputated. Why mention it? Because my motivation to go on is my family and sign language. Interpreting is my passion. Therefore going to Slovenia was both a dream come true and conquering an impossibility for me.

This year’s EFSLI conference took place between 13 and 15 September in the beautiful Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. Interpreters from 26 countries had a chance to attend lectures concerning the topic “Technology vs interpreter. Support or replacement”. The organizer of the conference was the Slovenian Association of Sign Language Interpreters.

On the first day I was pleasantly surprised and even touched by the idea of welcoming EFSLI members from various countries with a humorous presentation. I had a great laugh at it.

In the two days of the conference 6 papers were presented. The first one, entitled “Examining questions of interpreting and video remote technology”, was delivered by Prof. Jemina Napier (UK). The presentation gave a wide view of the issues discussed during the conference. Several major topics were addressed in the paper, first of all, how the Deaf and interpreters will find themselves in the situation of a remote translation. Secondly, on what level is this kind of interpretation and what issues must the interpreter pay attention to while interpreting on-line. Also, what’s most important, at what kind of services can we expect a remote interpretation of high quality?

The remaining papers, such as ones by the current EFSLI President Peter Llewellyn-Jones or by a Deaf interpreter Knut Weinmeister were equally inspiring and fascinating. They brought technological novelties closer to the participants, but also provoked into thinking whether the technological progress is of use to the interpreter, or does it aim at displacing him from the labour market.

Will the natural interpreting style be replaced by on-line interpretation? On the final day, the speakers were David Wolfenden and Christopher Stone. I remember their paper best, possibly because they are both hearing people. Their paper proved that it would be extremely hard to live without our technical gadgets.  If already our grandfathers, or fathers witnessed the transition from analogue telephones to digital ones, then our children do not have a chance to observe such spectacular development. They grew with the fast-changing technology and cannot do without it any more. There arises a question of whether it is also the fate of interpreters, will they be deprived of the natural, close relationship with their clients? Will they only be a small picture in the corner of a screen? Or maybe they will be replaced by avatars?

A big cheer goes to the group of interpreters whom I observed throughout the conference, and who did awesome work. Congratualtions!

Beside the essential part of the conference, there was a boat tour of Ljubljana as well as a walk in the capital city and a party with dancing to Slovenian music. There was an unforgettable raffle, too, with the massive teddy bear which everybody refused to have. My heart warms at remembering all this.

Those were my reflections and experiences as I was leaving the stunning Slovenia, feeling tired but happy, and hoping to attend the conference next year in Belgium. I would like to encourage other EFSLI members who never came to the conference to take part in it. It doesn’t matter if your English or IS isn’t perfect. Try and find within you the will to acquire new knowledge and skills in a wonderful atmosphere among incredible people. Interpreters at EFSLI conferences are really up to the mark, but they are willing to share their knowledge and experience. I would like to incite you to learn foreign languages, I realise I would have benefitted even more from the trip if my command of English was better. I believe that courage and a will to communicate with another person is more important, though.

Thank you to each and everybody at SAF, I am most grateful to you for being able to be there with you. See you in Antwerp! ☺


Helin Metsasalu

This year´s Efsli AGM and conference is now over. Many emotions, new experiences and new people.

I need to mention that Ljubljana is a wonderful city. I felt like at home there.

It was great to be one of the six chosen ones, that SAF supported. Otherwise I would not have been able to visit Efsli´s AGM and conference in Ljubljana.

This year´s theme „Technology vs. Interpreter“ was really interesting to me. I am still learing to become a sing language interpreter, so I will have to get used to the technology around us. It is inportant to teach us to use technology in our advantage. Also, there are no VRS and VRI services in Estonia, so it´s good to listen about other countries experience. Because in the future we have to start developing VRS and VRI in Estonia.

I had two favourite presentations. First I really loved Hilde Haualand´s presentation about „Interpreting Ideals and Relaying Rights“. She introduced us interpreting-service in USA, Norway and Sweden. Big thanks to Hilde for such an interesting presentation.

I also loved Len Robertson´s and Sherry Shaw´s presentation about „Technology and Interpreters – Friends or Foes?“, where they introduced their wiev on that topic. Big thanks to them too.

One really interesting part of the conference to me was to see so many translators and interpreter working. I tried to see how their group was working together.

Helin Metsasalu copy

Efsli gave me a lot of motivation to continue my studies. This proffession has so much to offer me and I hope I can give something back too.
I am waiting forward to next year, so we can all meet again. „Mind Tricks“ is calling me.

Thank You!

It has been a wonderful experience for me and it was possible only thanks to the financial support of SAF.


Marija Marković and Jovana Vujić

First we would like to express our gratitude to the SAF and EFSLI for enabling us to be for the first time a part of an international event of sign language interpreters. For Marija and me/us this was an unforgettable experience. We can say invaluable experience.

We would also like to thank the Association of Serbian Sign Language Interpreters (ATSZJ), which has recognized our efforts and work, as well as our potentials and recommend us for this event.

From the very beginning of Efsli AGM we got “tailwind” and a lot of energy for further work in our country. We are very happy and proud that at the Efsli AGM we had representatives from our country, Desanka Žižić and Vera Jovanović. Everything was cheerful until the moment Marinella Salami introduced the new EFSLI Board, thanked everyone and greeted the outgoing Board, when we got a little sad. It was very emotional and touching so a few tears were visible on our faces and on the faces of other people.

We are sure that we will have excellent cooperation with them as well as we had with the previous Board. And we were even more convinced about that talking to them the next day during breaks, at the Conference.

EFSLI Conference has made a strong impression on us. We followed everything very carefully. We heard and learned many new things and we will do
our best to apply this knowledge in practice in our country. All the information that we got, we will share with our colleagues in Serbia.
We would like to give a special thank for the possibility to follow the presentations in our language (Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin) which allowed us to fully participate in the event.

We heard and learned many new things but we also had a great time. We really enjoyed the river cruise and city tour especially for the fact that this was our first visit to Ljubljana and Slovenia.

Slovenian night was beautiful, with excellent food, various drinks and traditional dance – Polka. It was a real fun. And polka made us all dance/shook us pretty good.

We thank the Association of Slovenian Sign Language Interpreters for a very good organization and warm hospitality.

We need to mention, and not without pride, that the Serbian Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ATSZJ) at this year’s EFSLI Conference was represented by: Desanka Žižić, Vera Jovanović, Ivana Bućko, Svetlana Pešić, Marija Marković and Jovana Vujić.
For the first time we also had two Deaf participants, Mihailo and Slađana Gordić who attended the Working Seminar for Deaf Interpreters.

Next year EFSLI AGM and Conference will be held in Antwerp, Belgium and we eagerly wait for September 2014.

Marija and Jovana


Riin L. Rei

I am so thankful for this opportunity I had!

Being the 6th chosen one gave me a feeling that this conference is kind of like a miracle for me. When I arrived I felt it even more because Ljubljana is a fairy-tale city. The dragons, unicorns and heroes! This location was absolutely perfect because of the weather, old-town and calmness that was on the streets as well as in the conference room!

I really enjoyed AGM because of its fun atmosphere. It was interesting to see Efsli board and elections. For me personally it was so heart-warming to see how loving and caring people in Efsli are. This experience gave me a strong feeling of wanting to be a part of it.

The conference part was very motivational. I liked to see other countries programs and solutions for video interpreting. Presentations gave me a lot to think about. Since I am quite new on the Sign Language interpreting field then for me was there a lot of new information and new point of views. I also have to say that the theme “interpreting vs technology” was really good. Like many speakers said – technology is here to stay and we have to cooperate with it.

I am truly grateful for SAF or providing me the opportunity to take part in this conference. I loved Slovenia, the heart-warming atmosphere and the subject of this conference!



Ivana Bućko and Desanka Žižić

There are no words that can explain the amount of energy and self-confidence that we got from this efsli conference. All of us who were there, gathered around the same issues and the desire to be better in our profession, who shared the same enthusiasm, new ideas and information gave us the strength and charged our batteries to raise profession in our country.
Thanks to the SAF and support from our national Association of Serbian Sign Language Interpreters we became part of the European family of interpreters, and got infected by the efsli bug. Without the support from SAF our participation wouldn’t be possible. We are happy and proud because we had the opportunity to represent interpreters from Serbia at such an important event.

AGM 15

We applaud and admire all people who have worked on the organization of this year’s conference. The moment when Maya the Wit handed over the presidency touched us all. We want to use this opportunity to thank Maya De Wit, and we wish lots of good energy, success and fun to Marinella Salami and to the efsli board as well.

Each session we attended was more than enlightening, and we thank to the presenters for the knowledge they shared with us. 20th Anniversary celebration gave this event magical touch and made it even more beautiful. Our free time was very well programmed, and it made our stay in this great city unforgettable.

And finally, we want to express our gratitude for the fact that this year we were able to follow presentations in our first language, Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin Language. We hope that this will become a good practice in the future.

Next year, efsli conference will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Slovenia is relatively close to Serbia, and we believe that we will be able to participate with more interpreters from our country and the region.
Thanks again to efsli, thanks to SAF, and thanks to everyone who helped us to spend three wonderful days among the people from whom we learned a lot. We will do our best to share this experience and knowledge with our colleagues who didn’t have the possibility to participate this year at efsli magical event. And we hope that every year more and more Serbian interpreters will get infected by efsli bug.


Malgorzata Limanowka

I’m very happy, that SAF offered me a big opportunity to take part in efsli conference.

This year me and three other participants from the Association of Polish Sign Language Interpreters took part in this wonderful events. For me that was the first time to take part in such an inspiring event. Three of us could be a part of the conference thanks to SAF. And for the second time Polish Association was represented by a Deaf member of our board.

It was my first international conference, so I was a little bit scared about it. Fortunately, all my fears were not so big for the next day, because other interpreters seemed to be open-minded and cheerful people. I have got lot of information about Deaf community and sign languages from other countries. Very important for me that was the atmosphere of the conference.

I was surprised that language barrier was not the reason for me not to communicate with representatives of different countries and to share our experience with each other. Back to my country I was glad to share my experience with my colleagues from the Association of Polish Sign Language Interpreters, and write an article on a web page of our association about that conference.

I would love to come to efsli conference again, next year!


Daniela Miler

Another efsli conference is over! It always gives a kind of a sad, bitter feeling at first, because it is such an enjoyment to participate it that it is hard to accept the fact that it has ended already. Thanks to SAF, and thanks to all colleagues who had donated funds to the SAF fund, I was honored with a possibility to join the efsli conference again, as a SAF recipient.
It made me very happy and enthusiastic, since I already knew that efsli conference is an event where all senses are fed, being the ideal place to learn a lot, to meet people and exchange knowledge, experience and ideas, to entertain and many, many other things.

This year’s topic of the conference, Be aware! Power and responsibility, brought many interesting sessions, posters, lecturers and professionals who gave their view on the topic; ways and reasons to be responsible, (right) ways to use power in everyday work and how to make power responsible. I liked all the sessions, and a pity is that there were again parallel sessions, which makes it impossible to see/visit all of them.

As for the organizational part, it is hard to find the appropriate words to describe how perfectly everything was organized and how smoothly it all went. The materials produced, the fantastically beautiful conference venue, the I-am-still-speechless-Costume-ball for the 20th anniversary of efsli…Compliments to the whole ÖGSDV Association, especially to the incredible girls Barbara and Hanna.

The saddest moment of the conference was saying goodbye to Maya as an efsli president, and this saying goodbye started at the AGM and continued throughout the entire conference. It was so clear that all people who know Maya are very fond of her. I am, of course, one of them, liking her a lot ever since the time we first met in Zagreb. In fact, she was the one who discovered efsli to me, and so will I try to share the knowledge gained in Austria with my colleagues in Croatia and spread the word about efsli and the wonderful people which efsli brings together.


Michał Bernard Łach

Hello everyone 🙂
In the beginning I would like to thank for the financial support that I was able to participate in the AGM and conference in the framework of the SAF. I am extremely grateful for their participation in an international meeting. In addition to my support of the Polish SAF received a Limanówka Małgorzata and Tomasz Swiderski.

Three days of the general meeting and the conference was very successful for me because it was interesting meeting of sign language interpreters from all over Europe, especially since I was able to exchange experiences with deaf and hearing interpreters.AGM 39

On the first day – it was an amazing experience, but on the other hand I was a little disappointed. I was the only deaf delegate to the AGM, fills me with pride and terrible stress, but very very fond memories of this meeting, curiously watching how they operate and how efsli board ran election to the board when they left most dedicated activists, including Maya de Wit and Stéphane Gobert. Besides me, the AGM of the Polish president STPJM also represented Alexander Kalata-Zawłocka. I hope that at the next AGM in Slovenia will be more than one deaf delegates.

And while the other two days – it was efsli conference on “Power and Responsibility”. Some of the topics were very inspiring. Liked topics such as:
• “Issues of Power and Responsibililty in Sign Langugage Interpreting and Withing Sign Language Users Communities” Patricia Shores Herman
• “Identity Issues in Sign Interpreting. The Power and Responsibility of Representing the Identities of Others” Flora Savvalidou
Also, I also had the pleasure to take part in a workshop prepared by the duo: Christopher Tester and Sharon Neumann Solow on the team of Deaf-hearing interpreter. It is at this workshop, you can learn a lot to learn as may be problems in the team. What you need to do to solve the problem between the deaf and the hearing was correct.

I am very happy and I had a chance to look at how they work in co-operation hearing and Deaf interpreters during the conference. It was an amazing experience and I can see that many before me have a lot of learning to be a good interpreter.

It was an opportunity to exchange information and establish contacts with interpreter from all Europe.

Big thanks to SAF and efsli and to all the translators who could offer financial support.


Radka FaltinovaAGM 46

Thanks to the support of the SAF I was lucky to attend the annual meeting of the European Forum of Sign Language Interpreters – EFSLI, and follow-up conference, this time on the theme “Be Aware. Power and responsibility in the field of Sign Language Interpreting. ” The attendants were discussing power and responsibility of an interpreter, because each of us has to work with it in some way in our everyday life. The event took place in the nearby Vienna.


On Friday, 14th September, the representatives of member countries of EFSLI gathered at the annual meeting. There are 29 member organizations in total in EFSLI. For the meeting came the representatives of 22 of them. During the meeting several important things happened. The budget for 2012 was accepted. An important item on the agenda was the election of the EFSLI Board. Our favorite president Maya de Wit ends. It was necessary to elect a new President of EFSLI. Marinella Salami has become the new president. She had been the member of the Board, who had taken care for interpreters training. Our Czech Chamber has worked with her several times on the organization of Prague EFSLI schools, courses for interpreters from all over Europe. Immediately after his election, however, Marinella said she is willing to take the president post only in 2013, as in the end of the year ends her three-year term in the EFSLI Board. So, EFSLI will during the next year continue to seek a new president. Another member of the Board stepped down, Stéphane Gobert, his post took over Josje Muntedam from the Netherlands. Thus, the new Board has only four members instead of proper 5. But I keep my fingers crossed that next year more people infected by the virus called “EFSLI bug” – the beetle, which drives all of us to a common activity. Farewell to Maya, who was the head of EFSLI for 6 years (yes, it’s amazing how time flies, she was elected to the Prague EFSLI), and Stéphane, which has left after three years. Maya and Stéphane got many flowers and memory objects, and there were some tears as well, even though it was a conscious decision in case of both of them. What to say after all these words of thanksgiving, which already sounded – perhaps only to repeat that we here in the Czech Republic are grateful for their work in the field of professional sign language interpretation. Thanks, Maya, Stéphane! And good luck Marinella and Josje in their new tough positions!
The AGM discussed various agenda all day long, but I will just mention one more thing. Hungarian organization of interpreters, which has not paid fees for four years and it cannot be reached anyhow, was eliminated from the member organizations of EFSLI.


On Saturday and Sunday the meeting was followed by the EFSLI conference. The theme was the power and responsibility of an interpreter. Hearing and Deaf speakers from different countries of Europe came to talk about this important topic. The contributions were all very interesting, I would like to mention a lecture by the Deaf representative of EUD Mark Wheatley, who spoke about interpretation in a different cultural and linguistic context, especially in the context of European policy. The presentations also included a summary of long-term research of Flora Savvalidou, a Greek interpreter. Flora has managed to collect and analyze over 500 questionnaires from interpreters from across Europe and wanted to achieve certain conclusions about the identity of interpreters and other participants of the interpreted situation. I personally also liked the presentation of one of the Austrian organizers Patricia Brück. Patricia is an experienced teacher and interpreter. She focussed on the point of view of the Deaf clients. The part of the conference was a poster session with a competition for the most interesting poster, which was won by Dutch interpreters. At the conclusion of Sunday’s program the participants debated about the status and education of the Deaf interpreters.


EFSLI celebrated its 20 years anniversary, and the Board has created very special T-shirts made for the occasion. On that occasion the Austrian interpreters organized a beautiful classic Viennese ball. Interpreters should come in costumes from any era. So the ball was decorated with traditional ballroom clothes, pleated skirts and traditional Austrian dirndl. Arab sheikhs and Spanish beauties met with hippies and priests. The traditional part of the celebration was the great raffle, the money from the raffle goes to the SAF. The Czech Republic got once again the SAF fund support this year. Exactly at midnight there was a nice surprise – the Austrian volunteers came with 21 beautiful, home baked cakes with burning candles and sparklers. Together we then sang Happy Birthday, EFSLI! Another entertaining program was a visit to a typical Viennese coffeehouse, where we enjoyed a funny Viennese sausage, and a visit of a wine bar with a tasting of Austrian wines.


Next year’s annual meeting and conference of EFSLI will be held in Slovenia. Slovenian participant Daria in her speech assured all the interpreters that in Slovenia there are more interpreters, not just her 🙂  Daria attracted interpreters to such wonders as the spectacular Slovenian coast, measuring a whopping 47 km!


For me it has been always very important to gain information and experience from abroad. The people might be strangers, but our professions make us connected and the common passion for our job brings us together. For me as a new head of the Czech Chamber of SLIs it was a refreshing way to see things differently, to bring news to the Czech SLIs and to meet colleagues. Thank you for supporting me. As we started in the Board just in January 2012, without the support of SAF we would not be able to send me or any other person to the conference. Hope in 2013 the things change and the financial conditions will be better, but one thing will not change – the Czech Chamber will still be one of the biggest fans of EFSLI and we will try to have our reprezentatives on all future EFSLI conferences.