Interpreting is an activity that has been practiced since time immemorial, but only recently has it been viewed as a field of academic study in and of itself. From our perspective working in an institution that has been training interpreters for half a century, we have noted a growing interest in interpreting studies, driven by national and international needs for qualified interpreters in all domains: from international organizations, to private sector enterprises, and to public service organizations. We have also seen a corresponding increase in short programs and academic course offerings designed to introduce people to and train them for careers as interpreters. Some of these training programs reside in universities, while others are offered by community organizations or enterprising businesses. This increased desire for training has come to our attention through countless inquiries from prospective trainees and from other institutions seeking guidance on setting up programs. Thus, we have first-hand awareness of the important need to prepare interpreters well for the specialized sectors in which they will be employed. The need for qualified interpreters spans all domains: legal, medical, business, educational, political, governmental, academic, to name just a few. And each of these domains has nuances particular to it, whether it is the language-combination needs of the international organizations, the growing ethical concerns in the public service sectors, the challenge of integrating new technologies into the field, or the need for cost-effective interpreting – which happens to cross all domains. We felt that a volume that would introduce readers to recent issues in interpreting, to the many areas of professional work in the field, and to the particular needs and challenges of each, as well as to newly developing areas in which interpreters work, would be of great value. Perhaps ironically, at a time when the need for well-trained interpreters is being recognized –

particularly in the United States – we have also noted that language studies programs are at a critical juncture in this country, with fewer students studying languages, yet greater articulated needs from government and industry for competent multilingual professionals. As a result, many US-based language programs are striving to identify professional opportunities for their students, and those of us committed to the training of interpreters are striving to keep students interested in learning languages by showing students that the field of interpreting can provide an array of career possibilities. Countries around the world are, in fact, struggling to meet the needs of the interpretation industry. Sometimes this is due to large numbers of interpreter retirees in the “baby boomer” generation; other times this may be due to increased visibility in the global

community, and still others, we are sad to say, perhaps due to less than ideal working conditions for interpreters – which the field is actively trying to remedy. Given the diversity of the field and the various reasons for which interpreters may be in

demand, we have designed this volume with a varied readership in mind. We envision this book as a valuable resource for current professionals in the field who would like to be updated on areas of growth in interpreting, and an important resource for language professors and students or young professionals (both BA-level and MA-level) who are interested in exploring these exciting career opportunities and would like to identify which area of the field is “right” for them. We also hope that this overview of the many areas the interpreting field covers may assist those language professors who have been asked to expand their offerings in order to introduce interpreting to their students. And we would like to inspire those committed to the interpreting field to note the areas needed for growth and development and to actively work to enhance this rewarding profession. To ensure that the volume is accessible to this range of readership, we have asked all of the

contributing authors to provide a brief historical look at their area of focus, a description of the current state of the field from their particular perspective, and their thoughts as to where this segment of the field may be headed. We have also ensured that terms and concepts are welldefined, and that the chapters build upon one another, with as little duplication as possible, in the case that the book is read in its entirety. We have also asked authors to provide a list of “Further reading” for those who may be interested in pursuing these topics in more depth.