Monthly Archives: February 2013

¡Feliz Cumpleaños a la Florida!

Happy quincentenary to Florida!  Florida is celebrating five hundred years since Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Léon arrived on land he named La Florida in 1513.  The state of Florida has organized the Viva Florida initiative to promote the past five hundred years of Florida’s history – its people, places and events centered on “the place where the world’s cultures began to unite and transform into the great nation we know today as the United States of America.”

The five hundredth anniversary of Spain’s arrival in Florida certainly lends itself to interpretation directly related to Spain’s presence in Florida.  Examples include Mission San Luis – of the more than one hundred missions Spain had, this is one of only two whose location is still known – and Florida’s state parks.  Dr. Sam Turner, the Archeology Director at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, is writing a series of articles biweekly on Juan Ponce de Léon’s arrival in 1513.  The City of St. Augustine itself owes its title as the oldest continually occupied settlement of European origin in the United States to the Spanish.  And for those attending NAI Region 3’s workshop this week, consider how the Timucua Indians reacted to the Spanish in the area around Wekiwa Springs State Park.

But the quincentenary is also being used a backdrop against which numerous other events are held.  Examples range from stand-up paddle-boarding as part of Expedition Florida 500 to the Florida Lottery, dining in Pensacola to an April concert by the Melbourne Municipal Band.

The wide variety of ways in which Florida’s quincentenary is celebrated serves as a lesson to interpreters.  As Freeman Tilden explains in one of his six principles, interpretation must relate to the visitor.  As Larry Beck and Ted Cable describe their principles, not only does every place have a history, but interpretation should also attract support and instill in people a sense of beauty to foster resource protection.  Broadening the quincentennial events to include paddle-boarders, lottery hopefuls, restaurant goers and concert attendees as well as history and archeology buffs touches on the interests of more people, secures more wide-ranging support and has already generated discussion about future funding priorities to protect both Spanish and American Indian sites.

So, join me in wishing Florida a happy five hundredth birthday, and many more!  And consider how even everyday events in your area may help you deliver your message to a new audience.

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Practice Makes Perfect

Most of us have heard the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” So, if our job is to be an interpreter, and we don’t use those skills daily, or challenge ourselves to use the skills more often, won’t we lose our ability to be good interpreters? Interpretation is not just a job, but a way of communicating.

Let’s go back to the initial quote, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” As a Returned Peace Corp Volunteer, I became conversationally fluent in French. Although I was forced to speak it ‘on-the-job’, I wasn’t forced to use it in all of my daily activities.  For example, I still thought in English, wrote notes and letters in English, and read English books.  Well, I decided to challenge myself and converted to living French. I wrote all my notes in French, read French children’s books, and even changed the language in my cell phone to be French.  By doing this, I learned new vocabulary, but it also forced my mind to start thinking, speaking, reading, and ultimately living French. At first it was hard work, but by practicing all the time, it became my normal daily life. As stated in Interpretive Opportunities: The Hard Work is Worth It posted on Jan 8, “practicing my technique . . . is crucial.”

From Inspect What You Expect posted on Jan 22, it suggested “Get out of your office.” I agree and encourage Interpreters not to just interpret on the job, but in your personal lives. For instance, consider writing interpretive Christmas letters or email updates to old friends. Try sending an interpretive text or two, or telling an interpretive story on the phone. Half the work is already done, you know the audience to whom you are speaking, now practice appropriate techniques.

As I did with my cell phone, surround yourself with interpreters. As described in Oat Soda Interpretation posted on Jan. 28, “Embrace the universal concepts of relaxation, tradition and deliciousness.” Have lunch with your fellow interpreters, go out for an oat soda or coffee, and mingle at workshops. Not only can you practice speaking interpretation, but you can exchange ideas, hear interpretive language, and live interpretation!

Lastly, observing the environment can be an excellent way to help you develop your own interpretive abilities. Instead of just practicing being an interpreter, consider also practicing being an auditor.  Review labels on food products for interpretive content, critique advertisements on TV or from the radio, listen close to pod casts and watch documentaries.  Try to seek out and audit interpretive messages that are all around you. You might be able to pick up some great techniques and see wonderful examples of interpretation, or you may start recognizing popular interpretainment.

Practice makes perfect, so start practicing in your daily routines.  Consider incorporating interpretation in how you speak and write, be aware of other interpretive products out there, and challenge yourself to practice interpretation.

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Interpretation: An Unexpected Journey with a Purpose

Interpretation: An Unexpected Journey with a Purpose


There are some moments in our life that someone ask us start an unexpected journey.

That Journey can be a new job, the development of a new program, or a simple situation that will be changing our daily routine.

Today I’ll present just a quote from the Movie: The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey

Just be ready for the magic and pertinence of this quote:


Gandalf: Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found.  I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.

-from the Movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyTHE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY


Now a simple thought:

Every Interpreter can put small’s acts of kindness, love and inspiration in every of its program, so those ordinary folks are the responsible of keeping the darkness at bay and encourage the conservation of our resources.


Next your own thought:




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