On Wednesday, January 24, 2024, the Faculty of Arts at the University of Maribor was abuzz with discussions surrounding the ReTrans project’s multiplier event. Titled “Between Visibility and Invisibility – Social Meaning and Perceptions of Community Interpreting,” the event aimed to shed light on the often-overlooked role of community interpreters. Lasting from 3 pm till 6.15 pm, the event featured engaging presentations on the project and its results, followed by a lively roundtable discussion.

The roundtable brought together discussants, including Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mojca Kompara Lukančič, Interpreter for English and Italian, Tatjana Njivar from Maribor Adult Education Centre, and Raya Mounzer, Interpreter for Arabic. Their insights were complemented by representatives from various organizations, including the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants, the Border Police Division, and the Ministry for the Interior. Additionally, attendees from NGOs such as the Slovene Philanthropy, fellow translators and interpreters, students, and representatives from the press, including Večer, Slovenian Press Agency STA, and Radio SI, actively participated in the event, enriching the gathering with their diverse perspectives.

During the lively discussions, participants unanimously agreed that the demand for community interpreting in Slovenia has significantly increased over the past decade, particularly following the refugee influx that crossed Slovenia in 2015. Tatjana Njivar, for example, highlighted the growing presence of foreigners at the local Adult Education Centre, with non-native speakers now comprising 86% of their audience, posing communication challenges. Despite acknowledging improvements in systemic support in recent years, participants agreed that further enhancements could still be made.

One of the highlights of the event was the inclusion of English language interpretation by students, making the event accessible to non-Slovenian speakers. After the insightful discussions, attendees had the opportunity to network over coffee and snacks, further fostering collaboration and exchange of ideas.

Overall, the ReTrans multiplier event served as a platform to explore the social significance and perceptions surrounding community interpreting, bringing together diverse perspectives and stakeholders in a fruitful exchange of ideas.

Aleksandra Nuč Blažič and Sara Orthaber

Photos by Filozofska fakulteta Univerze v Mariboru