November 29, 2022

PALA Alumnus Spotlight: Translation/Interpreting Graduate David Proano Celi

A court interpreter at the Superior Court of New Jersey, David Proano Celi earned an MS in Translation & Interpreting from the NYU SPS Center for Publishing & Applied Liberal Arts (PALA) in May 2022. A translator and language expert with a decade of experience, Celi is an expert in all three modes of interpretation––simultaneous, consecutive, and sight––with a focus on the translation of Spanish to English/English to Spanish. He is skilled in interpreting and translation related to advanced technologies and how they will transform processing and delivery of real-time information. Recently, his blog entry, "Transcription In The Interpreting Profession: An Exciting Time To Be An Interpreter,” was published by the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators (NAJIT).

What are you passionate about and why?
I want to help modernize the interpreting profession. Technology is a tool that has the potential to enhance human experiences and it is quickly becoming an important part of my profession as an interpreter and translator. I’ve provided training to hundreds of fellow interpreters in the past few years in the use of technology in remote interpreting.

What led you to the NYU SPS translation program?
A colleague interpreter attended the program a few years ago and had a good experience. I have had a lifetime dream of attending NYU since my high school years. I saw this as an opportunity to be able to learn from many of the best educators in the world. I guess you can say that I took the long way to get to NYU, but the journey has been very fulfilling.

What have you learned from your academic studies at NYU SPS?
My professors at SPS proficiently described the latest use of technology in translation and its limitations. I learned theoretical and practical approaches to language modeling and machine training. It opened the door for me to learn how to code and consequently led me to understand the potential that different programs have, not only for the translation profession via the use of CAT tools, but for the interpreting profession via speech-to-text programs for transcription.

What are the trends in the field of interpreting?
Remote interpreting is in vogue in the profession. Technology has been used for in-person interpretation for some time with audio-equipped conference booths and wired and wireless audio equipment in the form of audio receivers and transmitters. There is a proliferation of video-remote platforms that allow an interpreter to work in different modes of interpretation. Real-time machine translation has stepped into the picture recently, allowing users to understand what is said in their own language without the intervention of a human interpreter.

Tell us briefly about the article you wrote for NAJIT
My article focuses on transcription as a tool for interpretation that offers clear advantages for the interpreter. I explain how to work with transcription in-person and remotely and also share a link to a video on how to set it up. AI is rapidly becoming a tool that allows speech-to-text technologies to capture what a human is saying with more accuracy. I talk about real-time machine translation and how these changes in technology will affect the interpreting profession.

What are the challenges and opportunities in this field?
Many organizations are investing in research and development using AI and machines. The interpreter of the future will need to be competent in technology. NYU SPS has a great program to help any professional interpreter become up-to-date with technological changes.

What are your plans for the future?
I want to keep working with transcription because it is groundbreaking. I also want to keep sharing what I know with fellow professionals through the testing of new technologies. I want to help inspire colleagues and up-and-coming interpreters in new, unconventional ways.

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