Looking back
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This article begins with a few pictures of familiar faces almost 15 years younger... it's perhaps a bit of nostalgia, seeing how the Springs have flown by, and also of hope, because time has only consolidated the journey we embarked upon at the end of last century!


Here we are with smiles on our faces in Montjuïc after one of the first conferences we organised.

As befits such a mobile profession, it all started on a plane coming back from the Canary Islands.

On that trip, Catherine Gris and Beatriz Leboulleux decided it was high time to create an association, group or cooperative (we still didn't know what we would be) to join efforts and act as one on the Barcelona market. Like other freelance jobs, it is extremely difficult to defend your profession alone and although we all flew the flag of AIIC (the International Association of Conference Interpreters), worked side by side at international institutions, and many of us had been friends since university, we had not yet taken the big step of also joining forces in Barcelona, our city.

The first meeting surpassed the expectations of the organisers and the host, Patrícia, whose house was literally invaded by interested interpreters. There followed dinners, meetings that went on into the small hours, consultations with lawyers and accountants…

AIB was already a reality: a group that would later become a company and that was named in harmony with its sister group in Madrid, AIM (Association of Interpreters of Madrid), with whom we have since undertaken major projects such as the Expo Zaragoza and the Spanish Presidency of the EU, as well as sharing some great times over the years.


The second big step (going back to the days of shoulder pads and an incipient internet) was looking for someone to be our secretary, and here AIB found its angel: Silvia. Although we were sure from the outset, we had to go through the proper selection process and interview other candidates before bringing her on board, and it was not long before she became an expert in the world of interpreting. Silvia for us is synonymous with AIB - the voice and hand that skilfully deals with the most complex situations. Over the years she has twice come with us to the European Parliament to see the great tower of Babel for herself and meet the interpreters that we hire. She is also a great friend of every interpreting secretariat and office in Europe; I doubt there is a better ambassador!


In the early years we worked full out, each member moving mountains. Luckily for us, we have people with degrees in economics, law, communications, protocol... IT experts who have devoted long hours to designing our database, creating our website, doing marketing... Many of us have combined it with teaching at universities and organising Master's in Conference Interpreting ... and all with families that were growing and changing with us. Interpreters' multitasking is a topic for another article, with many stories to tell.

The years have not seen us slow down: some members have changed country or city, others have embarked on new languages and new skills, and we have celebrated it all, because we are very proud of what we created in that distant November of 2000 and happy about the journey we have travelled since.


I think, Sancho, there is no proverb that is not true, all being maxims drawn from experience itself, the mother of all sciences.

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