American culture looks up to the "rugged individualist" as a result of having been a blend of so many immigrant cultures that it was difficult to come up with one ethos except getting rich. Horatio Alger stories "proved" again and again that people could pull themselves up by their own bootstraps without the help of others, although this seems to be as unlikely as doing it in a literal sense. The twentieth century saw the development of symbolic interactionism, which emphasized that our self-identity is a mixture of the individual interactions we have had with various people throughout our life and is an ongoing process whereby we are a continual work in progress. (For more on this idea, see Nelson, L. D. (Spring 1998) Herbert Blumer's Symbolic Interactionism.
Interpreters nowadays attend two- or four-year programs to ready themselves for the work world, but each interpreter realizes at some point that although this can be an excellent beginning, there is a continual need for professional development and dialoging with others in the field, especially if s/he is in an isolated area. Even big cities don't allow for much natural interaction with other interpreters unless a good deal of time is set aside for meetings and workshops. The Internet and the World Wide Web are excellent venues for this sort of sharing of ideas. My purpose in this paper is to inform or reinforce the resources that are out there, not only to be passively consumed, but to urge each of you to compose web pages that can educate us all. My web site contains not only my insights, but links to the insights of others, so that we all may grow.
Let us start with the idea of professional development. In my webpage Professional development: Getting over the hump!, I divide this area into various categories. As part of being a cybercommunity and learning from each other, I would ask my readers to inform me of any errors or inaccuracies, and suggest any additions that would improve my site. I would treasure any reactions that would augment what is available to the interpreting cybercommunity by e-mailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are hundreds of sites that are edifying, but I have listed some of the major clearinghouses for information below. Please let me know if you do create an interpreting-related web site and I will add you to this list.
Links to investigate, if you decide to make your own web site are:
Art and the Zen of web sites.
Boutell. Creating Websites.
HTML: An interactive tutorial for beginners [Dave's HTML guide].
HTML code tutorial.
Learn the Net: Surf the Web.
The Newbie Club (A guide to HTML).
Besides putting articles on your own web site, don't forget the benefit of interacting with others through mailing lists (see Professional development: mailing lists) or sending comments to the authors of other web sites. Good luck in your cyberjourney and don't forget to share the wealth of information with others!