New Research in Interpreting Studies: Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University offers one of the hottest degrees around: an online MA in interpreting studies that gives working interpreters a chance to earn a graduate degree, network, and produce original research. I found their website with recent MA theses today and I think you should know about. Any time another interpreter produces original work, it’s worth having a look. Plus they have a cool map of where their students are from. Check it out.

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RID Membership Per Capita Map

Which states have the highest total rate of RID membership? Not just total membership, but total RID membership relative to the total population of the state? I though this might be a way to measure the size of the interpreting economy, or be a proxy to some other factors. I used data from 2011 RID annual report to answer this question. Here’s what I did:

  1. Copied the RID total membership data into an Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Cleaned up the data, removed extra spaces, etc.
  3. Divided total RID membership in a state by total population to get a “density factor”. (For readability, this is at 10^-6, so 5.0 means 5.0 10^-6. In other words, interpreters make up a really really small percentage of the total population.)
  4. Uploaded it to Google Fusion Tables along with the U.S. state polygons.
  5. Created four quantitative breaks which yielded five “membership densities”.

Keep in mind that the national average is 5.0. States below 5.0 are below the national average for interpreter density, and above 5.0 is, well, above the national average. D.C. is the highest with 24, probably due to the concentration of government agencies and related services. Puerto Rico is the lowest at 0.6 and Mississippi is the lowest on the mainland with 1.5. Check it. (WordPress.com doesn’t allow me to embed Google Fusion maps yet. Bummer.)

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