To open up today’s session, we played “Heads Up”. It was a really inventive way to play the game since we’re not in person. We learned that many of us have no clue who many celebrities are. Following the game we all went around and talked about the things we like so far in the program and just a general reflection of our experiences so far. I liked this because it gave everyone a better understanding, especially Kristina and Jen, of how this remote PLACE fellowship program is going thus far despite the setbacks brought about by the coronavirus. I believe it’s going a lot better than I had initially expected it to, because I wondered how we could possibly make it work. However, it’s running really well and sharing out our insights whenever we have a guest speaker has been working really well and shows the engagement of all of the members. Despite technology acting up at times, we make it work.

During this meeting we had a conversation regarding what certain things mean to each of us– what’s the significance? This question proved to be an essential question for the following topic which revolved around “interpretation”. We each went around and gave our own opinions as to the raw meaning of “interpretation”. We all had a pretty good understanding of the concept and there was a common response among all of us. They all had to do with perception and how certain things appear to the naked eye. Based on our own experiences and recollections, we will interpret something in the best way we see fit if there is no clear definition of the thing that we’re interpreting. What does this word mean for the National Parks Service? An interpreter is actually a job in the NPS which requires someone to create meaning out of something. Kristina’s example of the Black Heritage Trail made this a lot easier to understand the job since we saw Jen’s video on this National Park site and what the surroundings meant to her. Being an interpreter meaning you must make meaning from any resource–to give it life.

Following this, we went on a website which was all about interpretation and had a list of beliefs on what interpretation should look like. One that really stood out to me was “Interpretation should aim to represent a whole rather than a part” because it is the embodiment of what the concept really is. If something has the potential to be completely interpreted for what it is in its entirety, then there is no point interpreting it at all because if just a fraction is represented then you won’t be able to capture the piece’s true meaning. Lastly, we discussed how important it is for interpreters to know that code switching and dumbing down an interpretation too much for a well enough capable group is detrimental to the complete understanding of the interpretation. Altering the language and vocab in which the interpreter shares his/her insight is important, but if it is not necessary for a certain group of people then speak to them as you would a fellow friend, sharing everything that the piece has to offer.

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