Interpreting Classes

It is my 3rd year in the university (+prep class and erasmus year: it makes 5 🙂 ). This year, we started taking interpreting classes, which is a very new thing to us. With every class, I am getting further away from interpreting. There is a huge stress on your shoulders during the interpreting practices in the class. You definetely lose some part of the next sentence while translating the previous sentence. I think it is totally different from translation. Compared to interpreting, translation is almost stress-free because you generally have enough time to think. Besides, you can always consult to a dictionary. I have found an interesting article showing how painful the interpreting process is. The article also talks about the interpreters. Here is the introduction part of it. You can read the rest of the article by clicking the link at the bottom:

“Have you ever sat down in an interpreter’s booth, put on the headphones and tried to interpret the incoming speech? I did when I was a young and rather naive student who thought that being bilingual meant one could interpret simultaneously. No sooner had I started that problems arrived. As I was outputting the first sentence, the second one was already coming in but I hadn’t paid enough attention to it. I remembered its beginning but not its ending. Very quickly I fell behind and I just couldn’t say anything more after a few minutes!

Many years later I still remember the scene vividly and because of it, but also because of my own research on the perception and production of speech, I have the utmost respect for interpreters and the training they have to go through to do their job well.

Interpreters come in various types (community, conference, sign language) and interpreting itself is diverse in that it can be consecutive or simultaneous. I will take two extreme cases of interpreting that differ on many aspects including age: bilingual children who act as interpreters and adult simultaneous interpreters (…) Read more

See different types of interpreting.

Differences between translation and interpreting.


Van earthquake and community interpreting.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Radek on November 7, 2011 at 16:34

    Interpreting on professional level (simultneous and especially conference) is like journalism. You need to have a gift for it before you start to study it. Education will not cause you to lose that gift, but if you don’t have it, not even a PhD in interpreting will make a good conference interpreter from you. One thing with good interpeting is that is it like good stand up comedy. It is smooth, fun, and looks easy, if you have a gift for it.
    And interpreting is not painfull. On the contrary. If you have a gift and you have a good speaker of a source language, good topic, which you like and know well, sometimes you get so “high” that you have to watch out in order not to overrun the speaker.
    Unfortunately both in journalism and in interpreting, there is a lot of those, who can’t, therefore they teach. Do not expect them to help you to find your gift. If you didn’t bring it with you to school already, you may have a problem (smile).
    And children (usually of immigrants), growing bilingual, they usually have one language (the language of their parents, which they spoke at home and never had any formal schooling) on so called fluent kitchen level. This may be good for basic (google translator) communication level, but that is about it. And no schooling will help, unles you have a gift. Because if you have it, when you put on the headset and start hearing one language, in your head it will click and you will speak the other language – easily, freely and well. If you don’t have that gift, and you are expecting somebody to teach you that well, good luck. You will need it.
    Once again, good luck in a search for your gift.


  2. Posted by Alexandre Alcântara on November 10, 2011 at 05:30

    well said!


  3. Posted by balveer singh bhatnagar on November 14, 2011 at 17:33

    No doubt interpretation is difficult and can be performed successfully with three skills
    1. Knowledge of vocabulary of both the languages
    2. Sense of the subject matter
    3. Expression in the public place i.e. on stage or before camera


  4. Posted by balveer singh bhatnagar on November 14, 2011 at 17:45

    Still the translation is not easy. It is said by some for french lady– if she is beautiful she can not be true and if she is true she can not be be beautiful. One has to carry out the sense as well as keep the sequence of words. One has to be faithful for both. Therefore translation is also difficult. The source language and target language may have different religion, cultural, social, and living pattern and standard of living and environment. Suppose translator is carrying out medical or engineering and he had not background, then first he will have to become acquainted with the verbatim interpretation i.e. what the text word meaning is, then he will express in his own language with the intention of people should understand what he interpreted in the target language(which is his own). A words has thousands of shades and the translator has to be choosy. He has to select the most appropriate and communicative word and some time he has to invent the word with the help of his own knowledge.


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