Friday, 26 February 2010

Interpreting ...

I seem to have been doing alot of interpreting over the past ten days. For the most part it has been enjoyable and fun. It always has its hairy moments though, mostly to do with adrenaline and the knowledge that if you fail it will be hugely public - and in my case almost always in front of one or all of my superiors, oh joy! (Mention the words Mohammad Yunus to me and although I admire him greatly I will go pale - not one of my interpreting triumphs - I had problems sleeping for a week afterwards.)
Another problem is people who seem to think that because you're in the room with them multi-tasking (interpreting uses up alot of the brain's capacity) you could maybe give them a glass of water, tie up their shoe laces or maybe have a side conversation with them. None of these things help concentration ... :-)
Then there is the very different skill needed in doing simultaneous interpretation compared with consecutive interpretation. Because most of what I do is short bursts of an hour's interpretation with whispering equipment I tend to have to switch between the two. Consecutive interpretation uses your memory and recall - and ability to take notes (not easy when you are holding onto a microphone I found this week!) - at press conferences journalists tend to ask questions really quickly before the simultaneous interpretation has finished so you switch languages and switch skills. Just keep your nerve and be assertive with people trying to ask too many questions at once! The important thing is not to think about it too much and just surf the adrenaline. Interpreting means you don't really need to go in for high risk sports to get kicks - well that's my excuse anyway!
I always feel the interpreting has been useful if people respond in both languages and you can feel some understanding and relationship developing. In the next post you can find links to some of the things written at one of the things I interpreted for this week.


Katerina Karkala said...

Thank you, Jane, for the good reference to "consecutive interpreting". I am trying to make my way through all of it, but it seems to be very hard. I understand what you mean with "multi-tasking"... I am trying to co-op with all my languages and then turn them into something meaningful in greek. At the end I understand why someone would say "It is all greek to me....". Can I quote your article to my colleagues at the Faculty?

Jane said...

No problem Katarina!