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Thread poster: Ganerdene Gantumur
What skills do I need to become a simultaneous interpreter?

Ganerdene Gantumur  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:21
Member
English to Mongolian
+ ...
Jul 26, 2009

What skills do I need to become a simultaneous interpreter?

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erika rubinstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:21
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
A lot Jul 27, 2009

At least near-to-perfect knowledge of two languages, you should be highly educated in different topics, you should react fast, think and talk at the same time....

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chica nueva
Local time: 12:21
Chinese to English
Ability to 'multitask' ... Jul 27, 2009

Hello Gan-Erdene. This article explains how to build up your ability to do 'simultaneous interpreting', starting with 'shadowing' ... Lesley
http://www.spanish-translation-help.com/simultaneous-interpretation.html

Well, for a business conversation ... I am not really an interpreter, but I was once asked by my boss, a company owner, to interpret for him at a business meeting with a foreign counterpart. I found myself sort of 'simultaneous interpreting' without really planning it. That is, before my boss had finished speaking, I would pick it up and start speaking. I felt it was better that way, for short-term memory and to keep the flow going. I don't know how the 'interpretees' felt about it - I don't think it bothered them too much. Does anyone else do this?

[Edited at 2009-07-28 09:21 GMT]


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Vivien Werner-P  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:21
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Dear Gan-Erdene, search the forum Jul 27, 2009

Dear Gan-Erdene,

This question has been posted several times before.
Maybe you would like to browse the forum.

This one could be a brief start: "How to build your simultaneous interpreting skills?" That's the title of the thread.

Best,
Vivien


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
Practice Jul 27, 2009

More important than that is how you acquire those skills. It takes a lot of practice, but much of it can be done on your own, school is not necessary.

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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:21
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Just a start on the skills required Jul 27, 2009

1. Excellent hearing
2. Patience
3. An all round ability to understand any type of accent from any part of the world where they speak the languages you work with.
4. Assertiveness
5. Politeness
6. The ability/inclination to say anything and everything without it affecting your own person and beliefs.
7. The confidence to ask when you cannot hear what is being said, and not being frightened to ask somebody to repeat what they have just said.

That's just before you even start on the linguistic skills:-)

It can take years to actually develop these skills:=)

Liz Askew

[Edited at 2009-07-27 15:31 GMT]


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Milos Prudek  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 02:21
English to Czech
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5 hours to learn it Jul 27, 2009



It can take years to actually develop these skills:=)


Dunno. If you start from scratch, that is you do not know the foreign language, then it takes years. But an experienced translator can train himself to be a simultaneous interpreter in 5 hours net.

Well at least I needed 5 hours to learn simultaneous interpreting.

Preconditions: I am a translator, I speak both languages fluently. I got two tape recorders, one recorder played English into my headphones, the other one recorded what I was saying in Czech.

Self-training, first hour: I can interpret an easy English fairy tale for about 30 seconds before tearing the headphones down and swearing to never , never, never try it again.

Self-training, second hour: I can interpret an easy English fairy tale for about 3 minutes.

Self-training, fifth hour: I can do it for 30 minutes. Training finished.

I spread those five hours into 3 weeks. So I spent say 1.5 hour weekly.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
I don't think so! Jul 27, 2009

Milos, unless you are some kind of phenomenon never before seen in the world, it cannot be done in 5 hours.

Besides, we don't interpret fairy tales, nor do we believe in them!


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Oleg Osipov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 04:21
Member (2008)
English to Russian
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F... Jul 27, 2009

Formal training in a variety of fields and no fairy tales...

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Miroslav Jeftic  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:21
English to Serbian
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:) Jul 27, 2009

I agree with Henry, such training is very far from the real thing. I often had to translate very technical subjects (sometimes with no preparation, since I wasn't able to get any materials in advance) from non-native speakers with very strong foreign accents, who were speaking like they were trying to break sound barrier.

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Stuart Dowell  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:21
Member (2007)
Polish to English
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Amazing Jul 28, 2009


But an experienced translator can train himself to be a simultaneous interpreter in 5 hours net.


I think this figure may be a little optimistic if one intends to reach a professional standard.

It reminds me of opinions that if someone speaks two languages they can obviously translate to a high standard.


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Milos Prudek  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 02:21
English to Czech
+ ...
Worked for me Jul 28, 2009


Stuart Dowell wrote:
I think this figure may be a little optimistic if one intends to reach a professional standard.


It may. Different people learn at different speeds. Different people prefer different learning methods. Self-training works for me. This is no fairy tale. Five hours was enough to start interpreting professionaly. The customer was satisfied. I was not perfect at this first job. I had plenty of help - useful support texts provided weeks before the interpreting started.

With time and more jobs I continued learning and improving.





[Edited at 2009-07-28 07:31 GMT]


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:21
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
5 hours would never have worked for me Jul 28, 2009

Well we are all different, I suppose that is all I can say.

Speaking from my own point of view 5 hours training for medical interpreting would be

1. Irresponsible
2. Unrealistic
3. Dangerous
4. Downright impossible

to name but a few...

I interpret in Cardiology, Gynaecology, Genitourinary Medicine, Mental Health, Psychology, you name it and I am still learning ...and I have been doing medical interpreting for 10 years.

In fact last year I did a 6 week training course in order to be "approved" to gain a contract with the local National Health Service, having until now worked for agencies. (I think the NHS discovered that they need trained and competent interpreters as it is not such an easy job as everybody who was NOT an interpreter first thought!) This is my take on it.

So, you can never have enough training or practice to become a great interpreter! It is an ongoing thing...it is not an easy job.

Liz Askew

[Edited at 2009-07-28 07:56 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-07-28 07:57 GMT]


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 02:21
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Yeah right Jul 28, 2009


Milos Prudek wrote:



It can take years to actually develop these skills:=)


Dunno. If you start from scratch, that is you do not know the foreign language, then it takes years. But an experienced translator can train himself to be a simultaneous interpreter in 5 hours net.

Well at least I needed 5 hours to learn simultaneous interpreting.

Preconditions: I am a translator, I speak both languages fluently. I got two tape recorders, one recorder played English into my headphones, the other one recorded what I was saying in Czech.

Self-training, first hour: I can interpret an easy English fairy tale for about 30 seconds before tearing the headphones down and swearing to never , never, never try it again.

Self-training, second hour: I can interpret an easy English fairy tale for about 3 minutes.

Self-training, fifth hour: I can do it for 30 minutes. Training finished.

I spread those five hours into 3 weeks. So I spent say 1.5 hour weekly.

That's not even funny.


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chica nueva
Local time: 12:21
Chinese to English
as a technique, or as a profession; conference interpreting Jul 28, 2009

IMO there seem to be two things here. One is mastering the technique, and the other is making a living as a simultaneous interpreter.


liz askew wrote:
Well we are all different, I suppose that is all I can say.
Speaking from my own point of view 5 hours training for medical interpreting would be ...


Liz, I am a little bit lost. Are you talking about simultaneous interpreting or consecutive interpreting here. (Sorry, if I'm being a bit dense, but could you elaborate.) Personally I thought Milos' tip sounded pretty interesting.

@ Gan-Erdene You are currently interpreting, I see. Can you clarify what types of interpreting you are doing at present (eg consecutive/simultaneous general/specialist), and do you wish to become a high-level simultaneous interpreter for conferences, for example. (If so, then I think you might need specialist training from a professional, in a conference booth set-up, perhaps. But I'm guessing. See what others say.)

[Edited at 2009-07-28 13:18 GMT]


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