Mobile menu

First experience of interpreting at a conference
Thread poster: Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren

Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:01
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Oct 16, 2008

Dear interpreting collegues and friends,

I will be grateful if you can share with me your first experience of interpreting. I did my first professional interpretation 3 days ago, but I want to see where I am standing in the light of other experiences.

How did you handle the non-stop conversation? Did you prefer consecutive over simultaneuous interpretation or you thought you failed in spite of a lot of effort you gave into it.

Thank you for your feedback,

Binnur


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:01
Flemish to English
+ ...
2 cents Oct 16, 2008

Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren wrote:

Dear interpreting collegues and friends,

How did you handle the non-stop conversation?
Did you prefer consecutive over simultaneuous interpretation or
you thought you failed in spite of a lot of effort you gave into it.

Thank you for your feedback,

Binnur


You got a TGV-speaker? Ask him/her politely to talk slower.
A sentence such as "In order to be able to interpret the interpreter requests the speaker to slow down his/her speed of speaking".
Rephrase the essence of the message in your own (about 60%-75%) words without loosing too much of the original .
Out of several successful days, I failed twice : Once with a Tgv speaker, professor of economics at the university of Lille III (French>English) and once with a Tower of Babel (2 speakers speaking different languages (Spanish and French)at the same time expecting me to interpret what they said at the same time).

I know the feeling when you got flat on your face. It tastes awry.
The best remedy is to continue with interpreting and not to stop for a while like I did.
Simultaneous, although consecutive is a means of selection at international institutions and interpreter schools.
It is very difficult to become an interpreter overnight. Better to look out for some decent training in speech and consecutive and simultaneous interpreting.


President Sarkozy is a good speaker for practise. Clear pronunciation, except when he is at his best, then he is a TGV-speaker (discours de Toulon).



[Edited at 2008-10-16 18:50]

[Edited at 2008-10-16 18:52]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Esther Hermida  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
First time is always tough Oct 17, 2008

I don't know what type of conference you did. Did you use a booth? Did you have a booth partner? Did you do consecutive interpretation? What was the set up?

I've done booth interpreting in simultaneous mode. To me simultaneous is the easiest format. However, you don't have control of the speaker since you're not close to him/her. So, the best thing to do is to prepare ahead of time so you know the subject matter. Search vocabulary, look for websites where you can find information to educate yourself on the subject. If the speaker speaks too fast, no worries, you can summarize, but that needs lots of practice.

Consecutive is a lot harder as you need good note taking skills. Also, there are digital recorders that allows you to tape the conversations and you have instant replay and then you can do a simultaneous rendition when you hear it out of your earphone. You won't miss a beat. Again, practice makes perfect.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:01
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
There was no booth Oct 17, 2008

Thank you very much Esther and Williamson for your invaluable input!

I was practically sitting next to the assignor of the job- There were 10 attendees and they were all speaking fast in their turn. I had a good picture of what was said, but struggled in finding the correct Turkish term for some financial jargons.

There were two handicaps: Although I was crying for two months to obtain a documentation of the topic to be discussed, the information I requested arrived one day before the meeting in question.

- The interpretation was supposed to be English into Turkish, yet the above-mentioned last minute information was in German. I have taken the trouble to translate all the documents into both Turkish and English for training purposes. then I proceeded with futher gathering of information about the participants and their companies.

-The day of meeting I saw that the German document that was sent to me had also a Turkish version and their jargons were not 100% the same as my finding. I think it is smoother if one knows the difference between jargon and common translation and sees that I would rather use their jargons, than the internationally accepted words.

I am very very happy with your inputs. This is not the first time that I am getting trained thanks to my collegues in these forums. I will start working on my weaknesses and hope to turn them into strength.

Lovely regards to both of you!

Binnur


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Jonathan Sanders  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:01
Go to an interpreting school Oct 17, 2008

Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren wrote:

Thank you very much Esther and Williamson for your invaluable input!

I was practically sitting next to the assignor of the job- There were 10 attendees and they were all speaking fast in their turn. I had a good picture of what was said, but struggled in finding the correct Turkish term for some financial jargons.

There were two handicaps: Although I was crying for two months to obtain a documentation of the topic to be discussed, the information I requested arrived one day before the meeting in question.

- The interpretation was supposed to be English into Turkish, yet the above-mentioned last minute information was in German. I have taken the trouble to translate all the documents into both Turkish and English for training purposes. then I proceeded with futher gathering of information about the participants and their companies.

-The day of meeting I saw that the German document that was sent to me had also a Turkish version and their jargons were not 100% the same as my finding. I think it is smoother if one knows the difference between jargon and common translation and sees that I would rather use their jargons, than the internationally accepted words.

I am very very happy with your inputs. This is not the first time that I am getting trained thanks to my collegues in these forums. I will start working on my weaknesses and hope to turn them into strength.

Lovely regards to both of you!

Binnur




Hi Binnur,

That sounds like a pretty trying experience (to be diplomatic). No booth, no documents, almost no preparation, and the expectation for you to interpret a language you didn't agree on.

Those conditions make it impossible to do a good job. The person hiring obviously didn't know or care what was needed for a professional interpretation. Don't be disheartened if it went badly as a result.

For interpreting (in simultaneous at least) you should be working with a partner, with the documents in advance, and all of the conditions (including language combination for goodness' sake) well established. When given proper conditions, it can be very pleasant.

If you just happened to try it for fun, I'd say just think of it as an experience and leave it at that. If you want to actually do interpreting as a career, then you should go to an accredited intepreting school, two of which are in Turkey (Bogazici University in Istanbul and another in Ankara whose name ). There may be schools in Germany which also offer your language combination.

Good luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:01
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Coming in late on this one Oct 23, 2008

... but I've been travelling on the job.

If you get the "script" long before the presentation, it will be bound to change, anyway. So getting it, say, two days before the session is about as good as getting it three weeks in advance. Use it as a basis, but do not set absolute stock by it. If you have the time, you might want to review other papers on related topics just to abstract a working glossary of any specific terms used in the field (I have a how-to article in the knowledgebase on this issue, check my profile under "articles"). If you have the name(s) of the speaker(s) you will be interpreting, check the internet to see if they have anything published, to give you an idea of their use of language.

If interpreting without a booth, explain to the participants before the session that they only have one interpreter (who only has one mouth - although that's obvious, it's one of the first things people tend to forget), so that talking out of turn will tend to be perceived by their interpreter as "noise". This forewarning will enable you to concentrate on one speaker at a time, with the blessing of the group.

If interpreting with booths, the advice on "noise" will be unnecessary, since anyone speaking without a microphone will not be heard clearly in the booth, and hence, will be filtered out.

Even if interpreting with booths, it is helpful to arrive early and have a word with the speaker beforehand, particularly regarding speed of delivery. It is not unprofessional to do this, although laymen may think "she's scared, so she's trying to come to an agreement". Nothing further from the truth: understandable speech has an approximate speed of 180 words per minute, so TGVs will definitely be at a disadvantage, even for people not using interpretation.

Remember that as well in your delivery. A speaker talking at top speed can be condensed and summarized at average speed (and the interpreter will probably sound clearer than the speaker), hence it is not necessary to try to "catch up" with the words as with the message that they convey.

I have seldom attended one-day interviews or negotiations that hired more than one interpreter, so a partner may not be the answer in some of these cases.

As for practice, try regular shadowing exercises. Agustín Servín de la Mora has developed a short-term program for training court interpreters that might be useful. Check out his article in this ATA publication:

http://www.ata-divisions.org/JLD/times/t2005_wn.pdf

Lastly, I learned at a conference that the German public library system runs programs on cultural and linguistic mediation. It might be worth looking into by way of introduction to the task of a mediator (these are not interpretation schools, but interpretation theory begins with the concept of interlingual mediation).

Good luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Binnur Tuncel van Pomeren  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:01
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Decalage of one week :))) Oct 24, 2008

It takes time to digest, interprete all your inputs and find tones that are both direct and polite to convey myself, leave alone how I would manage in this position to translate someone else simultaneously!:)

Dear Parrot, I have read with lots of laugh and consideration the articles you sent to this forum and see I can start selftraining within no time. Thank you for this information, laugh you generated and your opinions which I fully agree with.


Dear Jonathan, I have read your thread and given myself some time to reflect on what you were saying and which steps I should follow.

On the one hand, you are also thinking, the interpretation is bound to be bad without prior thorough knowledge (I totally agree with that!), on the other hand, you just say "go to an accredited interpretation school" (for four years???, a specific class, course?)

Our descriptions of how we achieve differ on this point: You are going for an accredited college whereas I go for high motivation and selftraining based on the guidelines of other interpreting professionals. This does not exlude though that I will also attend a class or take a course for the improvement of interpretation skills and hope some questions will be more concrete as to the average human capacity for simultaneous interpretation!


All active or passive participants to this forum, keep well and good luck for your next ventures!

Binnur


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:01
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Last word on schools Oct 25, 2008

Schools respond to demand and may not always be accessible where you are (I presume, with Turkish target, that the ideal school would be in Turkey, although I do not rule out the capacity of German institutions, given current population profiles). That's why I mentioned the public library courses - I am told they are targetted towards community service intermediation. They may be the best thing to work with for now, although I don't discount future improvements in the situation. In any event, they would put you into a position to learn about further training opportunities available.

The thrust towards cultural and linguistic intermediation is part of the implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the EU (there's some Directive behind this - I haven't got the time to look it up right now - but so-called "minority" languages are involved, so this trend will be growing). In the courts, this is contemplated to help prevent nonsuit due to defective procedure (such as witnesses or accused not being interrogated or not declaring in a language that they understand).


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 20:01
English to Czech
+ ...
Not in response to all the other postings Oct 26, 2008

Hi Binnur,
in Czech we have a saying: "You can't make a whip out of sh*t, and even if you can, you can't crack it".

In other, more diplomatic, words, poor inputs are very likely to deliver poor outputs. Don't be ashamed to ask the speakers to slow down or to use shorter sentences or, alternatively, to make a pause for your translation after each clause. Most clients will show good understanding for your job.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

First experience of interpreting at a conference

Advanced search


Translation news





memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs