Interpreting speeches on stage
Thread poster: Austra Muizniece

Austra Muizniece  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 10:03
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Sep 28, 2004

Hello! I was wondering about interpreting speeches and announcements in anniversary parties - I have been offered to interpret (consecutively)for a company at its 10th year anniversary party, seems like it is going to be quite a formal event, so I'd like to know if there are any "does" or "don'ts" related to that.I'd be very grateful if anyone could give some advice, as I am a bit of a rookie in this area

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:03
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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For formal occasions Sep 28, 2004

Get a copy of the speeches in advance, then work around it. That's the easiest part of interpreting. (It's when they go off-track that you have to be on your toes).

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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 09:03
French to English
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Stay stone-cold sober ! Sep 28, 2004

Very often speeches like this are during or after a heavy meal or buffet with lots to drink. Do not be tempted. You need to stay awake and keep your wits about you. Sounds obvious but it is easy to get swept along in the party spirit!
Remember to take something to write on and something to write with, preferably a pen that won't leak! A small notepad is probably better than A4 sheets of paper.
As Parrot says, try to get a copy of the speech(es) in advance. If you succeed, practise translating ad lib as you first read it/them through. Print out a copy with bigger line separation and in characters (font) that are easy to read. Number the pages just in case.
Never take anything for granted. However much the speech may have been prepared, speakers often choose to say seomthing different.
Also, your efforts deserve attention, so make sure you are standing where you can command it. Stand tall, make sure you are wearing clothes in which you are comfortable, forget yourself and PERFORM! I do not mean "ham", I mean "perform". If the speech is funny, make your version humorous. If it is serious, idem. Above all, do not speak too fast (or too slow), pace yourself, speak clearly and, if people start talking or there is a lot of noise, pause for dramatic effect. If you can earn their attention, you can earn their respect.
Remember, it is a chance to shine. Use it!
Good luck


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Austra Muizniece  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 10:03
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot for the advice, one more question :) Sep 28, 2004

Is it really ok to take notes if I'm on stage,all dressed up, holding a mike,etc? It seems a bit weird to me, but as I said, I don't have too much experience in this

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Judy Rojas  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 03:03
Spanish to English
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Stay focused Sep 28, 2004

austra wrote:

Is it really ok to take notes if I'm on stage,all dressed up, holding a mike,etc? It seems a bit weird to me, but as I said, I don't have too much experience in this


The nightmare of most conference interpreters is when the sound equipment in the cabin breaks down and he/she must leave the cabin an go up on stage and interpret consecutively

It has happened to me more often than I care to remember. In those cases, it is almost impossible to take notes. Just rely on you memory and concentration, and stay close enogh to the speaker so that you can gently touch his/her arm to signal a stop. Don't let the speaker go on for more than a phrase or two, or you will forget part of what was said.

It takes lots of practice, but it’s done very frequently. If you do it well, your colleagues will remember you. I still remember a delicate, unassuming, Japanese interpreter that accompanied the Japanese Minister of Public Works at a conference a few years back.

As most politicians, the minister stood up and spoke non-stop for about 5 or 10 minutes (it seemed incredibly long), then, this little lady just took a step forward, and spoke for about the same time. Incredible! The image of that young lady, calmly translating a very long speech from memory has always staid in my mind as someone to emulate.


[Edited at 2004-09-28 13:20]


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:03
English to Spanish
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You set the rules Sep 28, 2004

austra wrote:

Is it really ok to take notes if I\\\'m on stage,all dressed up, holding a mike,etc? It seems a bit weird to me, but as I said, I don\\\'t have too much experience in this


Based on my experience, you will have to tell them what it is you must have. There\\\'s a good chance that this is the first time that they hire an interpreter, so they don\\\'t know what to do. What you need includes a copy of the speech in advance (you don\\\'t always get it), a table and chair (or a podium), a pitcher of water and a glass, and enough transmitters and headsets for everyone who will be listening. It\\\'s better to let them handle the equipment rental, that way you are not responsible if someone walks off with it, or if there is a malfunction. Make sure they get extra batteries, and check each set before beginning. Ask to have someone in charge of distributing and collecting the equipment. You are going to be busy enough to be worried about headsets. There\\\'s always going to be someone tapping you on the shoulder while you are interpreting, because they cannot hear. You need someone to take care of this, you can\\\'t stop interpreting to handle equipment problems.
You should be in a place that does not distract from the speaker, if you are using equipment. If not, you should stand close to the speaker with your own microphone. This is a problem because it\\\'s hard to take notes while standing up. And doing consecutive interpretation without taking notes is not recommended for many reasons (they may be including numbers, names, lists of things, they may go on and on, it\\\'s risky to rely on your memory alone). I don\\\'t understand why is it that you will be doing this in the consecutive manner, when simultaneous is the standard. It\\\'s much easier, you don\\\'t depend on your memory, and you don\\\'t interrupt the flow of the speech. I\\\'m hoping it\\\'s not because you will be working without equipment. If that\\\'s the case, make sure you have your own mike, and talk to the speaker beforehand so that you can agree on how often he/she will pause.
Good luck to you!


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:03
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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Try to get out of holding the mike Sep 28, 2004

From what you say, you'll be onstage with a minimum of props (I hope you have a podium, at least). But DO try get out of holding a mike, if only to take notes. Those small, wireless new microphones you can wear on your lapel would be ideal.

What I hate about these situations are the flash bulbs. Never look straight at a photographer, and don't let them distract you.


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