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opinions about being an interpreter
Thread poster: xxxbklynally
xxxbklynally
English
Dec 5, 2005

I am an undergraduate studying the role of the interpreter for a final paper. I would like to know as an interpreter, what are your likes and dislikes about the position? Additionally, how much freedom do you feel you have/don't have during the actual moments of interpreting, i.e. is it a literal translation -- word for word -- or do you have some level of agency in deciding what to interpret? Anything else you have discovered about the profession would be helpful as well. Thanks so much.
ally


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Balttext  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 11:08
English to Latvian
+ ...
Interpreting freedom Dec 5, 2005

For me it rather depends whether it is consecutive or simultaneous interpreting, but I still feel I have the freedom of not sticking to word-for-word interpreting, since it never is/was the concept of translation anyways.

So in consecutive I do cut it short to some 3/4 of the text by summarising, while in simultaneous it is almost around 90%, the target text being closer to the source, sounding maybe a bit less "smooth" but anyway not word for word.


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Benno Groeneveld  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:08
English to Dutch
+ ...
I like dealing with people Dec 6, 2005

when I'm doing telephone interpreting (my main interpreting job for the past few years). On the other hand: dealing with the people (both callers and receivers of calls) can be extremely frustrating. It's a good thing people can't hear me think "You stpuid idiot/moron/[insert your favorite curses here], I just interpreted that." But I just put a smile on my face and in my voice and continue to be a professional.

On the other hand, it's a great feeling helping calming down a 911 caller until the police get there, or helping a patient get through to the doctor.

I try to be as litteral and complete as possible, often asking callers to speak in short sentences so I can better remember (and/or write down) what they say. That's easier on the telephone than in live situations because people are used to the give-and-take of a phone conversation.

And the commute (all the way to my telephone) isn't bad either.


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A Hayes
Australia
Local time: 18:08
Pragmatics Dec 6, 2005

(There is a great deal of fascinating theory behind all this, but) Very basically, pragmatics means that you need to interpret the ‘intention’ of a message. Now, in order to achieve this, you don’t necessarily need to use the same words.

I agree with Balttext that the technique you adopt will depend on the type of interpreting. Here in Australia, there are three main interpreting settings: community -which includes medical, legal, and educational settings, as well as the housing commission, etc.-, conference, and business or liaison interpreting.

In the context of court interpreting, accuracy means reproducing both the content and the form of a message, i.e. what and how something is said. Whereas in conference interpreting, the interpreter is usually expected to relay the content of a speech – the ‘what’ – in the best possible way. In other words, if the speaker hesitates or backtracks a lot, the interpreter is supposed to fix or improve this, producing a smooth, error-free interpretation.





[Edited at 2005-12-07 07:06]


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A Hayes
Australia
Local time: 18:08
Variety is the spice of life Dec 6, 2005

Combining interpreting with translation is ideal for me. Translating gives me time to carry out research and obtain in-depth knowledge about different issues. Interpreting gives me speed, and helps me keep in touch with the external world.

Just as exercising helps me translate better – because I feel good and fresh and healthy and alive – so does interpreting.

Like my colleagues, I also enjoy the contact with people and the challenge that interpreting entails. Finally, I like acting – and interpreters need to be good actors.


[Edited at 2005-12-07 07:04]


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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:08
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I love it Dec 7, 2005

What I love of being an interpreter is the fact that every day is an adventure...literally. You can be in a noisy factory on Monday, a quiet museum on Tuesday, a big hotel on Wednesday and a mud hut on Friday. Compare that to be stuck in the same office watching the same walls everyday!

[Edited at 2005-12-07 04:18]


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:08
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Exactly, Edwal! Dec 7, 2005

Edwal Rospigliosi wrote:
What I love of being an interpreter is the fact that every day is an adventure...literally. You can be in a noisy factory on Monday, a quiet museum on Tuesday, a big hotel on Wednesday and a mud hut on Friday. Compare that to be stuck in the same office watching the same walls everyday!


I also combine translation with interpreting, and it's always nice two have these one or two occasions per month when I get out of my box and am able to refresh my mind. As to the "word by word" issue, I agree with previous commentators that it's always the concept/underlying message not the pure words to be conveyed. Your choice of words in the target language may greatly differ from what's being said in the source.

Steffen

[Edited at 2005-12-07 09:23]


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xxxbklynally
English
TOPIC STARTER
more than an interpreter Dec 11, 2005

thanks everyone

one other question:
Are there instances/situations when your role as an interpreter goes beyond pure translation (be it literal or selective)? What other roles does the interpreter play?


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José Luis Villanueva-Senchuk  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 05:08
English to Spanish
+ ...
Of course Dec 11, 2005

Hola

We do have to go beyond the 'mere' role of performing a translation. We are linguistic mediators and not just a human who transposes the original speech ‘word by word.’

We have to convey a message despite the cultural differences that may arise. To do this, we must mediate.

JL


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xxxbklynally
English
TOPIC STARTER
observation site Dec 11, 2005

does anyone have suggestions on where I can observe an interpreter at work? I'm concerned that issues of confidentiality and privacy will prevent me from finding an observation site.

thanks.


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