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seeking advice from simultaneous interpreters...
Thread poster: Adriana Johnston
Adriana Johnston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 11, 2008

Hello everyone,
I was recently contacted by an interpreting agency that needs simultaneous interpretation for a conference. I do not have that many details about what the speech entails. The only thing I know is that it is a staff meeting for employees of the hotel, there will be about forty non-english speakers and it will last one and a half hour.

I accepted the assignment, and to be honest, I am a bit nervous about it, Thouhg I have done a few simultaneous interpretations in the past and am familiar with the equipment, I am still a little queasy since I am used to consecutive interpreting instead of simultaneous, and the whole setting is different.

So.... for those of you proffesionals that do simultaneous interpretation in a regular basis, do you have andy advice or suggestions for me?
I have been preparing as much as I can and I only have a few more days.

Thank you all for your collaboration.


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:24
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Further questions/comments Mar 12, 2008

Hi Adriana,

First of all, let me comment and ask a couple of questions in turn:

- Will you be interpreting in a booth (i.e. using the "classic" conference setting)?
- If so, have you considered working in tandem with a colleague (1.5 hours is a bit too long to go it alone, to be honest)?
- Have you been provided with any background materials/information? If not, I'd strongly suggest to contact the agency again in order to obtain the text(s) of the speech(es) you are going to interpret.
- Did you, hopefully, agree on a daily instead of an hourly rate? Despite the relatively short period of interpreting as such, it would appear obvious to me to quote a daily rate as you'd also have to consider travel time to and from the venue, as well as the fact that you probably won't be able to accept any other job on that day.

Hope this helps a bit and best regards,

Steffen


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 19:24
French to English
+ ...
tips Mar 12, 2008

Just to be clear - is this working in one direction only or both?
If it is only one direction, that simplifies matters, since you don't have to worry about the technicalities of changing channels for the different languages.

On Steffen's points regarding a second colleague and price, I suspect that the price has been agreed but that you should find out if you are alone or not.

If you are, and since you've agreed to do the job, it may probably be too late to change things, DO NOT PANIC.
90 minutes is quite long if you're on your own but it is not the end of the world. I've often done it and survived. No point in crying over split milk.

All that said, now to the "real" tips:

1) If you can tune into TV in the language from which you'll be working, then watch a few current affairs or news type programmes and practise interpreting directly.

2) Try to get as many texts in advance, even if they are only from earlier meetings of a similar sort

3) If nothing comes through before the day, get there early, grab the chairperson and see if you can get your hands on last-minute material

4) be sure you are sitting where you can see the screen (if there is one) and that you can READ what is on it. Often you can "lift" things directly from there

5) If the chairperson/secretary has no written material for you, try to ask them questions and get them to talk about what they'll be saying. The ideas will be at the top of their minds and they will very likely use sentences that will come out again later during the actual session.

6) If you cannot get to talk to anyone before the start, try during the coffee break, assuming there is one.

7) Just in case you get your hands on written material at the very last minute, practise on sight translation NOW by taking a newspaper, reading the article in the original and translating it out loud into your target language. Try to choose articles close to your theme.

8) Read up all you can about or connected with the hotel trade. Remember, figures may be involved, so take paper and a pen and note these as you hear them.

9) Try to get a list of speakers' names - that way you will get key information right.

That's all for now. If more comes to mind, I'll be back
HTH
Chris


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Nikolaj Widenmann
United States
Local time: 11:24
Member (2007)
Danish to English
+ ...
Do your homework Mar 12, 2008

Since this is an staff meeting for hotel employees, I would recommend studying up on hospitality-related terminology (vacancy, rack rate, occupancy, punching in/out, etc.). If you know people who work at a hotel and who speak Spanish, ask them about some of the terms that they typically use at work. Remember, insurance terms might also come up if they decide to discuss employee benefits.

I would further suggest finding out the names of the GM, the front office manager, food and beverage manager, etc. beforehand, since these are sure to come up. Sometimes people have unusual last names (such as Widenmann), so if those are people that the employees know, you would want to know how to pronounce their names, too.

Suerte.

[Edited at 2008-03-12 17:02]


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Adriana Johnston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Don't know what to expect Mar 12, 2008

See, that is what kills me!

I do not have any information on the subject of the speech itself. I know that I will be seating at the end of the table and the equipment will be already set for me. the rendition is from english to spanish, and there will be several speakers. Also there will be a short skit that has to be interpreted, they will have a screen, a powerpoint presentation and every thing will be forecasted live!!!

The fees were agreed upon for a half a day. hours are from 2:45 to 4:00 P.M. and as far as I know there will be no other interpreters present.
I am just so horrified right now.

I have being practicing with shadowing and dual tasking, and also some tv programs.
I contacted the conference coordinator but he said he does not have that much information either.

THANKS TO YOU TWO FOR THE GREAT ADVICE.


[Edited at 2008-03-12 17:18]

[Edited at 2008-03-12 17:20]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
One thing Mar 12, 2008

Make sure you can move around with a portable transmitter, because you never know how well you will be able to hear and understand, and especially when there are questions or comments from the audience. They may need to pass around a portable mike also (and there may not be any). You will then work the other direction.

Arrive early and make sure people know that there are certain limitations and they need to take interpreting into account. They may not be experienced or properly equipped for it.

Be prepared for an adventure.


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Adriana Johnston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Mar 14, 2008

thank you all for all of your tips.

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transleytan  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
Can you see the speaker? Mar 17, 2008

All previous tips are great. Also, I find it useful to look at the speaker's face whenever possible. Being able to move around with a portable transmitter can help.

Good luck!


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