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Off topic: Interpreters WHAT'S IT LIKE?
Thread poster: Maria Luisa Duarte

Maria Luisa Duarte  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 1, 2004

Hi all!

Some information regarding Interpreters, I await your Comments.
MLD

Experiencing another culture can be fascinating tasting new foods, listening to new music, meeting people who have a completely different approach to life. And those who enjoy foreign languages and cultures can make a career out of their interest by becoming interpreters, professionals who convert spoken words from one language into another so speakers of different languages can communicate.
Interpreters work with only spoken language. They don't work with written words that's the job of a translator. However, since "translate" means to change either written or spoken material into another language, people often refer to interpreters as translators. Good interpreters convert language without changing a speech's meaning or tone. To do this, they must understand the precise meaning of words and phrases and be able to listen attentively for long periods of time.
Interpreters can translate two ways simultaneously or consecutively. Simultaneous interpreters listen and translate at the same time. Many simultaneous translators work at the United Nations and other international bodies, listening through headphones to a delegate's speech while communicating the words over a microphone to others. Consecutive interpretation, on the other hand, gives an interpreter time to listen, take notes, and consider the meaning before translating. The speaker usually stops every 1-5 minutes and allows the interpreter to explain what has been said.
Interpreters are fluent in at least two languages and usually more. Often they work in two directions they can translate from a foreign language into their native tongue or from their native tongue into a foreign language. For example, an interpreter whose native language is English but who speaks Spanish fluently will probably translate both from English into Spanish and from Spanish into English. In addition, they may speak some languages well but not quite fluently, and in this case, they can only translate from this "secondary" language, not into it.
Interpreters must be fluent not only in multiple languages, but also in multiple cultures. To learn the subtleties of a foreign language, interpreters usually spend some time abroad. There they immerse themselves in the culture, learning idioms, the humor of the culture, and the offensive words they should avoid.
Specific tasks include:
· Speaking at least two languages fluently
· Accurately converting spoken words from one language into another
· Updating vocabulary
· Note-taking (for consecutive interpreting)
· Keeping interpreted information confidential
· Staying objective when interpreting by not adding personal opinions or extra information.

The more certifications and experience interpreters accumulate, the more likely they'll get a job. Many interpreters freelance, and they need a solid résumé and examples of previous work to attract customers.

The most successful freelance interpreters are also keen entrepreneurs. Freelancers must learn to write clear contracts, set fair rates, and collect payments.

The languages most in demand and the industries that need to hire interpreters will inevitably change to keep up with the changing strategic interests of government and businesses. To stay successful in today's dynamic global economy, interpreters must continue to learn more languages and to add areas of specialization.

The more certifications and experience interpreters accumulate, the more likely they'll get a job. Many interpreters freelance, and they need a solid résumé and examples of previous work to attract customers.

The most successful freelance interpreters are also keen entrepreneurs. Freelancers must learn to write clear contracts, set fair rates, and collect payments.

The languages most in demand and the industries that need to hire interpreters will inevitably change to keep up with the changing strategic interests of government and businesses. To stay successful in today's dynamic global economy, interpreters must continue to learn more languages and to add areas of specialization.

SKILLS, ABILITIES, & PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
Communicating clearly
Making decisions on the basis of personal judgment and experience
Business sense
Understanding scientific and technical material
Ethical behavior
Dealing with complaints or offensive language calmly
Thinking on one's feet
Listening carefully to what someone else is saying
Working well with many different kinds of people

Most interpreters freelance. Some sign up with an agency that finds assignments for them. A few interpreters work directly for an organization, receiving a salary and benefits.

Multinational businesses, international non-profit organizations, and federal, state, or local government agencies--including the courts, schools, hospitals, and human services organizations--all employ interpreters. Most interpreters live and work in urban areas with large immigrant populations and active international business communities.

The National Center for Interpretation
The University of Arizona


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
That's a good part of it Jun 2, 2004

There's also a lot more, it goes on and on. However, there are some of us who do both - translating and interpreting. The skills required and the settings and working conditions are very different, but if you can combine them both all the better, because they use the same knowledge base. Also, one activity supports the other, and often a good job at an interpreting assignment can pay off with plenty of contacts and a lot more work either interpreting or translating.

That last point is a good one to remember for people who are trying to increase their business (practically everyone). You can get plenty of visibility (maybe "audibility"?)at a large conference interpreting job, but make sure they see your face, don't always hide in a booth.

Of course, booths and UN setups are not common here on the border, all that is too rich for the budget so you have to mix it up with the group.

You also have plenty of fun and human contact that you definitely miss if all you do is sit in front of a computer!

[Edited at 2004-06-02 01:53]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:11
Flemish to English
+ ...
Walking on a fire hydrant Jun 2, 2004

The world's most famous biz.school's slogan is "Our programme is like walking on a fire hydrant". The same is true for interpreting, especially, simultaneous interpreting.
To translate every word when a speaker speaks at the velocity of a bullet-train is not possible. Then it boils down to try to anticipate what the speaker is going to say, envision it and make a sentence which reflects meaning.
Listen to : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3426257.stm and you will get great tips.


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