First interpreting job :S
Thread poster: Ana Rita Simões

Ana Rita Simões  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 18:51
Member (2009)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 3, 2008

I have started my translator career just a couple of years ago, and I've only became a full time translator some months ago, so I'm still a rookie.

I've always been a translator and never did an interpreting job, but I was asked to do one tomorrow - aparently it's quite simple, only for one hour, in which basically I have to be around in case someone wants to talk with the Italian visitor. I was told it won't be technical and it will be +/- an informal situation, but still... I'm beginning to get a little nervous :S

I'm used to do it when my boyfriend visits my family in Portugal (he's Italian), and even if this is different, I think it will help me somehow. But I'm too perfectionist and too afraid of making mistakes: what if I don't understand what someone says, what if I can't find the right word to translate it?

How was your first interpreting experience? Were you also afraid of making mistakes? Did something go wrong, and if so, how did you deal with it?


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Probably OK Jun 3, 2008

It sounds like a nice assignment for a first job, friendly circumstances and not much pressure. If someone says something you do not understand, ask them to rephease it. You may make mistakes, but they will not be critical, they may even serve for a good laugh.

Don't get nervous about it, just go with the flow and do your best. I think you'll do just fine!


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Ana Kübli
Croatia
Local time: 19:51
German to Croatian
+ ...
Don't worry... Jun 3, 2008

... I think it's great that you don't have to deal with technical stuff during your first interpreting job and that it's an informal meeting... that's just great for getting rid of all fears.

I was also afraid of my first interpreting but it was rather technical and I know I was really exhausted after doing that job, however it gets easier with the time.

Just relax and do your best. Don't hesitate to ask if you didn't understand something, most of people understand that interpreting is not an easy job and they make an effort to speak clearly, at least this is my experience.

If you make a mistake, just smile and apologize and correct yourself, this also helps.

You may also take some notes, some people are not used to use short sentences (you may also ask the guest to use short sentences) and notes really do help, especially with e.g. numbers.

What I like about interpreting is the fact that you get to learn a lot about people and different countries, that's the fun part!

I hope you will have fun!


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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:51
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nervous? Who is nervous? Jun 3, 2008

It's like every other first time. You're afraid of making a mistake, nervous at the beginning, too busy when doing it and elated when it ends. I'm talking about interpreting, of course.

How to deal with a mistake? Take it in stride. It will be forgotten five minutes later. Don't show your nervousness, act sure and professional, and everything will be ok.

If you don't understand something, don't be afraid of asking.

Have fun, and then tell us how it went.


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 12:51
French to Spanish
+ ...
Easy. Jun 3, 2008

You'll have to translate in case someone wants to talk with the italian visitor... easy!
As Henry says, if you don't understand, ask to repeat. Nothing wrong with that.

I always wonder what a translator in the U.N. must feel when he's going to translate a very big shot speach! I would be... speachless!

Hang on it, and good luck.


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
One question Jun 3, 2008

I have one question for you. Will you interpret what's said in the consecutive mode or simultaneously? If you can, I suggest you do it simultaneously that way you won't depend on your memory or your notes. Simply stand close to the person you are interpreting for and interpret everything softly. This is what we call the "shou-shoutage" ( I'm not sure if it's spelled this way). The idea is that you pretty much whisper to avoid hearing two voices speaking at the same time with the same level of intensity.

I'll echo what my colleagues have already told you, this is an excellent first assignment, and you'll do fine! Good luck to you.


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:51
English to French
+ ...
chuchotage Jun 3, 2008

teju wrote:
This is what we call the "shou-shoutage" ( I'm not sure if it's spelled this way).


it's chuchotage, which is French for "whispering" ;-o)


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:51
Flemish to English
+ ...
Paraphrase Jun 3, 2008

Juan Jacob wrote:

You'll have to translate in case someone wants to talk with the italian visitor... easy!
As Henry says, if you don't understand, ask to repeat. Nothing wrong with that.

I always wonder what a translator in the U.N. must feel when he's going to translate a very big shot speach! I would be... speachless!

Hang on it, and good luck.


A translator feels nothing, because he will never translate a very big shot speach.... Translators are not interpreters, any language professional should know that. And even the female interpreter of "the Interpreter" knows it.
However, any interpreter will feel anxious. Fortunately, if the big shot does not understand the target-language and the interpreter is good at paraphrasing what has been said, it should go smoothly. Wiith chuchotage, you have the advantage that both interlocutors see you and that you can ask them to adapt their speed....
----
Paraphrase what has been said and don't try to repeat the speech word for word.
Verbum volant, scriptum manent.<

[Edited at 2008-06-03 19:12]


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks! Jun 3, 2008

nordiste wrote:

teju wrote:
This is what we call the "shou-shoutage" ( I'm not sure if it's spelled this way).


it's chuchotage, which is French for "whispering" ;-o)


I stand corrected! Thank you nordiste.


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mystymy
Local time: 13:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
be confident Jun 3, 2008

Rita,

I am certain you will do well. This type of assignment is very good to start. As you read in the posts, smile, be pleasant, ask them to repeat if they speak softly or you do not understand.

Having worked in the booth at the U.N. during side events I can confindently say your upcoming assignment will not make or break you.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Shoutage Jun 3, 2008

"Shoutage" is another form of simultaneous interpretation that I have used successfully. The whispering mode is something I cannot get at all, because in the first place I do not understand whispering myself (bad hearing), added to the sneaking suspicion that maybe the party who needs to hear me cannot understand it either. Plus I have a loud voice that I cannot keep down.

But the "shoutage" mode is different. There, after suitably warning the speaker I am about to upstage him or her, I tell them to be mostly concerned about speaking to me and then I proceed to repeat in the other language what the apeaker is saying in a very loud voice so the audience can only hear me.

Of course that only works when the entire audience understands the target language and there is no one who has to listen to the source language. The big advantage is that no electronic equipment has to be used, yet there is no time lost due to consecutive interpretation.

Now regarding Juan's comment: "I always wonder what a translator in the U.N. must feel when he's going to translate a very big shot speach! I would be... speechless!" Well, it is an interpreter, not a translator, and I am both. At the UN I understand they are supposed get the text of the speech beforehand. Not the case with my non-UN assignments; there are no rules to protect me, and I often get nothing at all. Like in all situations I must go with the flow, I cannot remain speechless.

It is a real challenge to work under the circumstances mentioned but for Rita it will be a piece of cake. She can work up from there.


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
So true... Jun 3, 2008

Henry Hinds wrote: Now regarding Juan's comment: "I always wonder what a translator in the U.N. must feel when he's going to translate a very big shot speech! I would be... speechless!" Well, it is an interpreter, not a translator, and I am both. At the UN I understand they are supposed get the text of the speech beforehand. Not the case with my non-UN assignments; there are no rules to protect me, and I often get nothing at all. Like in all situations I must go with the flow, I cannot remain speechless.


A colleague once told me that being an interpreter was like being an actor at a play, except you don't get to memorize your lines beforehand, and the play is different every time you go on stage. Sounds terrifying, doesn't it? I've found that a good dose of respect for the work we do, helps. No matter how many years of experience I have, when I interpret at a trial, I still get butterflies on my stomach. Just like Henry, I'm also a translator and interpreter, and all of the interpreting work I do is for the courts, where there is no room for error, well, at least we try to be as accurate as possible and clarify any doubts.

Henry's suggestion that the speaker speaks softly while the interpreter's voice is louder is a good one. That's very effective when you are interpreting for more than one person, when whispering is not an option.


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Ana Rita Simões  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 18:51
Member (2009)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Jun 3, 2008

Thank you so much for your replies, I feel a little less anxious now

I believe it will be consecutive interpreting - I am supposed to translate the questions and the answers in this meeting with the Italian representative of the company. I was also told that last year's interpreter didn't work at all, since there were no questions, so I hope this year will be the same - maybe just one or two questions so I can see if I can really do it

I have a LOT of respect for this job and for the people who do it everyday. It must be tiring, but it's also a big challenge, and I like challenges!

Oh well, let's hope they like my smile if I'll be... speechless!

Thank you for your precious suggestions/advice once again!


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FHvastija
Slovenia
Local time: 19:51
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Preparation Jun 4, 2008

My main advice would be to read up on what they do. Read up on who the client is, what his position is in the company, what the company does, and what kind of clients he's likely to speak to.

That way you can brush up on the technical terminology in the field and have some vague idea of what might pop up. Of course, you can never really know, but coming in there well informed will help you approach it more confidently and relaxed.


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Ana Rita Simões  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 18:51
Member (2009)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
done! Jun 4, 2008

It went very well - only two people showed up so it wasn't tiring, and in fact they understood each other so I didn't have much to translate. In the end I enjoyed it very much! Maybe I'll try again...

Thank you all once again!


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First interpreting job :S

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