Understanding dialects
Thread poster: Poisson rouge
Poisson rouge
Local time: 16:38
German to French
+ ...
Jul 15, 2011

Good afternoon!

I will be participating in a conference as a voluteer interpreter (for the second time) in a few weeks' time and am increasingly concerned about the local dialect. The conference will be taking place in Austria and although my knowledge of German is very good after nearly 5 years in Germany, I find it nearly impossible to understand the Austrian dialect. I am therefore asking myself 1) generally to what extent it can be expected from interpreters to understand a dialect (I am talking about real dialects, not about accents) 2) what one can do to increase understanding of a dialect (except I guess listening to the radio and hoping to understand it one day). How do you deal with such situations?



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Claudia Brauer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:38
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Study and immerse yourself in the culture Jul 15, 2011

# 1. Study. Attached some links, read the glossaries... study....
# 2. If you can find some books or DVDs in the specific dialect, read and watch them.
# 3. You don't have much time.... but you should "immerse" yourself in the culture... maybe take a summer job or something of the sort if at all possible.

My guess? If you are not comfortable with the dialect you should
A. Tell your client and give them the opportunity to find an interpreter who is versed in the dialect
B. If they decide to continue with you, they will know that you have some shortcomings and that your quality may be affected by that.

I am a Spanish interpreter and have many times interpreted certain dialects that I am not extremely familiar and every time I have been very clear with my client (even at the risk of losing that assignment). It is really the only professional thing to do. If the client decides to stay with you, it is the client's decision, not yours.


Interesting discussion:

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Sarah Swift  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:38
German to English
You're a volunteer - give your best, but don't expect yourself to be perfect Jul 17, 2011

Tell the client, of course. If he is still happy to run with the assignment, tell the people you will be interpreting for that you haven't spent a lot of time in Austria yet and would be grateful if they could speak slowly and/or in "Burgtheaterdeutsch, " or, perhaps, as if they were trying to make themselves understood to a German tourist. Adjust the formality of the request to the formality of the situation. Once you have made your plea, you can recede into the background and get on with the job.

(Edited for typo)

[Modifié le 2011-07-17 15:37 GMT]

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Understanding dialects

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