Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
How to learn simultaneous interpreting - suggestions needed
Thread poster: Luke Mersh

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:10
Spanish to English
Jul 27, 2011

i would like to know if anybody can recommend how to start learning how to do simultaneous interpreting.
In my Spanish classes i am practising repeating short audio clips at the same time as it is spoken, in the same language, but i find it very difficult.
does anybody have any recommendations.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Hassan Abdou  Identity Verified
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 16:10
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
simultaneous interpreting Jul 27, 2011

First of all you must know that being an interpreter doesn't need to get a certificate; it simply needs to practice and practice only. At the beginning it will be difficult but it's very pleasant and you will enjoy practicing simultaneous interpretation each time.

The big problem is that you must learn how to listen, to think and to speak simultaneously; for example you listen to the first phrase, process it in your mind and speak while listening to the second one and so on. You have to start with a simple and slow audio on your PC and listen to the first phrase and pause the audio by using the space bar for example, you can try to interpret it, after that you play and listen for another one and interpret it and so on. You can also replay a phrase that you didn't understand and try another interpretation. After many times you will be able to memorize a long phrase in your mind and interpret it easily. The biggest problem you will meet is that if you try to speak you will only hear your voice not the speaker's voice; you have to try to pay attention as much as you can to the speaker's voice while talking, it's not so easy but not impossible. After many exercises, you will be able to do the above combination (listening, thinking, speaking while listening and so on…). As I said step by step while pausing and replaying you have to memorize long phrases and interpret them and after that you can listen to two phrases without pausing and try to interpret them, if you failed replay them and try from the beginning and don't forget to focus about speaker's voice while you are talking.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:10
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
how to learn simultaneous interpreting Jul 27, 2011

thank you for that. i have been listening to spanish 1.5 min long audio speach and trying to repeat it in the same language at the same time. very dificult.

but i will try to practice for 10min or so when i can every day.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mihaela Buruiana  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 16:10
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
It's all about speed and concentration, not necessarily memory. Jul 27, 2011

Not to mention very good knowledge of both languages, that's a must.

We're talking about simultaneous interpretation, which means you don't have time to memorise a whole phrase and then translate it, while you're listening to the speaker's next phrase. You just have to translate approximately at the same time with the speaker, while trying to anticipate, rephrase or summarise, when needed.

You were talking about your exercises... In real life, it's more difficult than that, as the speakers don't always have very fluent, logical, nicely flowing speeches. There can be interruptions, parantheses, jokes that are difficult to translate or cultural references. Also, they can speak very fast or with strong accents.
The thing about simultaneous interpreting is that there's no time to thoroughly think about all that. So the trick is to keep talking. Don't freeze! Don't panic! Don't waste time looking for the most appropiate word, say the first nearest synonym that comes to mind.

Also, don't listen to your own voice, but focus on the speaker's. Have faith that your brain knows what it's doing and just listen.

I think a good exercise for you would be to try and TRANSLATE outloud while listening to the news (CNN, Euronews, for example).

Hope this helps!

Mihaela


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Hassan Abdou  Identity Verified
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 16:10
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Agree Jul 27, 2011

Mihaela Buruiana wrote:


We're talking about simultaneous interpretation, which means you don't have time to memorise a whole phrase and then translate it, while you're listening to the speaker's next phrase. You just have to translate approximately at the same time with the speaker, while trying to anticipate, rephrase or summarise, when needed.





I agree with you that while you are in a conference you don't have to, and you will NOT be able to, memorize any phrases. But I am talking about very early training to simultaneous interpretation; at the beginning, you have to try to listen to one single phrase, try to keep the important items of the phrase and try to process them, after that you can try with two phrases and so on.

[Edited at 2011-07-27 22:38 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:10
Italian to English
+ ...
Don't think about it Jul 28, 2011

It may sound a bit weird but I imagine myself as a conduit with language flowing through. I try not even to think, just process it automatically. Don't get stuck on unknown vocabulary, think on your feet and rephrase. I was taught to start a couple of seconds after the speaker though, rather than be in step.
News, even listening to conversations around you, there are many everyday opportunities to practise.
Good luck.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mihaela Buruiana  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 16:10
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
My own experience Jul 28, 2011

Hassan Abdou wrote:

I agree with you that while you are in a conference you don't have to, and you will NOT be able to, memorize any phrases. But I am talking about very early training to simultaneous interpretation; at the beginning, you have to try to listen to one single phrase, try to keep the important items of the phrase and try to process them, after that you can try with two phrases and so on.

[Edited at 2011-07-27 22:38 GMT]


I wouldn't know about that, because, in my case, I did not have time to gradually learn how to do it. I was "thrown to the wolves", as they say, when I was asked to do simultaneous interpreting at a real life meeting with about 100 attendees. After the first phrase, I froze, because I had listened to myself instead of the speaker. So I learned the hard way about the rules to be followed, which I tried to list in my previous answer.

Luckily for me, I managed to pick up this trade quite fast, probably because I enjoyed it so much. That's why I think that an essential condition for succeeding as a simultaneous interpreter is to enjoy the experience, not think of it as a burden or something to be scared of.

Best of luck!
Mihaela


Direct link Reply with quote
 

nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:10
English to French
+ ...
starter excercises Jul 28, 2011

In my classes for simultan interpreting in Germany we did various exercices as starters like:
- listening in your native language and repeat after a small delay (5 sec ? half a sentence) trying to keep the fluency of the speech. This can be done when listening to the radio or internet material (press conferences etc.)
- doing the same as above while doing another task : writing reverse numbers from 10000 to 1 , or solving some mystery drawing where you have to trace a line to link ascending numbers scaterred on a piece of paper (see books for kids)

The purpose is to discover that in fact you are able to focus your attention on the speech and speak while doing a different task at the same time - same as a pianist who can play whith both hands without "thinking" about it, or the way you can drive a car in a busy traffic, managing the various pedals/ brake/stop/ and keeping a normal conversation with the person at your side.

There are free software on the Internet which allow you to listen on one track and record your voice on the other ones, it is great to exercise. Try audacity http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Simultan interpreting is an amazing experience: when you finish a session sometimes you would not be able to explain what the whole discussion was about - despite the fact that you did the interpretetion during the session - it is not a matter of memorization but more of flexibility.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Edson Lopes  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:10
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Initial training on simultaneous Jul 28, 2011

Different people learn differently. I was also "thrown to the wolves" and enjoyed interpreting simulteneously so much that I continued doing it. HOwever, there are some techniques that may help you develop your ability. I have used these with my students, and it has been a successful experience. Some people call the first technique "shadowing", others call it "trecking". What it consists of is to do exactly what you tried to do, only in an organized way: first you repeat a reasonably paced speech, as you hear it, in the same language. Then, after you feel comfortable with it, you grab the written translation of the same speech or talk and read the translation as you hear the original text in the source language, only trying to stay 3-6 words behind the speaker. You will notice something which is the reality out there in the world: there are easy-to-interpret speakers and speeches, and there are more difficult ones. You have to consider not only how much familiar the vocabulary is to you, but also your knowledge of the topic being addressed. Even the best interpreters are likely to have difficulties interpreting what they don't fully understand. It is an axiom that the first duty of the interpreter is to understand what is being said. Without that, it is impossible to do a good job. That is also why it is important for the interpreter to be briefed by the speaker before tackling the job.
After feeling comfortable with this technique, you can interpret the same texts, this time without the written text in front of you.
Then finally you can try to do the same with a talk you haven't heard before. Make sure to start with easy-to-understand texts, so not to get discouraged. Then slowly go into more difficult ones. Remember, as has been said, not to get stuck on specific words - supply an approximate translation instead of being overly concerned about precision. The context usually helps both the interpreter and the audience.

[Edited at 2011-07-28 14:14 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Simultaneous Vs Consecutive Jul 28, 2011

Hassan Abdou wrote:

Mihaela Buruiana wrote:


We're talking about simultaneous interpretation, which means you don't have time to memorise a whole phrase and then translate it, while you're listening to the speaker's next phrase. You just have to translate approximately at the same time with the speaker, while trying to anticipate, rephrase or summarise, when needed.





I agree with you that while you are in a conference you don't have to, and you will NOT be able to, memorize any phrases. But I am talking about very early training to simultaneous interpretation; at the beginning, you have to try to listen to one single phrase, try to keep the important items of the phrase and try to process them, after that you can try with two phrases and so on.

[Edited at 2011-07-27 22:38 GMT]


From your description, it seems that you are talking about memory retention exercises which relate to consecutive interpretation, not simultaneous.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Simultaneous Jul 28, 2011

luke_cbs wrote:

i would like to know if anybody can recommend how to start learning how to do simultaneous interpreting.
In my Spanish classes i am practising repeating short audio clips at the same time as it is spoken, in the same language, but i find it very difficult.
does anybody have any recommendations.


Is Spanish your first language? If not, then start with English. Do the same exercises you are describing in your native language. That's the best way to start. Don't try to do it at the exact same time, you should always aim to be a few seconds behind, you might be able to be even faster in repeating same as source language but this could hurt you later on when you actually start to interpret because being a few seconds behind allows you to grasp more of what you are going to interpret and avoid mistakes or having to make corrections.

Like others mentioned, the best way to practice this is watching TV news broadcasts or the radio as well.

Once you are comfortable doing this in your native language then you can start interpreting. If you are focusing on a certain topic, i.e. legal, medical, it is useful to study some of the common vocabulary terms before you even attempt to interpret, otherwise it will get frustrating really fast. That is why praticing with news broadcasts is good since they use mostly general terminology.

Good Luck!

Alekz
www.certifiedcourtinterpreters.net


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:10
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
That's shadowing Jul 28, 2011

... and works for language learners as well.

It consists of closely following and repeating a speaker, maintaining a décalage of about 6-10 words as a way of gaining confidence in delivery and concentration. Interpreters do this as an exercise in both working languages, and initially you are not expected to interpret. Just (:D) parrot.

In fact, there's a self-training course about this, which you can follow at your own pace. Trainers will suggest a recorded speech of about 15 minutes as a baseline, and recording yourself as well. It progresses to paraphrasing in one language or another, later note-taking and multi-tasking, and finally to delivering an interpretation of the same speech in different versions (well, they're all different anyway). And it's true, if you keep the recordings, you will be able to observe your progress.

No real guarantee considering what can happen in a booth, but it really helps.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:10
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
how to learn simultaneous interpreting Jul 29, 2011

I am shadowing in Spanish not English , English is my native tongue, but as i am training to be an interpreter of English and Spanish I need to be able to simultaneously interpret from Spanish to English.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Maria-Letitia Chiculita  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 16:10
Romanian to English
+ ...
Simultaneous translation training Jul 29, 2011

I am specialized in simultaneous translation, and I can tell you this: practice, practice, practice! The operative word is practice. This is how I came to be specialized in simultaneous translation, which I love, by the way. Conference after conference after conference and several years of live dubbing for TV channels. Now it only comes natural!
Good luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 21:10
Chinese to English
Choose your practice materials carefully Jul 30, 2011

Practice practice practice is absolutely right, but it's worth having a look at how some training courses are structured as well. Modern training courses represent the best understanding we currently have of how to train good simultaneous interpreters.

First, note that most courses teach consecutive first. You don't say if you've got a strong base in consecutive interpreting. Learning consecutive teaches you a huge number of things: how to be concise; how to be avoid problem sentences; when to restructure and when not to; how to use your memory strategically; and you'll develop some standard translations that you can slot in without thinking, which is a massive help when it comes to simultaneous.

So I'd advise you to do lots of consecutive interpreting and consecutive practice before thinking about simultaneous.

When you come to simultaneous, choose realistic materials to start with. I have to disagree with pretty much everyone here: DON'T START WITH NEWS! News broadcasts are the most difficult thing on the planet to do in simultaneous. They're scripted, they're unpredictable, and they are full of proper names and very local concepts which may well be alien in your target language. The ability to interpret news is a distant pinnacle which you can aspire to, but believe me, most people never get there.

Other TV shows are very difficult as well.

The best practice materials are unscripted speeches. They tend to have a reasonable logical structure, be clearly presented, and because they are unscripted they have enough repetition to allow you to keep up. Look for university lectures, or those news discussion programs where they get economists or analysts in to talk about recent events. When we were starting, we all had to do speeches ourselves, to (a) practice making speeches and (b) create easy non-specialist practice material for our classmates. But if you don't have partners to work with, there's loads of good material on Youtube, etc.

Finally, record yourself, find your own problems, and make targeted improvements to your performance. I hate recording myself, and resisted doing it for years, but it really is the best way to improve.

Good luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

How to learn simultaneous interpreting - suggestions needed

Advanced search







Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search