tips to improve my liaison/consecutive interpreting delivery speed
Thread poster: Will Masters

Will Masters  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 28, 2011

I'm currently studying specialised interpreting as part of my degree (SPEN (UK), and have been told that as much as the information is all correct when I interpret, I need to aim to reach the same sort of threshold level as prefessionals with years of experience. All the interpreters I have dealt with (my lecturers included - each with an extensive history in various forms of interpreting) have said that the interpretation itself should be approximately 20% shorter than the original dialogue, as the audience obviously doesn't want to have to sit through the whole thing again - obviously this is only applicable in certain instances, whereby some information is used as "padding" rather than having any significant relevance to what is being talked about.

An example of such information I was given today by an interpreter was about a hairdresser boarding a high-speed train to London from Bristol with her bag filled with brushes, scissors etc. Rather than reciting everything in the target language, simply saying that "the hairdress boarded a London bound train (from Bristol) with all of her professional gear" would be sufficient. I try to do this when interpreting anyway, missing out the information that isn't relevant to anything, but I don't seem to be able to reduce my overall delivery speed.

Is there any advice you could give me to make my interpretation faster, without loosing any of the accuracy of it?


English to French
+ ...
surely your question concerns concision Sep 28, 2011

rather than speed per se?

If you speak too fast you will gabble and nobody will thank you for that. Your diction must be clear, especially for people following in a foreign language.

Firstly, I would tend to argue with the -20% goal. It may be generally valid but, at the start of any meeting, encounter, session, until everybody has got truly to grips with an exchange, docking bits here and there may not always be helpful. But once the foundations have been set, then being more concise is almost automatic, given the way people repeat themselves.

I wouldn't at this stage get too hyper about this aspect. With experience you should acquire a degree of confident detachment, which means that you will be following the debate as well as preparing to interpret the different interventions and you will then sense what to jettison without difficulty. For the moment you are probably so focused on getting it right and not forgetting anything vital that you are too tied up in the moment to wield the scalpel with aplomb.

Concentrate first on the confidence factor and the rest should follow


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