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Similtaneous interpreting of the E.P.-sessions.
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:47
Flemish to English
+ ...
Sep 30, 2004

By means of streaming video, I have been watching the debates of the commissioners-designate of the future E.U.-commission in real-time.
What is interesting is that you can chose the current streaming language and that you can listen to 20 different languages and 40 interpreters.
Some of these interpreters take a deep breath before they start speaking, others exhale. I have been taught the latter? What do you do?
In the language of some of these interpreters, you can hear a regional (Irish) influence, where I have been taught that a regional influence is a big sin.
Sorry for this piece of Dutch but:

De betere tolkenscholen van de Lage Landen en bijgevolg de leveranciers van het E.P., die zich voornamelijk in de Scheldestad bevinden, zweren bij hoog en bij laag bij een neutraal VRT-Nederlands.
Als ik echter naar de tolken van het EP luister, hoor ik voor 90% een Hollands Nederlands doorspekt met een aantal Engelse termen. Is dat de norm?


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Ariella Germinario-Lingenthal  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:47
English to Italian
+ ...
Where? Sep 30, 2004

Thanks for the useful bit of information! Could you please provide a URL where you can find the debates simultaneously translated into various languages?

Thanks again,

Ariella


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:47
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Url Sep 30, 2004

http://www.europarl.eu.int/press/audicom2004/index_en.htm

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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:47
German to English
Accents Sep 30, 2004

"In the language of some of these interpreters, you can hear a regional (Irish) influence, where I have been taught that a regional influence is a big sin."

I don't see the problem here. Ireland isn't a region, it's a country. Irish people speak English with an Irish accent, Americans speak it with an American accent. Are you suggesting that Americans, Canadians etc. should start speaking English like 1940s BBC news announcers, or what?

Robin


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Carley Hydusik  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:47
Russian to English
+ ...
About the accents... Sep 30, 2004

Yes, at interpreting school I also heard many different comments from the professors along the lines of "We don't like American accents in English" "The Québecois accent (or Southern French accent) in French makes your hair stand on end" "Saxons speak terrible-sounding German", etc., etc.

I say, just look at how many language combinations the EU has to cover! As long as the interpreters' interpreting skills are good and the language they are producing is comprehensible to all of their listeners, who cares about their accents? The job of the interpreter is to facilitate communication, and if this is getting done, I don't think there should be a problem.

I also recently heard from a Polish EU interpreter that he gets negative comments because his RETOUR English has a slight New York accent. He is an excellent interpreter--they are lucky to have him! Why harangue him because of his English? PERHAPS one could make the argument that it is a European institution and that influences from other continents are not welcome, but particularly in his case, it is a retour language... and this also would not apply to an Irish accent. I agree with Robin B on that one.

I would be interested in having a translation of the comment in Dutch... I could understand only parts of it. Would that be possible?

Finally, thanks very much for the link!

[Edited at 2004-09-30 14:59]

[Edited at 2004-09-30 15:53]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:47
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Accents are also a specialisation Sep 30, 2004

RobinB wrote:

I don't see the problem here. Ireland isn't a region, it's a country. Irish people speak English with an Irish accent, Americans speak it with an American accent. Are you suggesting that Americans, Canadians etc. should start speaking English like 1940s BBC news announcers, or what?

Robin


and that spreads the market out. I remember a conference where the Arabic was divided into Egyptian and Gulf Arabic.

There have also been instances in which neutral (accent-free) English was considered un-English. And yet there is a large market for accent-free English. In a word, no single bloc can control demand, no matter how much they complain.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:47
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Into English Sep 30, 2004

It all depends on who the listener is: I guess that if the interpreter who interpreted for Mr.Ahearn had an Irish accent this will not have been a problem, on the contrary.
But interpreter schools swear by a neutral standard form.

However, the Dutch I heard was Dutch from Holland. Not the neutral standard which is propagated by the interpreter schools.

Mr.J.L.Deheane, EMP speaks with a regional Flemish dialect and this was interpreted into English with an Irish accent.

Translation:
The better interpreter schools of the Low Lands, who are the suppliers of the E.P. are mainly situated in the city by the river Scelt (Antwerp). They advocate the Dutch of the Flemish television (a kind of neutral sounding Dutch which sounds well into the ears of Dutch and Flemish speakers) as the norm. However, when I listen to the Dutch of the E.U.-interpreters, I hear a kind of Dutch Dutch (from Holland) with some Anglicisms in it. Is this the standard?
--------------
Outside the institutions of the E.U. there is almost no demand for interpreting into Dutch. Most Dutch speak English and most Flemish speak English, French, Dutch (and sometimes German).
I know that the mother-tongue only issue is a sensitive one, but what is the sense of attending a training for which there is almost no demand?
Either you pass at the E.U. or the year of training has been a good learning experience.
--------------
About interpreter schools:
Some tend to be "islands" with no feeling what happens on the market.
in some schools you find professors, who are providing interpreter training and in other interpreters who are providing the same. This makes quite a difference.

When it comes down to admission they do not maintain uniform standards .

I do question translation against the clock or consecutive interpreting as first method of selection, when the actual market-demand is for simultaneous interpreters.
It is not a competition to become a translator, but it does matter if in a race against the clock you make spelling mistakes or not.
A good consecutive interpreter is the product of a year or more of training. How can a person who never heard of consec. pass a test where consec.is the sifting method?
At some the use of regional variants of a language is strictly prohibited, at others it is not discouraged.
Prices of interpreter training vary from €850-€10.000. The latter training is quite a gamble. If you do not pass the tests, you loose a lot of money.

The E.U.-website is quite instructive and demystifies the profession of an interpreter.




[Edited at 2004-09-30 19:32]


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Carley Hydusik  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:47
Russian to English
+ ...
Accents in English; Dutch and Flemish Sep 30, 2004

To Williamson: Thank you very much for the translation. It was indeed interesting to read. Although I don't understand Dutch/Flemish, I do hear a difference between them and that is why I wanted to know what you said.

To Parrot: Again, I go back to Robin B's comment and I also ask you, what do you MEAN "neutral" English? I don't believe that exists. Native speakers of English (or any language!) always have some kind of markers in their speech. They are British, American, Australian, Filipino, Canadian, South African, Indian, etc. etc., and you can hear it. And as for non-native speakers of English, either their accent is influenced by their mother tongue, or it reflects the accent of the place where they learned it. There are some European non-native speakers of English who have rather "neutral" accents, but even if they didn't learn their English in Ireland, Scotland, Minnesota, or some place with a clearly marked accent, you will always be able to classify them as having a "mostly American" accent or "mostly British" accent.

As to different variants of Arabic, my understanding was that Egyptian and Gulf Arabic are so different that they are not always mutually intelligible to native speakers. To me, that's a different category.

P.S. I just looked at the EP website. It's a goldmine!

[Edited at 2004-09-30 20:02]


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:47
German to English
Minnesota? Sep 30, 2004

Carley,

You mean they speak English in Minnesota? OK, well that clears up a couple of issues I've had to deal with lately.

Thanks,
Robin


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:47
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Neutral as defined by public school systems Sep 30, 2004

is speech free of regionalisms. Something not that hard to find in practice, even when there is no pure state. The public school systems have battled with this for decades (during my mother's day, there was a special speech course for teachers in Stanford BS Ed, and an MS engaged in creating it, I don't know how far they succeeded). But even by the standards of the SCIC, it exists; i.e., there is an English that is universally intelligible as correct to all native speakers.

It's a good base to work on, because one can do many things with it depending on the results he wants. If, for example, you're after projection without a microphone, you can raise your palate and round your vowels; this may lead to something that sounds like an accent (Old Vic?), even though it's only a temporary "character". Not all speakers know how to do it, and not all interpreters resort to it.


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hedsonia  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
In a world of different accents, no one is "accent free" Oct 1, 2004

Carley Hydusik wrote:

To Williamson: Thank you very much for the translation. It was indeed interesting to read. Although I don't understand Dutch/Flemish, I do hear a difference between them and that is why I wanted to know what you said.

To Parrot: Again, I go back to Robin B's comment and I also ask you, what do you MEAN "neutral" English? I don't believe that exists. Native speakers of English (or any language!) always have some kind of markers in their speech. They are British, American, Australian, Filipino, Canadian, South African, Indian, etc. etc., and you can hear it. And as for non-native speakers of English, either their accent is influenced by their mother tongue, or it reflects the accent of the place where they learned it. There are some European non-native speakers of English who have rather "neutral" accents, but even if they didn't learn their English in Ireland, Scotland, Minnesota, or some place with a clearly marked accent, you will always be able to classify them as having a "mostly American" accent or "mostly British" accent.

As to different variants of Arabic, my understanding was that Egyptian and Gulf Arabic are so different that they are not always mutually intelligible to native speakers. To me, that's a different category.

P.S. I just looked at the EP website. It's a goldmine!

[Edited at 2004-09-30 20:02]


I agree with you, I live in the USA for a long time and I lived in England for three years. I never met anyone "accent free", the americans have their accent depending on the region of the country, the British have their accent also depending on that and so is the same case in every country, even if you are a native.
There may be some schools or public schools that want to implement that, but in reality they don't know what they are talking about in my opinion. I have been an interpreter for over 20 years and I am able to understand many different regional speech patterns from the USA, Europe and Central and South America. WE cannot leave the regionalisms out if that is t he way that the "limited English speaker" uses, on the contrary, we need to use whatever regional term we hear, with the closest word in the target language that we can find.
The TV and radio broadcasters may not show a recognizable accent, but then, they are only reading.
There is nothing wrong with anyone's accent, and as long as the words are pronounced really clearly in the second language and the ideas are conveyed perfectly, the job is done well.
Sonia


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:47
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Gold mine Oct 1, 2004

Yes, the live-streaming of debates of the E.P. and the interpretation in 20 languages is very instructive.
You have standard norms, but these are not always applied.
Hence my question with regard to breathing and interpreting and the neutral standard language.
These debates demystify the profession of interpreter and allow you to compare theory and practise.
It is very also interesting to hear the languages of the ascession countries.




[Edited at 2004-10-01 08:48]


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:47
German to English
Public school systems? Oct 1, 2004

Parrot wrote:

is speech free of regionalisms. Something not that hard to find in practice, even when there is no pure state. The public school systems have battled with this for decades (during my mother's .....


Are you referring to US or UK public schools? (big difference!)

Robin


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IrinaGM  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:47
English to Georgian
+ ...
I have to disagree, I HAVE met "accent free" people Oct 1, 2004

[quote]hedsonia wrote:

I agree with you, I live in the USA for a long time and I lived in England for three years. I never met anyone \"accent free\"

_________
I'll have to disagree with hedsonia. I have met "accent free" people. These are people with native English who have lived in so many places over the years that their original accent disappears and they speak with no particular accent. You're not going to find a lot of people like that and especially people like that who also happen to be interpreters, but they do exist.

On a different note, many thanks to Williamson for such a great website

-Irina


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Natalia Elo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:47
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Security Council Meetings as well! Oct 5, 2004

Hi all,


Did you know by the way that one can follow the Security Council Meetings as well?

I am watching them and trying to interpret simultaneously, I jsut didn't find (yet) reasonable way to record myself. I don't know if I need some special software for that.

Cheers
Natalia

http://www.un.org/webcast/sc.html

[Edited at 2004-10-05 13:52]


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