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Poll: Do you prefer translating or interpreting?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:12
SITE STAFF
Nov 5, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you prefer translating or interpreting?".

This poll was originally submitted by Firas Allouzi. View the poll results »



 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 15:12
Turkish to English
+ ...
Translating Nov 5, 2013

I think aging has something to do with it (I am 57). Ten or fifteen years ago, I used to find interpreting quite easy - that is to say informal, consecutive interpreting, as I have never done conference interpreting. In fact, I considered it to be easier and better paid than translating. However, the last time I did this kind of work about five years ago, I found it a bit scary as I was stumbling and grasping for the right words some of the time. I have been reluctant to do interpreting ever since. With translating, you are not on the spot to come up with the answer instantly. You can stop and ponder from time to time, go and put the kettle on for a caffeine boost to counter serious blockage, or leave a blank space and tackle that challenging phrase later. It is comforting to feel fully in charge of the work flow. I certainly feel that the quality of my translation work continues to improve with experience regardless of my age.

 

Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 14:12
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
Always wanted to be an interpreter, but... Nov 5, 2013

I always dreamt of being an interpreter. It was easy for me to switch between two languages because of my bilingual background. I could not wait to sit in that little cabin and do interpreting. I used to look down on translators! "How boring", I thought, "sitting at your desk all day, and doing written translations only". "Where is the energy?" ...

Never did I think that one day I would become a translator myself. And to be honest: I am so glad I never became an interpreter. Why? Because I would have to travel all the time (and I hate traveling by plane).

Translations are done from the comfort of your own "office". And as Tim said, you can put the kettle on, you can skip the difficult part and do them the next morning, when you are fresh and full of energy and when somehow difficult things seem to be easy all of a sudden.

Still, I miss speaking English. As a translator, you do not speak much in your job, if at all ...


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:12
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Interpreting! Nov 5, 2013

I am first and foremost an interpreter, and I love it.

It takes a lot to become a good interpreter and I cringe when people say ''no, you don't need a degree in interpreting'' to be an interpreter. That is some very bad advice! (here's an example: http://www.proz.com/forum/interpreting/258782-how_important_is_a_degree_in_interpretation.html#2221312).

Dealing with comprehension, terminology, accents, public speaking, stress management, diction, register, cohesion, cultural knowledge, abstract ideas and so much more - that's why you need a degree, that's why you need nerves of steel, and that is why I love interpreting. Translation will never quite do it for me, I'm afraidicon_smile.gif


 

Cristiana Sima  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 15:12
English to Romanian
+ ...
translation Nov 5, 2013

I love working in PJs and wool socks..

 

Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:12
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
I would love to be an interpreter, Nov 5, 2013

but I would need to get more training first and at the moment I don't think I can find the time and money for a (part time, if they exist) degree or other training course. Will keep my eyes and ears open for an opportunity though!

 

Berna Bleeker
Local time: 14:12
Member (2011)
English to Dutch
That's why I DON'T like interpreting Nov 5, 2013

Diana Coada, BA DPSI RPSI ACIL wrote:

[Y]ou need nerves of steel


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Training + experience Nov 5, 2013

I think that once you have trained yourself properly as an interpreter and have some experience behind you, you won't think that interpreting is such a difficult job.

Personally, I think that translating is more skilled than interpreting. I have a clear preference for interpreting over translation. The job itself is much more interesting, you don't have to work so hard - half an hour on, half an hour off - and you get to eat nice food and go to posh places. And its all usually over by 6 pm.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:12
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Not exactly a preference Nov 5, 2013

I don't interpret, full stop. I think translators and interpreters have different types of brains -- and mine definitely does not lean towards interpreting.

Cristiana Sima wrote:

I love working in PJs and wool socks..


@Cristiana
Loved this comment. Can't wear pajamas when you're interpreting, can you. icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif
Freedom to wear PJs or whatever takes your fancy. Viva anarchy!

Oh. Don't forget the fluffy wabbit slippers. icon_biggrin.gif

Small typo. Gasp! Just what was I thinking? icon_rolleyes.gif

[Edited at 2013-11-05 12:14 GMT]


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:12
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Reality check Nov 5, 2013

Tatty wrote:
I have a clear preference for interpreting over translation... you don't have to work so hard - half an hour on, half an hour off - and you get to eat nice food and go to posh places. And its all usually over by 6 pm.


If this was all an interpreter did, we'd all be doing it for free. 'Cos is just so easy and it's such a posh lifestyle!

Grrr....


 

Gül Kaya  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:12
Turkish to English
+ ...
Well said Diana Nov 5, 2013

Diana Coada, BA DPSI RPSI ACIL wrote:

Tatty wrote:
I have a clear preference for interpreting over translation... you don't have to work so hard - half an hour on, half an hour off - and you get to eat nice food and go to posh places. And its all usually over by 6 pm.


If this was all an interpreter did, we'd all be doing it for free. 'Cos is just so easy and it's such a posh lifestyle!

Grrr....


The last time I looked, the inside of a Crown Court with a bewigged judge scowling at all and sundry and threatening everyone with contempt of court is not the poshest of places to find yourself in. You need nerves of steel for this game.


 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Couldn't agree more Nov 5, 2013

Tim Drayton wrote:

With translating, you are not on the spot to come up with the answer instantly. You can stop and ponder from time to time, go and put the kettle on for a caffeine boost to counter serious blockage, or leave a blank space and tackle that challenging phrase later. It is comforting to feel fully in charge of the work flow. I certainly feel that the quality of my translation work continues to improve with experience regardless of my age.


That's the way I see it too. I'm a bit of a ponderer and I need my time to find just the right phrasing. My hat's off to all those who do interpreting.


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:12
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Translating Nov 5, 2013

I agree with Julian - translating and interpreting require different types of brain. Mine doesn't work fast enough to do interpreting. I like to be able to think about things and check in the dictionary if I'm not sure about something. I can also go back later and change my mind if I want to. I would just be a bundle of nerves in an interpreting situation.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 13:12
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Translating! Nov 5, 2013

Just like Julian, I think translators and interpreters have different types of brains – and interpreting is not my cup of tea. I love choosing my words carefully and taking the time to search for the right word when translating instead of the immediacy of interpreting. So, I do prefer the written sibling!

@Cristiana: It’s not the first time I've been in my pjs this late in the morning, and probably not the last…


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Reality check... Nov 5, 2013

I interpret on a regular basis, and this really is my view of interpreting. The key is to get good at it. BTW, I often interpret in civil courts, as there is just no money in interpreting in criminal ones. I think that court interpreting is an absolute pleasure, but I specialise in law and for me it is a privilege to be a part of courtroom action, working so closely with law. I still get to work with criminal law though as it is discussed outside of criminal courts.

 
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