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It’s not just the words that matter in interpreting. It is the speaker’s tone of voice, its inflection or musical flow, the liveliness, the emotions, the intention, the pauses, all the subtleties which get conveyed along with what we say. And this is where my focus is. Oral translation might be absolutely correct technically speaking, meaning if you look at the words as such, and still the result can be far from what the speaker originally intended if these factors are not taken into account.
Some of the pitfalls of organizing a conference or seminar
If you are going to have stand-up consecutive translation in front of the audience, be aware that more than half of the time will be spent listening to the translation! And, to make things even worse, one half of the audience might not need the translation and find it irritating to waste their time waiting for the interpreter to finally finish, while the other half who does need it is at risk of just getting a watered down, dry and lifeless and therefore somewhat distorted version of what the rest got when listening to the original because all the nonverbal subtleties are missing. And for simultaneous translation, just imagine how much it takes not to fall asleep if you have to listen to a monotonous voice all day long or if the interpreter is simply too slow and only makes you understand the joke that everybody laughed about a minute before when the hall is silent again.
My biggest asset for you as a customer
Being able to make a major contribution to the success of a conference, training, meeting, video by providing extremely fast, truthful, reliable, lively and inspiring translation is among my most precious assets and deeply gratifying. I feel confident even on stage in front of huge audiences (> 1,000) and am very experienced in this field. I don’t tend to panic in challenging situations. For me, interpreting has always had a sense of playfulness and spontaneity which helps to keep things light. And for me, the biggest praise is when people tell me again and again that they either totally forgot that they were listening to an interpreter or that, although they happen to speak both languages, they enjoyed and benefited from this “English lesson” or “German lesson” and/or my presence and/or voice so much.
Translating and interpreting: a fruitful synergy
In order to be a creative and spirited dancer, you must know the steps even in your sleep, of course. And this is one of the reasons why I also like written translation: It helps me to hone my skills and my command of the language. Where interpreting is about improvisation and being quick, written translation leaves the time to carry out in-depth research. At the same time, being very experienced with spoken language hopefully prevents my written translations from sounding stilted or “translated”, so I appreciate being able to do both (and my partner also enjoys having me around rather than travelling all over the place every once in a while ;-)
Some basics about my professional background
I am an avid reader and have translated approx. 60 books. Saying that I have had 18 years of professional experience with interpreting and translating is actually a vast understatement, since this time period only covers my career as a fulltime freelancer. In truth, I started out in 1986 (when I also translated my first book), first as an unpaid volunteer, then increasingly as a professional, too, but in my leisure time first and then on a part-time basis, until there was so much demand that I decided to convert the “hobby” that I enjoyed so much into a fulltime career. By then, I was able to also benefit from the knowledge I had acquired from my “daytime careers” and other interests: education and psychology, sociology, literature, science, politics, business, environment, engineering, management training, travelling and tourism, marketing, health care/medicine, world religions & spirituality etc. etc.
Some facts about my training background and customers
I have had the great fortune to work for far too many companies, organizations, institutions, government bodies, authorities and individuals to list here, certainly also for quite a few “big names”. I will be happy to provide any additional information of interest pertaining to my work history, professional experience and certifications to potential customers and/or agencies upon request. The short version with regard to language certificates would be to say that I graduated from the University of Münster (English) and was awarded an entire package of language certificates after a two-year full time training as a “Foreign Language Assistant”, where the focus was on business English, business French and Spanish, IT, marketing, business & finances.
A few remarks directed at non-profit and other “low budget” organizations
One of my main points of focus (in addition to “regular” customers) has always been to make high-quality translation and interpreting available in areas with limited funds and limited quality awareness and where people traditionally try to make do with non-professionals or semi-professionals since they feel they “lack the funds” to hire a professional, such as NGOs, therapeutical settings and trainings in the field of complementary medicine, conference organizers, support groups, private initiatives to promote good causes etc. Yes, I am prepared to offer much lower rates to you depending on the circumstances. At the same time, I am sure that once you have become aware of the much better options available and understand what a HUGE difference good translation makes (and in some case, how much higher the demand for your seminar or conference or the response generated by your initiative is if you provide excellent translation), chances are that you will also come up with an idea how to fund expert translation – at least this has been my experience again and again. Let us find a way.
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