I find that there are two types of people in this world: Those who find interpreting to be awe-inspiring, and those who think it’s as simple as opening up Google Translate. Usually the ones who think it is simple haven’t actually tried it. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you that ours is a tough job. Furthermore, we constantly need to explain ourselves to people who think we should be walking dictionaries; people who don’t understand why we may need to look up a term, or why we should have a partner with us for a trial. There are also times when we render extremely difficult interpretations and wish people realized! Sadly, people only ever seem to notice us when we’re messing up.
Have you ever met the interpreter who knew everything? I have. Well, not really. As a matter of fact, it’s not possible to have met such an interpreter, because nobody knows everything. That is the sad reality of being human. But I have most assuredly met the interpreters who thought they knew everything.
Recently, I have been toying with the possibility of changing my Facebook relationship status to, “It’s complicated.” With whom, you may ask? With French. That’s whom!
You see, I am deep into my second semester of a Master’s in Conference Interpreting. The past five months have been…well…hard! And at the top of my Fear List is my love-hate relationship with French. French and I are in a power struggle. French is winning.
It is Tuesday. Usually that would mean I could sleep in a bit, but today it means I’m waking up at 6:45 to check my phone and…yes. Class has been confirmed for 7:30 this morning because during our normal class time, our professor will be in a plane on his way to Africa. Or China. I can’t keep track of his international interpreting schedule, but suffice it to say that he seems to have been in more countries this year than I have ever been to in my life.
Exactly a week ago today, you would have found me in New Orleans with a colleague at an oyster bar on the banks of the Mississippi, discussing the Dunning-Kruger effect. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, it’s pretty simple. Basically, the more you know, the less you think you know. The idea is that as you come to know a subject extremely well, you begin to understand how much more there is to that subject. You understand the nuances. The subtleties.
The smarter you get…the dumber you think you are. Continue reading “Muddying The Waters of Interpreting”