Language Skills-Building for Interpreters

Interpreters face somewhat of a conundrum upon entering the profession. That is, we are expected to have “native-level” discourse and comprehension skills in all of our languages. Advertisements boast “perfect fluency,” and respectable interpreting courses necessarily steer their content away from language acquisition. Yet, of course, secretly we realize that none of us is perfectly fluent in any language; not even close. So, I think it’s time for us all to admit that we have some work to do in the area of language and that there is nothing shameful about this.

That brings me to today’s topic.

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The Final Frontier

I kind of feel like my fall should be entitled, Conference Interpreting: The Final Frontier. Because (that’s right, drum roll!) on September 10th I begin classes at Glendon College, York University, for the Master’s in Conference Interpreting (MCI) program.

The start of my classes will mark the culmination of over a decade of work. It´s been sixteen years (half my short lifetime) since I started learning Spanish and French. I’ve already blogged about sweating over the subjunctive, all the hours spent on interpreting tests and several years working as a staff interpreter, so I won’t do it over now. Suffice it to say that it’s been a very long time since I told my professors that I wanted to work at the UN one day. This fall we will see if I’m even close to meeting the challenge.

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One (Word) Picture is Worth 1,000 Words

Have you ever heard the term, word picture? If you are a trained interpreter, chances are you have. Often, it is explained as a remedy; a way to describe a term that has no equivalent in the target language. However, word pictures are much more than that; they are the manifestation of what we interpreters do out in the field every single day.

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Lots of Resources for LOTS Interpreters

Last year I left my job as a Superior Court staff interpreter, and moved from New Jersey to the beautiful city of Montreal. I’m here temporarily, working on a book and improving my French. The idea is that with increased language proficiency I will be able to apply my skills as a Spanish interpreter and open myself up to new opportunities. My test date has already been set for October, so this summer I rolled up my sleeves, opened up my computer, and got to work. Except…what in the world is a Spanish interpreter to do when she discovers that not everything is spelled out in her new language? Continue reading “Lots of Resources for LOTS Interpreters”