Well, I made it! One more semester to go. As I write, the train wheels rumble underneath my seat. We are somewhere between Toronto and Montreal. When I made this journey in reverse three months ago, the leaves still adorned the trees. Now the fields are covered with snow and the ponds and streams whizzing by are frozen over with ice. I’m on my way home from my third semester at Glendon, in the Master’s in Conference Interpreting program. I was asked recently to write about the difference in training for court and conference programs, so that’s what I’m going to talk about today.
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.
There are few things more off-putting than to hear an interpreter fill their delivery with um and uh, to second-guess themselves, and to interject side commentary. In real-life situations, this sort of delivery makes the listener tune out. On a test, it costs the candidate time, scoring units, and most importantly, it saps one’s confidence. If we allow ourselves to give in to doubt and second-guessing, it takes over. Furthermore, if you are trying to tackle something difficult that you’ve never done before (a faster speed, for example, or a particularly complex expert witness topic), all those voices of doubt that lead to a non-confident sounding delivery stop you from reaching the very goal you are trying to achieve. The good news is, though, that the opposite is true! The more confidence you project, the more confident you will feel. Continue reading “The Art of Faking It ‘Til You Make It”
Ah yes. Sight translation. The interpreter tendency to ignore sight translation is kind of like that affliction suffered by us middle children. You know middle child syndrome, right? It’s like this: our big brother Simultaneous is overtaking the track field and our parents (the interpreters) are too busy trying to catch up to him while making sure that our little sister, Consecutive, isn’t leaking scoring units all over the bleachers. Meanwhile us poor middle children represent that out-of-sight-out-of-mind interpreting mode, Sight Translation.
These days, when people ask me what it takes to be an interpreter, I tell them one part language skills, one part interpreter technique, and one part people management.