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.

Continue reading “Language Skills-Building for Interpreters”

That’s Not How You Say it in Gringa-Land!

Here’s the thing about my Spanish: I learned it from a book. When I enrolled in my first Spanish class, I didn’t even know how to ask someone, “How are you?” But I progressed quickly, with brilliant professors hailing from places like Peru, Costa Rica, Spain and Chile.

I regarded my teachers and my native-speaking classmates with envy. They rolled their “r”s without even trying and they understood all the political in-jokes while I struggled valiantly to hide my laughable ignorance of world geography and current events. Most importantly, I, the lowly gringa, would not dream of claiming the intuitive understanding that allowed them to announce, “Yes, that word just sounds right.”

Continue reading “That’s Not How You Say it in Gringa-Land!”