Sunday, 21 August 2016

My first time interpreting

A couple of days ago I had my first go at conference interpreting, which consisted of approximately 90 minutes of simultaneous interpretation from German to English, shared between me and my booth mate. Considering that we had hardly practised this before being thrown in at the deep end, finding ourselves interpreting for a room full of people, we emerged relatively unscathed, and with an interpretation that made some actual sense.

I recorded my interpretation throughout this time, and although it's very useful to go back and check how you did, it is also quite daunting to listen to. Here are some points I found and that I would like to improve on:

Content
I met my target of getting across the vast majority of the content, but crucially in the few moments where I had misunderstood a particular point, I was able to correct myself before carrying on. It is of course incredibly important to not give false information to your listeners, so I was very pleased with myself on the whole, and of course with more practice I will move towards getting all of the source content into the interpretation.

Voice quality
This too has improved steadily since I first tried shadowing (simply repeating without translating), where I wasn't confident enough to give a convincing response. There are still some gaps and some fillers that I would like to work on, so that people actually want to listen to my interpretation because it is nice to listen to, and not just because I'm speaking English!

Quality of English

It's worth saying that this conference was on genocide and mass exoduses of people, which isn't a topic I talk about every day, and so some of the vocabulary wasn't as fresh in my mind as it could have been. Also I find it a bit tricky when the German word, as is often the case, is very logical and is made up of parts that perfectly define the word itself, because the most obvious translation would be an equally literal one into English, which then sounds unnatural. I feel like this will get better with time, though, so I'm confident my output will one day be at the right standard!

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