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Interpreters are far more than individuals who translate word after word in a speech or during a conversation.
Interpreters are trained individuals who verbally render a message from one source language to another target language including: idiomatic expressions, jokes, speakers´ emotions and feelings. Interpreters are actors, researchers, note takers, multi-taskers, Pandora´s boxes and confidants. And, of course, linguistically trained people who are most of the times invisible during conversations and speeches.
To illustrate the above let´s read a bit about what some famous interpreters have to say about being an interpreter:
- Elena Kidd for Mikhail Gorbachev:
"..The major problem was his sentences: they were very long and convoluted. You had to paraphrase. At the time there wasn't much of a culture of public speaking in Russia. You had generals who would talk for 30 minutes. They could be boring. They didn't use enough jokes or rhetoric…… Consecutive interpreters have to analyse every single word. With Russian, the syntax is entirely different from English. You have to listen to the end of the sentence to understand it, and then you start paraphrasing. You bring a lot of your personality to the job. We have to do a lot of research. You never know what you are going to get. One day you do international finance, the next international law. You have to dig deep with every subject..."
- Banafsheh Keynoush, interpreter of 4 Iranian presidents:
"..My job as an interpreter is to be invisible. The audience should feel they are hearing the speaker on their own, rather than through an intermediary. …But you also realise every day how much is lost in translation because of cultural differences and nuances, different modes of speech.."
The following article contains some remarks, comments and stories of three interpreters who have shared their work experiences with an English newspaper. Continue
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