Consecutive interpretation and some conference interpreters.

April 10, 2012 § 11 Comments

Dear Colleagues,

I have always known throughout my professional career that some of my colleagues in the conference interpreting field do not like consecutive interpretation. I have listened to speeches about all the meaning that is lost when we use consecutive, I have sat through endless conversations about how the true conference interpreter only does simultaneous work, and I have heard many colleagues refer to consecutive interpretation as a lesser mode used by court and medical interpreters.

Unfortunately, I have also listened to some of their consecutive renditions.  I want to be clear about something: I love conference interpreting; I firmly believe that it is the most complex and demanding field of our profession, and I know that most of my conference interpreter colleagues are the best in their countries and fields of specialization. Nobody gets to be a conference interpreter by accident.

However, there are situations in the real world that require of fast-thinking and improvising.  I cannot remember all the times when after being hired as a conference interpreter to work in the booth, I have been asked to interpret a press conference, or I have been asked to interpret while the dignitaries are given a tour of a facility, or a foreign guest requested that I approach so she can tell something to the host before an event.  All these situations require consecutive interpretation, and they are essential to the success of the conference or event.  I have found my start in court interpreting, and my continuous work in the courts, even if these days it has been brief, to be an incredibly useful asset for this type of work.

With the advent of “consecutaneous” interpretation (the new mode used in many courts where the questions to a witness are simultaneously interpreted and only the answers are rendered consecutively) some court interpreters now tend to ignore the consecutive mode as they consider it obsolete and inaccurate.  In my opinion, we should always try to practice and use consecutive interpretation as we never know when we will really need to use it, even in an interpretation field where we rarely need to.  Please let me know what you think.

Trabajo en equipo: ¿Corregir es ofender?

March 16, 2012 § 2 Comments

Queridos Colegas,

Por haberlo pedido varios colegas, aquí vuelvo a incluir este tema que ya hemos abordado anteriormente.

Hace un par de meses hablábamos de aquellas ocasiones en que durante una interpretación no nos llega una palabra conocida y estamos trabajando solos.  Cuando el trabajo es en equipo, especialmente en cabina o durante un juicio, hay quienes pasan una nota al compañero para que este ayude con la palabra, ya sea diciéndola o buscándola en un diccionario; y hay quienes son más afortunados todavía y reciben el apoyo del compañero de equipo aún sin pedirlo.

A mí me parece que el papel del segundo intérprete en cabina, el intérprete de apoyo, es el estar alerta en todo momento y proporcionar estas palabras al intérprete principal lo más pronto posible, sin embargo, algunos colegas piensan que el tema es muy delicado, especialmente si se trata de palabras conocidas, y por temor a ofender a la colega, prefieren disimular que no escucharon el error o la omisión.

También hay quien sostiene que el segundo intérprete necesita descansar cuando no está interpretando, y que ese tiempo es exclusivamente para recuperarse y no para estar apoyando al principal.  ¿Qué piensan ustedes?

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