Interpreting-a universal skill for a thousand jobs
7th Jun 2013
Language interpretation is the facilitating of oral or sign-language communication, either simultaneously or consecutively, between users of different languages. The process is described by both the words interpreting and interpretation. An interpreter is a person who converts a thought or expression in a source language into an expression with a comparable meaning in a target language either simultaneously in "real time" or consecutively after one party has finished speaking. The interpreter's function is to convey every semantic element (tone and register) and every intention and feeling of the message that the source-language speaker is directing to target-language recipients.
From 22 August to 12 September, I had the honour of offering my skills as an interpreter, free of charge during the Olympic and Paralympics 2012 games. As an interpreter with a background in legal, social care/ social services and now medical – the wide range skills that one gains from the insight of our service users is invaluable. I was honoured that I was successful in becoming a London 2012 Gamemaker and I was responsible for the Congo Paralympics Team. I spent most of the day with the team and used my skills to convey messages, from the London Olympic Committee to Sales Advisors when the team were taken on sight seeing around London and shopping.
One of the most memorable days was when I took one of the Olympians to their Physiotherapy session. During the session, whilst I continued to interpret for the Olympian – my work was picked up by another Olympian who asked if he could use my interpreting services for his session. It shows that interpreting is very important and how you interpret is vital – especially if you can undertake simultaneous interpreting. It gives a professional image to your role and it continues to enhance your skills as an interpreter. The request for me to interpret also proves there is still a high demand for interpreters as I have often experienced this in my role with Pearl.
Despite being used in a non-technical sense as interchangeable, interpretation and translation are not synonymous. When interpreting, to most it may be consecutive interpretation i.e. the interpreter speaks after the original speaker has finished speaking. However, looking deeper into the role, there are different styles of interpreting. Simultaneous interpreting is widely used when the interpreter conveys the message in another language as quickly as they can formulate it from the source language, while the source-language speaker continuously speaks. You may often see on television, the whispered interpreting style, during which the interpreter sits or stands next to the small target-language audience whilst whispering a simultaneous interpretation of the matter to hand.
As an interpreter for Pearl, I realise that whilst my main task is in the medical profession, it is the skills of interpreting and styles that makes the role suitable for any profession or situation. That’s why I feel interpretation is a universal job and can be adapted anywhere and everywhere (provided the language you speak is suitable!). Looking on the funny side – it always helps if you have some background knowledge of what you are interpreting. I will leave you with a thought – when one of my fellow Gamemakers invited me to go and see “Pistorius” – at first I didn’t know what it was (or who!), I informed the delegate that this was a well known game, not realising he was the blade-runner everyone was talking about and keen to see…So sometimes, it helps if you have some background knowledge, though not essential as I was duly corrected by my fellow Gamemaker!
Krishna Lodhia, Gujarati, Hindi, French, Malagasy Interpreter (full time)
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