The Linguist

The Linguist 54,4

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 29 of 35

ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES IMPORTANT POINTS FOR STUDENTS TYPE 1 It is very close to what the speaker said and always a safe fallback option when you are tired. It is helpful when dealing with a completely unfamiliar topic. May be difficult to listen to, especially if the interpreter is trying to copy structure and syntax of written discourse. TYPE 2 Comfortably disposes of repetition and some information that may indeed be unnecessary. Credibility is a major drawback: even if the delegate is not bilingual, they will realise that the interpretation does not closely follow the original. To a bilingual delegate who is not an interpreter, following the original is (unfortunately) the best indication of interpreter 'quality'. Reformulating the original so it is not easily recognised creates an impression of inaccuracy, unfaithfulness and, in extreme cases, 'cheating', even if the meaning and speaker's intention is faithfully preserved. 30 The Linguist Vol/54 No/4 2015 OPINION & COMMENT Bridging the 'great schism' in simultaneous interpreting There is a 'great schism' in simultaneous interpretation. It is not much talked about yet students need to be made aware of it as early as possible. Type 1 is characterised as 'close to the original', while Type 2 involves conveying meaning but not a 'literal' interpretation (for a detailed summary see the chart, opposite). Students who have not yet developed their own style tend to swallow their teacher's style and may have difficulty adjusting later on. It is therefore important that teachers point out the advantages and disadvantages of each method to students (see box, below) and avoid promoting a particular style. When attempting to deal with the schism, we first need to ask whether it is necessary to resolve it: the answer is 'probably not'. There will always be advocates and staunch supporters of each type, and every student will have a natural preference. The best response may be not to choose one method at the expense of the other, but to find a balance between the two types. Perhaps, we should see them as being on a continuum: Then each interpreter may be able to achieve a comfortable balance between the two extremes. This makes the entire system much more flexible: you can either step away from the original or stay close to it, as required. Some types of speeches (e.g. court depositions) must be interpreted using only Type 1. However, some choppy, fast or unintelligible speeches may be interpreted using Type 2 alone (garbage in, garbage out). Rather than unchanging modi operandi, as some interpreting instructors proclaim, the two types then appear as different techniques. A painter may prefer subtle watercolors to lush oils, but as a student they must learn to use each in its due time and place; interpreter training may be no different. So what is the due time and place? The answer is, again, individual. It depends on the speaker, the text, the context, etc. In my opinion… We might use tennis balls as a metaphor for Type 1: there are lots of them and sometimes it is not possible to send them all back. By contrast, Type 2 compares to basketballs: each covers a greater distance and it may be harder to trace the original curve. Finding the balance is like mixing those two kinds of balls, assuming that the tennis balls are primary and basketballs secondary because tennis balls better represent the original curve. Following the original Digesting information CYRIL FLEROV

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