The importance of accents and gestures in interpreting

accenti e interpretariato, linguaggio del corpo

Accents and interpreting, interpreters and body language. This is what must be considered in an optimal and successful communication.

What distinguishes a translator from an interpreter is the way in which the original message is translated into the target language. A written text hardly manages to clearly reveal the tonality or emotion of the person who is communicating something. In oral communication of public speaking, verbal and non-verbal language are the cornerstone of the work of a professional interpreter.

Just think of how much in everyday life, posture or intonation can play a fundamental role in the success of an interpersonal relationship. Direct contact with an interlocutor makes use of not only purely linguistic communication.

A consecutive interpreter will have to be able to control his emotions more skilfully than a simultaneous interpreter, due to the fact that he is "visibly" exposed in consecutive interpreting. The simultaneous interpreter working in soundproof booths, away from the spotlights, will instead have to concentrate more on intonation and accents.

Some studies show that non-verbal communication signals are decisive and transparent in the transmission of a message. The interpreter must therefore learn to know his own communication channels (facial expressions, eye contact, body movements) and to manage them in the communication in which he finds himself operating. Unlike verbal language, non-verbal language is less controllable on an unconscious level. On this, mental power and control can - and must - be "only" exercised, so as to manipulate and smooth it according to one's needs. According to the scholar Argyle, the two components, verbal and non-verbal, are actually in some ways closely related, as if some elements of the verbal one find a counterpart in the gestures of the non-verbal one.

The term gesture comes from the Latin to weari.e. accomplish. The human instinct is very much reflected in the animal one due to its tendency to act and abandon oneself to emotions and to the "stimulus". But what distinguishes man from the animal is his ability to control his sensations and feelings, following an event or in a given context. The ability to gain awareness and emotional control.

Other studies show how much the very identity of the professional interpreter in the field comes out in the spoken language, based on his tone of voice and his accent. What is more intimate than your own cadence and regional accent? How often do you guess where someone is from based on their speech and inflections? They are all distinctive traits of every single individual, which are difficult to totally annihilate. What the interpreter is usually asked to do is to practice standard Italian, by means of phonetic and diction exercises under the guidance of a vocal coach.

In the oral translation of a message from a first language to a second language, the accent and cadence are certainly not completely lost. There will always be points and nuances in the speech that will make it clear where the speaker really comes from. A Frenchman who addresses a German using English as the vehicular language will retain the distinctive trait of the r moscia (rhotacism). Just as he may have even more difficulty understanding English spoken with an Irish, Australian or Scottish accent.

Other aspects of the typical aspects of oral production and paralanguage should also be considered, such as breathing, the speed of exposition and pauses, the volume of the voice. The voice, the word are what identify and characterize an individual. For this reason, the correlation between accents and interpreting is a topic and an aspect to be evaluated.

What can you do for your international event? Always, always request an interpreter who is a native speaker, whose accent and cadence possibly match the target audience.

International Congresses Press Office

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