An interpreter's worst nightmare? …

Since each reference is NOT purely coincidental, we invite you to verify that what we are talking about is not (only) the worst nightmare of any performer, but pure reality. 

What strategies should an interpreter be able to implement who is certainly not facilitated in carrying out his task when he finds himself in front of "special" and unpredictable speakers, who talk continuously, pass with ease from one topic to another of a completely different nature, create a discourse devoid of any structure, they resort to sentences that are opened and never closed, they use irony and jokes (out of place!), they resort to incomprehensible and untranslatable words, and possibly they also resort to a very expressive language (to put it mildly! ), gesturing and fidgeting awkwardly? 

In cases like these, even the most professional and prepared interpreter would lose patience! Forced to reproduce the speaker's gestures, "verses" and facial expressions, to follow the thread of a speech with a beginning and various developments, our interpreter will have to grapple with a new situation and deploy great self-control skills.

Among the main characteristics of a good interpreter there is undoubtedly the speed: of listening, understanding and transmission of the message; but speed for an interpreter also means ability to synthesise: a good interpreter must be able to quickly re-elaborate the meaning of a message, to find the corresponding concept in the target language and to reproduce it according to precise linguistic, cultural and social parameters. If a concept, a play on words or an idiomatic expression were not to find a correspondent in the target language, the interpreter would find himself in great difficulty. 

And what about concentration? It is essential for a good interpreter to keep in mind what is being said and to follow the thread of the conversation. But when the speech does not have a thread? Will our hero interpreter manage to juggle puns, more or less clear allusions and untranslatable references?

And if so, how will it move in terms of content management?

Could follow the technique of consecutive interpretation. The consecutive interpreter, without the aid of equipment (as is the case for simultaneous translation), sits next to the speaker, listens to his message and, once the speech is over, reproduces it in the target language. This technique, however, would force the interpreter to make summaries, with the risk that the message will not be adequately understood.

Another path to follow could be the use of the technique of negotiation interpretation, a very different service from simultaneous interpreting or consecutive interpreting: the characteristic of negotiation interpreting is in fact the dialogue between the participants, who can interact with each other, interrupt each other or ask for clarifications, in a real exchange made up of questions, answers, observations, requests and interventions. Thanks to this technique, the interpreter would be able to convey many more concepts, with the disadvantage, however, of making the speech lose fluency. 

To ensure greater accuracy and completeness of content is however the simultaneous interpretation. The simultaneous translator listens to the speaker's message through headphones and reproduces it simultaneously for the audience. 

If the interpreter has to manage "special" situations or speakers, the latter translation technique would be far preferable. With simultaneous interpreting, the interpreter can keep up with the pressing pace of this type of speaker and more easily manage interminable and disconnected sentences, managing to better convey the contents to the listeners. 

But, returning to our hero interpreter, he could also be forced to deploy "chameleon-like" skills and to have to change, given the circumstances, his interpreting technique, discovering himself as a consecutive, liaison and simultaneous interpreter at the same time!

Since each reference is NOT purely coincidental, we invite you to verify that what we are talking about is not (only) the worst nightmare of any performer, but pure reality. 


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