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THE INTERPRETER – COMMON PLACES vs REALITY – PART 2

Our interview with Marta, who has been a conference interpreter for ten years and specializes in marketing, tourism and fashion, was very successful and generated great curiosity.

We publish the second part of the interview and continue our journey in the "backstage" of the interpreter's activity; we tell you what is hidden behind the glass of the interpreting booths, where each interpreter, among bottles of water, notes and various tricks, brings with him emotions, fears, and a great responsibility.

We have repeatedly underlined the importance of your role. What qualities do you think a good interpreter should possess?

Excellent preparation, seriousness and precision are essential in our work.

An in-depth knowledge of the subject in question is essential. But what resources can a interpreter of conference?

Generally, and fortunately, most clients send the interpreter detailed documentation of the event in question: agenda, times, presentations, speakers and participants. However, sometimes it happens that you don't have any kind of information until the beginning of the work: in that case you just need to concentrate, rely on your skills and, if necessary, improvise!

Speaking of concentration, the interpreter must be able to listen, memorize, translate and reproduce one or more concepts in another language in a very short space of time. How do you manage to absorb information so quickly and stay focused at the same time?

To aid memory, the notes taken during the speaker's speech are helpful; we often use symbols, signs and abbreviations and our short-term memory is very trained! Furthermore, precisely because maximum levels of concentration are required to best convey the meaning of the speaker's message, an interpreter could not work more than 30-40 minutes per session. This is why, especially for example in simultaneous interpretation, the interpreters work in pairs, alternating continuously.

Collaboration between interpreters in the booth is essential. What relationship do you have with your colleagues?

Simultaneous interpreting is a team effort: I always try to establish a good understanding with my colleague to guarantee an effective and fluid service and to be sure of having a shoulder I can count on in case of unexpected events. You certainly cannot expect to get along with everyone, but a little collaboration is enough to avoid unpleasant inconveniences.

It's really true that stories, emotions, joys and pains are hidden behind the glass of the cabins! 

I have shared with you only a small part of my life as an interpreter. If you have time and desire, I still have so much to tell!


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