Translators and Interpreters News

Simultaneous Interpreting with Equipment

By Philip Gould

Monday, 20 October 2014

Mr Philip Gould


From 18 to 21 August I interpreted for a delegation of nine people from the Indonesian Ministry of Finance and the National Planning Development Agency in Canberra for a study visit hosted by the Department of Finance focussing on budget processes and asset management.

Having worked with a few similar finance-related delegations in the past, I was able to use the glossary of terms that I’d already developed and add to it terms from the small number of draft presentations supplied in advance. Then came the necessary and arduous task of going over the glossary numerous times in the week leading up the visit, in the hope of my brain instantly being able to come up with the correct words and expressions when they were used in the course of presentations.

As is usual in such assignments, some of the delegates were able to follow everything in English, while others listened to the interpreter nearly all of the time, and yet others listened to the interpreted version only part of the time. Some delegates even appeared to be listening to both languages, which can be difficult when delivered simultaneously.

Translationz’s wireless equipment supplied allowed for simultaneous interpreting, which I feel tends to produce more accurate interpreting than the consecutive mode, with its use of notes and short-term memory. It is of course a strain on the interpreter’s brain and stamina, but with sufficient breaks and the occasional request for a speaker to speak a bit more slowly, it was manageable.

Ideally, I would have been taking turns with another interpreter on this assignment, but with sufficient breaks – sometimes at my request when I found my mental capacity flagging – it was possible to do the job by myself, though every break was appreciated, and by the end of the day I felt mentally drained. But when simultaneous interpreting goes well, you sometimes wonder at the workings of the human mind, such as when you automatically use an expression you’ve heard but never used yourself before, and it’s the right one!

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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

NAATI is currently seeking suitably qualified individuals interested in joining one of the NAATI Examiner Panels. Panel Members assist with the setting and marking translation and interpreting tests.  For more information see documentation below provided by NAATI.  If interested, act quickly as submissions close on 15 April 2014.


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