Lýdia, a conference interpreter, explains the work of conference interpreters in many details, with numerous practical examples and a couple of funny anecdotes:
1:38 Two practical demonstrations of consecutive interpreting
5:55 What makes a good interpreter?
7:00 Simultaneous interpreting (in a booth with headphones) in practice
12:07 Consecutive interpreting (on the stage) in practice
13:43 An example of interpreter’s notes and what they mean (with an overview of some note-taking symbols)
17:55 Do’s and dont’s in interpreting (In which person to speak? Should you correct mistakes?)
23:26 Crisis situations in interpreting (when you don’t know a word, when a speaker does not talk into a microphone, when you don’t hear properly, when someone in the audience corrects you, when a speaker tells a joke you can’t interpret)
31:47 The pains of working as an interpreter
33:54 The pleasures of working as an interpreter
37:01 How to become an interpreter (including book tips)
Lýdia is a freelance interpreter and a PhD student of Translation and Interpreting studies in Bratislava, Slovakia. She also helps people learn languages and improve their language level as a language mentor.
Find out more about Lydia Machova at http://www.languagementoring.com.
This lecture was recorded at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin 2015 (http://www.polyglotberlin.com). The official sponsor of this conference was http://www.italki.com.
Most western languages are more or less related in origin. So it is not impressing to master several of them because they are sort of dialects to each other. I admire those polyglots who master really well languages which are far apart in kinship, like German, Chinese, Arabic...
3:07 He sounded unsure.
5:25 I didn't see any indication from you that he was doing poorly. Also, I did understand everything.
5:52 I think you meant, "Not one word of what he said was true."
14:10 Unfortunately, the laser pointer cannot be seen in the video.
21:30 I think you should say what the speaker said.
38:04 Ooh, I meet that requirement.
Thank you, dear Lydia Machova and those who made this channel!
I love and admire this young beautiful and intelligent lady.
Can I please ask a question? I have a profession of interpreter, but in my country we have much more interpreters than it is needed, there's practically no work for them, which is frustrating for me. What about other countries? Is situation with employing interpreters better in Europe of other developped countries of the world? Kindly tell me if you know something about that. )
Thank you to Lydia again, your experience of tough situations during interpreting encourages me a lot ❤
I would like to translate. Preferably from my first to my second language though. My written English is better than my written German, because I read more English books than German ones. When I put a lot of effort into my writing, it can sound quite elegant.
I do not think I could make much money with it, but it would be a great hobby.
When I was 17 I went to Taizé for a week and I was the only one brave enough to interpret from English to German for a few teens, who didn't know English. One of the brothers was giving a bible lesson for idk 40 people. It was a really rewarding experience. I think I did well.
it seems that the speaker did the same thing at 44:21 as that Polish guy when he was talking about the free tickets? :D could it be because you can actually infer the conditional from the context both in Slovak and Polish?
Прекрасна препратка към филма '' Живота е прекрасен '' ( La Vita è Bella) на Роберто Бенини . Та в този ред на мисли има и един друг филм , Български : „Светът е голям и спасение дебне отвсякъде („The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner“ ), което е напълно вярно . Само малко съм озадаъчен ,защо като съм българин разбирам: македонски :) , сръбски , словенски , словшки , руски и полски ? Явно съм полиглот ! :) .
In her other video, she says polyglots are just average people. She's _not_ just an average person. For her, being one step (or two) ahead of the speaker is another day in the office. She didn't say this, but essentially interpreters are tapping into an improv skillset. Actual improv experience (theatre games) might not be a bad supplement in the early going.
Alan Alda wrote a very interesting book on improv: _If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?_ (2017)
People watching this video would probably also like this book. It's a deep meditation on public communication. His seminar worked miracles on young engineers.
Reminds me, a while back I also greatly enjoyed _Borges on Writing_ (1971) due to a niche foreign language fetish I can perhaps safely divulge here. Two things I remember especially from that book: alliteration in Spanish can hardly be done, or it will be spotted as a trick (whereas major writers employ this in English); rhyme is easier in the Latin languages where the accent falls on the last syllable.
I don't know why I like this stuff so much. This talk was very good, too. I was surprised.
Sure she has a very high level of fluency even though she does make some grammar mistakes in English. I am too planning to specialise in translation and, as one person among the public said, translating into a foreign language is not recommended unless one has absorbed all the language culture and nuances, etc. That doesn't take only two years and I know it.
Totally agree with you. Interpreter job is not an easy job, A person who is interpreter, he is reponsible to expalin your busines to clients, so he should be very active and smart.
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I don't know why it just got me so concentrated 😂 I started watching the video by chance but finished watching every single second of it 👏 probably because of my passion for languages, pretty good video 👌
I quit this job for 2 reasons. I am a person who loves expressing myself and my own opinion. In translation you cannot express your personal thoughts, switch into the personality of the speaker, which as you said can be a stupid person.. :) after some years I almost hated my job for this reason. Other reason is I was almost losing my voice. You mentioned in the beginning of your speech that it is phisically hard for only one interpreter to interpret all day long. I happened to me and aftet talking, talking all day long for almost 1 year, Ihad a sore througt. Even now if I talk a bit more than normal I need to clear my throat an even feel a tense in my throat if am emotional conversation going on...
Thank you very much! The first paragraph you talked lasted 39 seconds before you handed the microphone to the interpreter. May I know if it is normal for an interpreter to listen that long before he/she starts to speak. I just try to learn to remember so that I can interpret without missing any idea.
Yes, Khue, that part could easily be said in one piece and only then does the interpreter get the floor. It can sometimes be longer, officially up to 5 minutes. If the speaker is telling an anecdote, like I was, it is even easier for the interpreter like this. If they're saying lots of numbers and facts, poor interpreter :D
I am an amateur interpreter but feel something rather opposite from one of the points she addressed. It might has to do with the cultural difference as I work in China. In contrast to her words that she feels respected and admired as an interpreter, I feel very discriminated against. Every speech I interpret, there are at least three or four times people who feel the need to interrupt and say how you're not interpreting right whereas most of the times I'm just giving an alternative interpretation.
I'm sorry to hear that. I have had some experience with such people, but not often. Mostly, people here in Europe admire interpreters for being able to interpret simultaneously. It must be much more difficult for you in such conditions..
Aboslutely loved this video! My mother tongue is English and currently learning Canadian French and soon sign language. I want to pursue a career as an interpreter between English/French/Sign Language and this video gave a lot of insight and tips for what to expect.
@Оксана Шиндяпина you call slovak language german which is incredible similiar to polish so polish is german too? I don't know how slovianic can be similiar to germanic... Russian is in your opinion chinesee with a few changes, ukrainian doesn't exist at all and you have insult the entire polish nation. I can say that russians are alcoholic and dumb nation especially people who like the biggest criminal in the history which Stalin was... Look at russian average length of life and then comment.
I know I will get heat for this because most people reading this are into language learning. I think Polyglots are like old men in a pissing match. Why the fuck does someone living in Canada need to learn Armenian? Most polys admit they have no desire to live in the target country and know no one who speaks their target language.
I think most people only enjoy the result, not the process of language learning. I hate it. And these languages must be maintained.
Why waste such precious minutes on Earth doing this? I think many polyglots aren't really good at other things, and this is their 'claim to fame' so to speak, and makes them feel important or interesting.
I wouldn't consider learning a language until I knew the "Big 6" United Nations languages first.
I lived in Thailand for 2.5 years and didn't learn Thai. Glad I didnt as its not an international language, and almost useless outside of Thailand. I never plan to go back. Im learning Russian now, living in Ukraine. But I can use Russian in 25 countries!!!! Not ONE.
I also learned Spanish, again, 25+ countries!
"Why waste such precious minutes on Earth doing this?"
Right there, you subjected your opinion. I'm not a polygot, however I'm obsessed with language. Currently I only speak English, which is my mother tongue, and Canadian/ European French.
Am I wasting my time? I don't think so. We all have our own idea of what is a good use of time, for me, I indulge in learning language, though the process is another thing.
Learning a language is a skill can improve/worsen. Like many things, such as sports, it takes practice. I went into French knowing very little outside of the English words that came from French. I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere with it. Years later, I can look back and say I learned a lot. I don't have many Francophone friends, I don't plan on moving to France, let alone visiting France. However what I did learn was alot about my own mother tongue.
That being said, there's many reasons why people choose to learn language. Whether it's for a 'just in case I meet someone who speaks ____ language' to just a hobby to increase your knowledge on languages, where your words come from, why you say what you do including idioms.
Take "It's raining cats and dogs outside!" ever wonder where that comes from? Or even the "&" sign? (Ampersand)
Back to the statement "I think most people only enjoy the result, not the process" while that is your opinion, it is not so for me. I actually did enjoy the process, I dove into learning words that even some french speakers don't know or are not accustomed with, for example, the 'passe simple' (litterally, simple past; in reference to the passed tense)
Has it ever occured to you that they might just enjoy it? I am not a polyglot myself but I´m learning four languages right now (English, German, Spanish and Norwegian), simply because I want to. I don´t think I´m wasting my time at all and I´m not. I respect your opinion but it´s wrong on so many levels.
It was easy for me to understand your talk. Your explanations,advices and ideas are very clear and useful,even though I'm not an interpreter, and your english is excellent. You speak like a native speaker! Thanks a lot!
I'm studying for my GCSE's and I'm studying interpretation and translation. I would love to do this as a career! I am also looking at becoming a flight attendant and doing free lance interpretation. That would be amazing!
I have a question for all the interpreters out there: In consecutive interpreting is it okay to clarify some things before starting? For example: "I would like to ask you to try and use short sentences where possible and to try not to speak very fast so I don't have to interrupt you".
I was only browsing randomly and then I ran into this video. The speaker is totally amazing and a little research on the web leads me to her personal website, where I learned that she speaks 9 different languages and is broadening her already jaw-dropping arsenal of acquired foreign languages even further by one more for approximately every two years, and most amazing of all, she never lived away from her home country longer than 4 months. She had basically taught herself all the languages herself. A true talent indeed.
Thank you so much for this video,i thought i know a lot about interpreting and not much to looking into this video,and im so grateful i watched it and i learned a great deal, i like it so much and indeed i watched it a few times and it's so much more helpful from personal experiences and thoughts.and it moves at the end at the part when speaking of sometimes interpreting seemingly not-important thoughts of other people,that really make people doubt what is the point even to interpreting it
i always dream to be an interpreter,and after a lot years of dreaming on that im finally on the track of taking the course and test now, but i still have a doubt and question, bec it's a stressful work on high demand of focus level, and sometimes i hear news of that some interpreters die in the middle of a conference because of high pressure, would that be a work and career that on demand for the younger people ? and that you are harder to do this job as you get older? -- i dont really believe that, because it's very exciting and fantastic job, is that really dangerous sometimes of this intense job?
Mind-numbingly boring? :) Are you referring to language learning? I beg to disagree. It can be fun if you do it the right way! Not only for language nerds! :) Check out www.languagementoring.com for more ;)
Thanks, I have one question, can interpreter listen to the speaker and his self 'while interpreting' at same time? I thought that interpreter increase the level of sound of his headphone so hi/she can not hear his/her sound, right?
Nope, it's crucial that you hear yourself. Otherwise you'd be talking nonsense soon. You need to learn to listen to two things at the same time - both the speaker and your own version of their talk, a few seconds later. That's what makes it a bit more difficult :)
As a native English speaker, your sentence was poorly said. However, context is key in many situations! Even though your sentence wasn't great, I was still able to fully understand what you said, that's what's important. Don't get discouraged!
great presentation! im just about to start interpreting on a smaller scale(nhs mostly)... russian - english pair, but haven't got any formal qualification yet(planning to do the dpsi this year though). im a little worried that my vocab isnt quite up to par, and i may have to substitute quite a few words to get the message across. any advice? :)
Wow hands down one of the best presentations I've heard in a long time, by a presenter who's obviously extremely professional and talented and has a lot of experience in simultaneous interpretation. Thanks you're sharing those insights with us Lydia!
Thank you for the great presentation. This is a such a difficult job and I guess sometimes it can be very embarassing to interpret someone else's words like it was said at he end of the video. I remember a couple of months ago when the Brittish prime minister was on a visit to my country (Bulgaria) and our prime minister was showing him pictures and was boasting of how he has seen so many ''important people' and he said '3 папи са ме галили по главата' laughing which literally means '3 popes have fondled my head''. So, the interpreter didn't know what to do and she said ''3 popes tapped me on my head'' And I guess the Brittish prime minister could've been thinking ''Is this some kind of a joke? Did these people really elected this guy to present them?' And of course in these situations the interpreter can't do anything.
Hey, @Language Learner! My experience is that you don't need a certificate when adding on new languages, but it always depends on who you translate for. If it's an institutions that requires it, you will need it. If it's a direct client, they mostly don't care, if you do a good job. And yes, Portuguese is definitely an interesting language, just make sure you check what are the best language combinations. It depends on economic and other ties of your Portuguese speaking countries to other countries. Good luck! :)
+Lýdia M. Hi, Lýdia. I will study translation this year and I have a few questions for you if you don't mind:
- At the University I plan on attending, they teach English, German/Russian and French/Spanish (You choose one of the two). I plan on choosing English, German and French. But I also feel confortable in other languages like Spanish and I plan on studying Mandarin Chinese on my own. Now, my question is: Do you need a certain certificate in other languages to be able to translate them or if you feel that you are able to do it, you're free to translate them?
- Also, my native language is Portuguese (European). Do you feel that's a language that is considered useful in translation/interpretation community?
Sorry for the long text. Loved your presentation, watched it 3 times ;)
+Andra Mateiescu Hi Andra, I'm very glad the video was useful to you! The degree depends on your country and what type of interpreter you would like to be. If you want to be a community interpreter and interpret in hospitals, for example, you most probably wouldn't need one. If you want to work in more formal conditions, it could be very difficult without one. If you think interpreting is something you would like to do, I suggest you choose a program in translation/interpreting rather than a general philology. Good luck with your studies! :)
+Lýdia M. probably this is a little late to comment the video but I would like to thank you so much. This is my last year of high-school and I wanted to be an interpreter for a long time now. You helped me get an authentic idea of how it really is. If it's not too late and if it doesn't bother you to answer, I would like to ask you if to become a translator you need a specific degree in transition/interpreting or a language degree is good to. Thank you again for the video!
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