I think this was the first time that I’d mingled with the profession en masse and in its finery. And what a great night we all had.
Tongue twisters, I suspect, are found in all languages. As a linguist I can’t imagine that the phenomenon wouldn’t occur in languages I don’t know. (Dear reader, please correct me if you have proof to the contrary!) The way certain pairings of words get jammed on the tongue in one’s effort to push them out of the mouth is independent of whether the accursed combination of syllables is on the long or short side, fortuitous but completely within the bounds of accepted grammar, or strung together intentionally for the desired effect, such as those sentences we are asked to say quickly three times in succession: “Ripe white wheat reapers reap ripe white wheat right.”
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I sometimes wonder if there is some sharp edge to conference interpreting that carves a timeline into the human brain. Or are chronologically-gifted humans equitably distributed among all professions and trades? Whatever it is, it would seem that many colleagues I have met have the uncanny ability to pinpoint an event as having occurred just after “the XYZ conference” and just before “the PDQ seminar". Perhaps it comes from so much jotting in pocket agendas and PDAs.
Henry IV not only did not bathe for months (if ever) and liked to rub himself with herrings, but he would not leave home without a herring hanging on his back and another on his chest so that vermin would go for the herring and leave him alone.
It might seem that the term “creative” should be confined to the fine arts or musical composition, where the product, be it a sculpture or an opera, is born in a moment of wondrous inspiration experienced by an ingenious creator. We are used to associating creativity with inventions, original solutions and innovative ways of thinking and of perceiving the world.
On Friday 27th June, interpreters, academics and students gathered at the University of Westminster to commemorate Pat Longley. The event marked the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the postgraduate course in conference interpretation – the course still known to many as PCL, the Polytechnic of Central London.