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the AIIC Blog

The Real Value of Interpreting

What do people find so hard about communicating with interpreters? Why is it difficult? What’s going on? In search of an answer, I began to compare community and conference interpreting. In each setting there is a different discourse about interpreting among the people who are being interpreted and those doing the interpreting.

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Fair winds: AIIC Assembly highlight

AIIC members travelled to the banks of the River Plate in great numbers and their Argentine hosts had them dancing in the conference room and the streets. Speeches were heard, cheeks were pecked, issues debated, steaks eaten, and legs well and truly shaken.

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Off mic with Phil Smith: ordem e progresso

Have you tried decluttering? It's very therapeutic. Most of you go for well-ordered neatness in the booth. The water glass and pens are in perfect alignment and all documents labelled and tidy. I’m sure you’re all smiling in happy recognition of our work environment.

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My accidental Greek wedding

I have an irrational passion for phrasebooks. Whenever I go to a country where I don't know the language I take along a phrasebook. I often take one with me even when I go to a country where I do speak the language. Sometimes in a foreign country I suddenly stop in the middle of the road. People walk into me, but I don't notice because my mind is wholly taken up by the question: Why? What are phrasebooks for?

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A really Nice assembly

Every three years AIIC holds its Assembly, which this January took place in Nice. As a governing body the Assembly has to approve the actions of its officers since the last Assembly and decide on strategy for the coming three years. It hears from various committees, elects officers and approves the budget. But really the event is an excuse to catch up with your friends.

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Say it in terpreting

Perhaps something like this has happened to you. Say it's Tuesday and you are comfortably ensconced in your booth. You have absorbed all the vocabulary you need and the meeting is so routine that most of your mental effort is directed towards using words which are anagrams of the Chairman's name.

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Secrecy

Our predecessors, the founding fathers of the profession - and of AIIC - have left us a priceless legacy: the trust of those for whom we work, who know they can count on us to be discreet in all circumstances, and maintain secrecy forever.

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The Henri Methorst award

In 2001, the members of the Congrestolken Cooperative and the AIIC Region of the Netherlands, upon the suggestion of then AIIC Council member Javier Ferreira, instituted an award for good causes named after the founder of Congrestolken Henri Methorst.

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Technical standards in interpreting: at work in Turkey

Recently the Turkish Region of AIIC, in collaboration with the BKTD, our national association of conference interpreters, decided to focus attention on professional development and communication with other stakeholders. The reasons are clear: good training and professionalism alone do not ensure high quality service; pre-conference coordination and proper equipment are essential to our work. Thus communication with equipment suppliers and professional conference organisers (PCOs) is important. A collective effort offers a better chance of success.

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Q&A: elusive idioms

We are all acutely aware that language can trip us up. Some websites offer well thought out advice on particularly difficult words or expressions, but interpreters need to deal with language straight away. So if we are having difficulties at work we nip round to the appropriate booth and ask what the UK/Argentinian/Belgian delegation just said. With luck our colleagues will be able to tell us. We call it team work.

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Book review: visiting threatened languages

Our acquaintance with languages teaches us that a person is only truly him or herself when speaking their own language, and that the world appears to us at its most real when perceived through our own language. Swearing only has the power to shock in your own language - the language in which you learned the taboos that swearing breaks.

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Speaking in tongues

Brussels wants to reach out to the citizens of Europe. That’s why we're talking a lot about communication these days. There is even a white paper on communication. It all boils down to language, after all.

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Surgelation à Rome

Le sixième cours de rafraîchissement (surgélation?) d’italien s’est tenu à Rome du 23 au 27 janvier. La vague de froid qui touchait l’Europe à cette époque de l’année nous transformait en glaçon dès que nous mettions le nez dehors. Mais, heureusement, la Casa Internazionale delle Donne est parfaitement chauffée et nous avons pu suivre tous les exposés dans des conditions de confort parfaites.

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Something awful happened to me on the way to the PRIMS meeting...

... or What to Read for Entertainment When Your Leg’s in Traction The author attempted to attend the January 2004 Private Market Sector meeting and managed to comply quite literally with cheerful admonitions to “break a leg” by stumbling down a perfect flight of stairs. She was then carted off to a distant hospital in what felt like a dogcart. This piece – a meandering, sort-of book review - was originally drafted while the author was still high on painkillers; any inaccuracies should be attributed to this fact.

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