the AIIC Blog
Tracking time spent on various professional activities can help interpreters in more ways than one. Here are some of the things we learnt about how we use our time.
Preparation is the invisible work that contributes to the success of meetings large and small – and one of the main reasons why interpreters are so often heard but not really noticed.
Accounts of early European expeditions of exploration and conquest gave scant attention to the role of interpreters, but there were notable exceptions.
The chance to study with fellow teachers of interpreting from some 8 countries was worth the long trip. Going back home with new ideas for the classroom was the reward.
Over a meal the space time continuum takes on new meaning for an interpreter on the move.
Attendance at the Hague Legal Symposium on International Criminal Law inspires a re-examination of interpreter working conditions in national courts.
Don't throw professional values out the window when you're having a good time online.
AIIC, the home of conference interpreters worldwide, welcomed sign language interpreters into the fold at last year’s Assembly in Buenos Aires. The AIIC blog caught up with the Coordinator of the Sign Language Network to find out more about this landmark decision.
How Enrique, a Malay-speaker acquired by Magellan during the siege of Malacca, became an interpreter and go-between as the expedition searched for the Spice Islands.
This Rome seminar sponsored by AIIC Training took a practical approach to help teachers break down skill acquisition - and make the experience enjoyable! Here's a quick overview through participants' tweets.
Air travel, interpreters and the modern world. Be prepared for any eventuality - pack light, have a good book to hand, drink plenty of water and try to grab a power nap whenever you can.
Market trends and challenges, the interpreting business in times of economic crisis, and remote interpreting were on the table in the heart of Europe.
This community-driven website is the place to go for any and all questions about spoken language translation.
Le quotidien des interprètes de conférences comporte une multitude de lieux de travail, c'est-à-dire une multitude de badges.
Ongoing enhancement of linguistic and rhetorical skills plus broad cultural knowledge are part of the job description of the professional communicators we call interpreters.
Many think that it's what is in the box that counts and that presentation is secondary. But this is not necessarily the case, whether we’re talking about gifts or public speaking.
Group dynamics in the booth: that wasn't your ego that got bruised!
You’re hosting a meeting and need the best language services available. That’s exactly what a consultant interpreter can help you find.
Pour un plurilinguisme enraciné dans la maitrise de la langue maternelle.
More and more conference interpreters are toting iPads these days. But do we know how to make the most of tablet technology in the booth?
Interpreters in history: changing roles and identities.
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We all want it. But what is it?
Mastery of the medium leads to peak performance - and sometimes more.
The granting of a legal monopoly on the provision of interpreting services across UK’s justice sector bodies is looking more and more like a needless mistake.
Comme nous le montrent les impressions d’un de nos collègues, rédigées dans les années 1970, rien n’a changé dans le monde de l’interprétation vu des cabines.
Being there... and on time.
Comparative study of interpreter-mediated interrogation introduced at Paris conference.
The working interpreter’s life often involves frequent travel. So guess what we dream of doing when the holiday season arrives?
Is Italian-language interpreting on its way out? Looked like it for a while. We didn't think it was a good idea—and the Italian government agrees.
Interpreting is a creative act. Is improvisation part of the process?
We interpreters tend to keep a lot of papers and jottings, just in case, but sometimes it feels good to sort and throw things out.
Light on or light off? Not what – or where – you’re thinking – this is a family publication that our mothers might read.
Interpreters are accustomed to being flexible and adapting their language use to the situation. Tourism and service industry workers are, too. The perfect match, right? Not always.
Interpreting for business and the business of interpreting were on the agenda at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin
Colleagues will be covering a wide range of issues, such as how to train your hearing, new trends in media interpreting, provisions for old-age, and how to communicate in a world of soundbites
Are you looking for bilingual German-English interpreters? Do you need to compose a team for a conference with French, English, German, Spanish and passive Italian? AIIC's interpreter directory is your friend.
Interpreters talk, translators write - right? But variety is in our blood.
Your job description includes being a scapegoat
Facebook and Twitter teams make cyberimpact in first year
There are usually plenty of options out there for interpreters looking to do some professional development during the summer break, and Summer 2012 is no exception.
Maybe you’ve already stumbled across it. Maybe you’re one of the few people who have already been tipped off about it by a colleague or acquaintance. Or maybe today will be the day that you discover what is sure to become one of the most valuable resources for interpreters on the Internet.
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.
Conference interpreters are often perceived as individualists but quite the opposite is true. The way multilingual events are organised today means that we need to interact with many different parties. But do we all really know each other? An AIIC gathering with PCO representatives in January 2010 in Rome provided some surprising answers to the question.
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.
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?
Why do interpreters join AIIC? What misgivings may they have about it? What do they expect from their professional association? An assembly is a good place to single out new members and ask them these and related questions.
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.
As I read Vargas Llosa's latest book, The Bad Girl (La niña mala), I wondered if Robert Burns was right when he wrote: "O wad some Power the giftie gie us, To see oursel's as others see us!" [i]
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.
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.
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.
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.
The University of Westminster thought it would be a good idea to invite a number of chief interpreters to an open and interactive discussion on visions of tomorrow during the Future of Conference Interpreting conference. It was my pleasure to chair the session.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I like email. Not only is it quick and neat, but it also gives you a written record of what’s been said. And, you don’t need to find a pen to use it.
... 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.
In Sydney Pollack’s latest film Nicole Kidman plays an interpreter who overhears details of a conspiracy to assassinate an African leader during the UN General Assembly yet finds herself both suspect and victim in this fast-paced thriller, filmed mostly within the UN building.
Ensure you aren’t sitting in a draught, in danger of falling or exposed to high levels of external stress before reading these handy hints. Have some fruit handy.
Cities are like bicycles. When you stop pedalling, you fall off… Barcelona has put this adage into practice over the course of five months of cultural events under the name of Forum 2004, including 50 conferences with interpretation.
Community interpreting, which includes court and medical interpreting, is following the typical pattern of a profession in its infancy.
We all know them, most of us have them and some of us try to explain them. I thought we could all benefit from thinking deeply about them and thus decided to have a go at setting them down on “paper” for late night perusal by young and my cohort alike.
It all began one November morning of 2001 in my office at the Foreign Office Language Service in Berlin. Hurry, hurry! Protocol needs an estimate within two hours for a team to interpret German, English, French, Dari and Pashto – the conference begins in two weeks. “Oh, is that all,” I muttered quietly to myself.
Brussels would soon turn into a bewildering Tower of Babel without them: almost 2,000 interpreters ensure that communication at the heart of multilingual Europe generally proceeds without a hitch. Marko Naoki Lins interviewed Burckhard Doempke, a freelance conference interpreter in Brussels for over 30 years, to find out how he operates and what constitutes a typical day in the life of a Brussels interpreter.
Many interpreters are willing to volunteer their services to groups doing work they believe in. Some AIIC members have a long-standing relationship with Amnesty International. At a recent International Council Meeting (ICM) of AI, the people from the booths were invited to come out into the room and share some thoughts. Here is what we said.
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.”
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.
A filmmaker's view on interpreters Model communicators or melancholy loners? Spiritual beings driven by a thirst for knowledge or seismographs charting historical processes? A little of each and much more besides, believes David Bernet, who is currently working on a documentary about four generations of conference interpreters. Vincent Buck spoke to David Bernet who was in Brussels scouting out locations.
A personal report by Casha Davis on the first workshop on media interpreting held by the AIIC Training Committee and ARTE
We Did Nothing By Linda Polman Penguin Viking, 2003 ISBN: 0-670-91424-X
An unexpected pleasure in this job is taking colleagues who’ve asked for advice on reading to a bookshop. This usually happens with colleagues who don’t live in anglophone countries and who need some tips. I’ve brought one or two to near bankruptcy.
Jokes, swear words and brusque remarks have to be grasped quickly, even if they present an extreme degree of linguistic difficulty and/or refer to personal or cultural feelings. The interpreter needs a “filter” to pass on humor and fun to the listeners without becoming personally caught up in the laughter. In the case of swear words or brusque remarks, the listener is entitled to perceive the tone of rudeness or anger of the original in order to judge the message for himself.
You know what it’s like when you have this uncomfortable feeling that you should be doing something. There’s a knot in your handkerchief, but you can’t quite remember why. Well, that was exactly the feeling I had as I left my local pub "The Ferret and Focus Group" this January.
I work regularly for the European Patent Office, where interpreters are required for patent hearings in the three official languages: English, German and French. You can readily imagine that the subject matter is very technical at times, but most of the regulars swear by their little helper, the Ernst technical dictionary.
At Christmas the UK satirical magazine Private Eye carries advertisements for thoughtful seasonal gifts. Taking my cue from them, I thought I could make some useful suggestions. If your partner is an interpreter – that dashing and intrepid breed – here are some ideas to make up for disappointment if he did not like the string vest, or she was less than bowled over by the new steam iron.
Martin WOODING offers a broad perspective on the rise and fall of lingua francas.
Barbarians! That's what the Roman Empire, in its latter days, called the Germanic tribes migrating south. The Romans had borrowed the word from the Greek barbaros, meaning 'unable to speak intelligibly', just well enough to stammer 'bar-bar-bar'.
Les conditions de travail, physiques et techniques de l'interprète de conférence sont établies par l'AIIC (Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conférence). Ce travail, réalisé par la Commission technique, consiste, pour une bonne part, à traduire ces conditions dans les normes. L'AIIC explique dans cet article les raisons qui l'ont amenée à aller dans le sens de la normalisation de l'environnement de travail de l'interprète de conférence.
Danielle Gree considers some of the fundamental issues, and picks up on points made by Maitre Pierre Lambert, a lawyer at the Brussels bar, when he spoke at a conference titled "The Sworn Translator" organised in 1989 by the Belgian Society of Translators, Interpreters and Philologists.
Communication across language borders is at the heart of international relations everywhere. It certainly is in the European Union, where millions of words are translated and interpreted every day from and into the 11 languages of the 15 EU member states.
A few years ago, about the time I won the AIIC Most Promising Newcomer Award, one of my children took a break from her differential calculus homework to fix me with a beady stare. "What do you do?" she asked.