Content authored by Philip H. D. SMITH


52 articles found:

Phrase and Fable

Ace reporter Lucky Lou in conversation with one of the English booth’s senior citizens about interpreting age-old sayings from around the world.

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Carrying the can

The job description for interpreters includes being a scapegoat among other things.

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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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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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The future of conference interpreting: round table discussion

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.

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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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Off-mic with Phil Smith: Safety first

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 for interpreters. Have some fruit handy.

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The many pleasures of reading

For those who cannot survive on bodice-rippers alone and would like to widen their reading horizons in English, I thought you might be interested in a project the BBC is currently running.

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The importance of being Ernst

At the European Patent Office most dictionaries are too general for the demands of interpreting, but Ernst’s Dictionary of Engineering and Technology is a real treasure.

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Readers' letters

This selection may be on the imaginative side but entertainment is a proven form of language enhancement.

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Being prepared

This month Phil Smith plants his feet on the ground, his chin on his fist and his eyes on the past to explain to us the arcane relationships between scouting and conference interpreting.

Plane talking

OK - you've heard about the demanding work of a conference interpreter and all the preparations that go into it. But what happens after the conference is over? What does the typical freelancer think a