Tackling speed when interpreting

Every interpreter knows from experience that, all things being equal, a fast speaker is harder to interpret than one who delivers their speech at a normal pace… So, what is a budding conference interpreter to do when tackling the challenge caused by speed?
The obvious response is to apply speed in turn – and, indeed, when confronted by a fast speaker, interpreters must always make their brain work as fast as possible!
But: does this necessarily mean they must also speak at top speed?
Well… as in pretty much everything in interpreting (or in life for that matter), the answer is: it depends. In an ideal situation, of course, our aim is to say everything we hear. If, however, this is impossible, in the split-second decision on how to respond to the challenge one goal is paramount: to never sacrifice the message, the point, the key idea or ideas that the speaker wants to convey to the audience. The speaker’s main message(s) constitutes the very minimum that interpreters must also make sure they transmit clearly to the audience that is relying on their interpretation.
Imagine someone introducing themselves with the following sentence: “My name is A B C, I am a conference interpreter in the Spanish booth at the European Parliament working from X Y Z, and I would like to thank everyone for coming”.
Say it is so fast that it is impossible to catch every detail. What would the most important part be, in the following situations?:

If everybody in the room is a conference interpreter, some staff some freelance
If everybody in the room works at the European Parliament, in different jobs
If everybody is a Spanish interpreter with different working languages
If everybody is an interpreter working from Y into their own language
If the speaker is chairing it, or if they are a participant
If the meeting was called last minute
etc… Continue reading

The future of conference interpretation


Introducing interpreting studies

A millennial practice which emerged as a profession only in the twentieth century, interpreting has recently come into its own as a subject of academic study. This book introduces students, researchers and practitioners to the fast-developing discipline of Interpreting Studies.

Written by a leading researcher in the field, Introducing Interpreting Studies covers interpreting in all its varied forms, from international conference to community-based settings, in both spoken and signed modalities.

The book first guides the reader through the evolution of the field, reviewing influential concepts, models and methodological approaches. It then presents the main areas of research on interpreting, and identifies present and future trends in Interpreting Studies. Continue reading

The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities, POLIS


Polis – The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities

The Polis Institute is an academic initiative of an international group of scholars and researchers specialized in linguistics and pedagogy, Classical and Near Eastern languages, history and ancient and medieval studies, who believe that languages act as doorkeepers for cultures. This observation is valid for modern and ancient languages alike. The Institute was founded to develop a groundbreaking methodology for teaching ancient Western languages and Near Eastern languages, both modern and ancient.
The history of the teaching of ancient languages in Europe almost amounts to a history of education in the Western world, which has focused for centuries on the knowledge of Greek and Latin language and literature, as well as on Rhetoric. The current loss of mastery of these languages makes it difficult for researchers to deeply and thoroughly understand the authors that have shaped Western culture for centuries, since most of the works of Antiquity and the Middle Ages have never been translated into any modern language.
The beginning of the 21st century has seen the birth of a movement of retour aux sources. Experiences of living Latin and ancient Greek have blossomed in North America, Europe and Jerusalem. The Polis Institute has developed its own method for teaching these and other ancient languages by full immersion, effectively bringing them and the sources of Western civilization back to life. Continue reading

Manage your breath to manage your stress

My name is Laura, and I’m professional conference interpreter and a yoga teacher. I have worked for 18 years for the European Commission (SCIC) and now I am concentrating on my yoga path. I know how stressful our profession as interpreters can be, especially when you start your career. That’s exactly why I started practicing yoga, and it has helped me immensely.

In these videos, I introduce you to some very simple tools to manage stress and anxiety, calm your mind and improve concentration.The most powerful tool we have is the breath, and by managing the breath, we can manage our emotions and get a clear and calm mind, exactly what we want in our work.

The breathing exercises I show you in the videos can be practiced anywhere, anytime, very discreetly, even in the booth before the start of the meeting, and they are guaranteed to put you in the perfect state of mind to face a day of interpreting. The techniques are safe and easy to use, even for beginners. A few minutes are enough to begin to feel calm.

Never force the breath, if dizziness or hyperventilation occurs, simply return to your normal breathing. By using this breathing techniques we are training, cleansing and quieting the mind. If you practice even a few minutes every day, you will see results in the way you handle the stress of the day. I hope it helps, and I wish you lots of joy in this amazing path of discovering the power of breath!

Laura Méndez Asbach.


SIM DEMO EN ES Obama Farewell Speech

It’s good to be home. My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes we’ve received over the past few weeks. But tonight it’s my turn to say thanks. Whether we’ve seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with you, the American people – in living rooms and schools; at farms and on factory floors; at diners and on distant outposts – are what have kept me honest, kept me inspired, and kept me going. Every day, I learned from you. You made me a better president, and you made me a better man.

I first came to Chicago when I was in my early 20s, still trying to figure out who I was; still searching for a purpose to my life. It was in neighborhoods not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed steel mills. It was on these streets where I witnessed the power of faith, and the quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss. This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it. Continue reading

Interpreters in conflict zones



Las palabras, en cualquier conflicto, no salen bien paradas. Son moldeadas, manipuladas, adaptadas e intercambiadas para alimentar uno u otro argumento, y los informadores debemos llevar al extremo el rigor y el cuidado para tratar de que expresen la realidad de la mejor manera posible.
Un ejemplo de esto ha sido, este año, la conmemoración del 50 aniversario de la Guerra de los Seis Días (1967), que ganó Israel y que dio lugar al comienzo de la ocupación de Gaza, Cisjordania, Jerusalén Este, parte de los Altos del Golán (Siria) y parte del Sinaí egipcio (devuelto en 1979 tras un tratado de paz). Las autoridades israelíes celebraron por todo lo alto lo que denominaron “El jubileo de la liberación de Judea, Samaria, el Valle del Jordán y los Altos del Golán”, utilizando los nombres bíblicos para el territorio de Cisjordania. También se celebró, en junio, la llamada “Reunificación de Jerusalén”, una denominación que obvia que la comunidad internacional no reconoce ni la ocupación ni la anexión de la parte oriental de la ciudad. Los periodistas no podemos referirnos a sucesos con unos términos determinados sin aclarar que estos son utilizados solo por una de las partes y sin explicar cual es la posición del mundo ante ellos.

Continue reading

Remote Interpreting: The Elephant in the Room

Remote Interpreting:
 Feeling Our Way into the Future

Published by The ATA Chronicle

New communications technologies make interpreting available where it wasn’t in the past. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the way we will work remotely, because what’s going on is game changing and shaking our profession from top to bottom.

In April 2015, I published an article and video on the blog A Word in Your Ear by Lourdes de Rioja called “Technology and Interpreting: Three Questions on Every Interpreter’s Mind.”1 In that video, I addressed some of technology’s broad effects on interpreting. In this article, I’d like to address a specific technology topic that’s also on many interpreters’ minds—remote interpreting.

Remote interpreting is a vast field and one that cannot be done justice in all its depth and breadth in one relatively short article. What’s more, the growth of remote interpreting is taking place within a much broader context of radical technological change that’s affecting society as a whole. Demand for interpreting is expanding and evolving because mobile communications technology has completely changed the way we communicate. Continue reading