Make love when you interpret not war

Simultaneous interpreting is generally considered to be a very difficult task that involves a number of complex efforts. According to Daniel Gile’s suggestive  tightrope model, simultaneous interpreting is made up of three different concurrent efforts:

  1. a listening and analysis effort
  2. a production effort and
  3. a short-term memory effort.

Although models such as this one are very precious to describe what happens “behind the scenes” in the so-called black box (the interpreter’s mind), it is perhaps best to approach the interpreting process as though it did not involve any special effort at all.

The frame of mind required to produce a good working interpretation is such that it actually has to come by as a simple and spontaneous event. In the end simultaneous interpreting is only as hard as one makes it. L1 and L2 should not be viewed as ferocious opponents, but as precious allies that peacefully and placidly work together.

P.S. A word of advice to those interpreters who are moving their first steps in this very competitive business: be wary of those seemingly “nice” new colleagues who offer to share their 20-page glossary of abstruse lingo just a few minutes into the start of the conference.

Note down only those few words that are truly essential, relax, allow your mind to be as blank as possible, focus only on the message and on the speaker…. and “voila'” the magic is done.

Make love when you interpret not war

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