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Interpreting for Justice

The problem with court interpreting is that it’s messy. Heck, life is messy, and court interpreting is just a manifestation of our daily struggle with chaos.

Allow me to explain.

For months now I have been mentoring students to study for their tests; notably I’ve been coaching them for the federal exam, which is fast approaching. And tests, of course, are their own embodiment of the devil incarnate. But in a way, they are so simple. Tests are black and white. Points are awarded or not. A phrase is in the dictionary, or it isn’t. In other words, tests are clean. Continue reading “Interpreting for Justice”

That’s Not How You Say it in Gringa-Land!

Here’s the thing about my Spanish: I learned it from a book. When I enrolled in my first Spanish class, I didn’t even know how to ask someone, “How are you?” But I progressed quickly, with brilliant professors hailing from places like Peru, Costa Rica, Spain and Chile.

I regarded my teachers and my native-speaking classmates with envy. Their “r”s rolled without even trying and they understood all the political in-jokes while I struggled valiantly to hide my laughable ignorance of world geography and current events. Most importantly, I, the lowly gringa, would not dream of claiming the intuitive understanding that allowed them to announce, “Yes, that word just sounds right.”

Continue reading “That’s Not How You Say it in Gringa-Land!”

Sailing Through Sight

Ah yes. Sight translation. The interpreter tendency to ignore sight translation is kind of like that affliction suffered by us middle children. You know middle child syndrome, right? It’s like this: our big brother Simultaneous is overtaking the track field and our parents (the interpreters) are too busy trying to catch up to him while making sure that our little sister, Consecutive, isn’t leaking scoring units all over the bleachers. Meanwhile us poor middle children represent that out-of-sight-out-of-mind interpreting mode, Sight Translation.

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Solving Simultaneous         

Do you remember that time, growing up, when you heard someone speaking and you spontaneously replicated what they had just stated in another language? Wait, you can’t remember doing that? Good! Neither can I!

We interpreters tend to polish a few pet peeves. On our scales of righteous indignation, people thinking our job is easy probably ranks right there at the top.

Simultaneous interpretation is not easy. Anyone who has ever tried doing it, knows that. So the purpose of this post is a to serve as a follow-up to Conquering Consecutive (published on 10/26/16). Consider this to be part two on breaking down the modes of interpretation. Continue reading “Solving Simultaneous         “

Conquering Consecutive

If you have ever taken a class on interpreting, you know the drill: We listen not for words, but ideas. We don’t write everything; we take notes on key words. And yet, even though we may have heard this from multiple teachers, it seems that many of us only have a vague understanding of what this means.

Continue reading “Conquering Consecutive”