Interpreting: a well-orchestrated art
There is a popular belief that simultaneous interpreting can be easily performed by just anyone who speaks a foreign language. Indeed, this is not so. Interpreting can be considered an orchestrated art as a result of the many complex cognitive processes that occur within the mind of the interpreter during the session that allow him/her to deliver accurate information on the subject matter being discussed. Additionally, the interpreter must have a vast well of knowledge that allows him/her to be properly informed on any theme that is presented.
It is largely a matter of neuroscience. Firstly, memory plays an integral role in the delivery. The interpreter must first listen to what is being said, understand the message being conveyed, remember it, then convey it to the relevant audience.
Secondly, the interpreter must then provide a contextual oral translation of the message into the target language and articulate that message speedily, moving onto the following remarks made by the speaker without falling behind. Thus, repeating the process all over again.
Such functions can be underestimated and overlooked without fully comprehending the science, time and effort to make such lightning speed and precise deliveries. The BBC Future website referenced scholarly literature pertaining to scientific experiments that highlight two main areas of the brain that help fulfil such cognitive tasks. The caudate nucleus, responsible for controlling decision making which collaborates with the brain’s other networks that produce lightning-fast coordination, as well as the Broca’s area which is responsible for language production, memory and comprehension.
Apart from all these functions, interpreters can experience several stress levels from factors that can hinder their delivery such as external noise, very fast speakers and most importantly, fatigue. For this reason, it is highly recommended that an interpreter work for thirty (30) minutes before switching with another interpreter. This allows each interpreter to have a well needed rest before resuming duties. It is also recommended that they work in pairs, with each partner focusing on one direction in that language pair, e.g., French into English or English into French.
Why is this important?
It replenishes their psychological momentum and capacity. Significant stress applied can wear out the interpreter and cause production quality to deteriorate with passing minutes.
We at RMC provide trained and experienced interpreters to you, our customers, for conferences, negotiations, meetings and court hearings in order to ensure that your event and overall experience with our service delivery are of the best quality.
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