Tuesday, 23 October 2012
My job as a translator is very difficult to get. Out of a hundred who apply, only a handful pass the battery of language tests. When I took my first test back in 1998, there were 13 others in the room. Only three of us were invited to the second test a few weeks later, and I was alone for the third round.
Everyone in my office has a similar story. I'm surrounded by brilliant people. Even the ones that get on my nerves.
Today I gave a workshop on consecutive interpretation to a dozen colleagues. Most fully bilingual people can do consecutive interpretation reasonably well, if the speaker pauses every sentence or so, but occasionally a speaker will go on and on before you get a chance to interpret. So today we dealt with speeches lasting from one to three minutes.
For the first hour, I didn't allow them to take notes. They just had to listen to short speeches and repeat them back. They found it quite easy to deal with descriptions of normal life, and even when I read them a couple of paragraphs about an upcoming scientific TV show, they remembered the day, the time, the channel, the content, the description, everything important.
Beginning the second hour, notes were allowed, and we worked with information-packed paragraphs from newspapers and magazines. The linguists found that if they understood the material in the first place, they could recall most of the information, but if the language was very abstract or there were unfamiliar terms, it became harder. So we talked about getting talking points or training material before we start an interpretation assignment. That way we can become familiar with the topic and any associated jargon.
By the end of the morning, I think the participants were very impressed by what they were able to do. I certainly was! They're all good translators, and some have absolutely phenomenal talent.
Just now I signed onto Xanga and rediscovered why I keep coming back. There's brilliance all over the place here as well!
I basked in the warmth of posts by @fauquet and @WildWomanOfTheWest. I stared in wonder at @thekeepersgarden 's flowers and @plantinthewindow 's abandoned rural houses, and in morbid fascination at @slmret 's toes. I chuckled at @jsolberg 's latest batch of palindromes and the comments that followed. We've got outstanding artists like @OceanStarr and @Aloysius_son , writers like @ordinarybutloud and @gnostic1 and @doahsdeer and @TexasTidbits ...
I could go on and on. My list of subscriptions is loaded with interesting and creative people.
And on a tangentially related topic (my fiancee is brilliant, interesting, and creative), I sent off my loan application and supporting documents today.
I feel good.