Micro-blog: The Secret to Simultaneous Interpreting

Welcome to our new series of micro-blogs. In these posts, we will highlight the key messages that came out of our live CPD events to bring to you an idea of the types of content we cover.

The Secret to Simultaneous Interpreting

Delivered by Mirjana Novakovic, a highly qualified and experienced Level 6 Serbian interpreter.

Key messages from this session:

  • The mechanisms of SI are complex and consist of multiple steps
  • The key to becoming a successful and confident simultaneous interpreter lies with practice. SI is an unnatural process for the brain and as such is not easy to master. To begin with, interpreters need to start training one skill at the time (e.g. text analysis, abstracting, paraphrasing, etc.)
  • At a later stage, training can be aimed at more complex parts of the interpreting process (e.g. speakers’ pronunciation, speed, density of information, specialized terminology, rhetoric, etc.)
  • There are some great practical ways in which simultaneous interpreters can develop their skills, such as this:
    • Locate a short audio report or interview on internet
    • Listen to the audio and do another task at the same time (e.g. doodling, bouncing a ball, counting backwards)
    • At the end of the piece, summarise what you have heard
    • Start with short sections
  • Sharing of information and mutual assistance amongst interpreters is an incredibly valuable tool in learning, and this session was a prime example. During the Q&A after the session, learners were asking for advice on preparing for the SI element of the exam. Generally, SI is the most ‘feared’ unit and traditionally the one hardest to master. Yet one learner was able to shed a completely new light on this interpreting mode, pointing out that it is in fact much easier to do (once you get the hang of it) than traditional consecutive interpreting.
    Consecutive interpreting involves so many elements – memory, note-taking, thinking about asking for clarification, worrying whether anything is missed; whereas with SI, once you automate the process of delivering content in a different language at more or less the same time as you are hearing it, you will find that you can ‘switch off’ and the method becomes a second nature.  
    Whether you agree with this view or not – it is certainly food for thought, and may put your mind at rest (at least somewhat) if your exams are looming!

Want to get involved in the discussion? Do you have your own experience that you’d like to share?

Then join our next live CPD event! The feedback from interpreters is truly excellent – you’ll never have attended a session quite like it!

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