Nolan (2005, p. 2) defines interpreting in a nutshell as a process of conveying understanding. It occurs during cross-cultural communication when two parties do not share same language. By facilitating communication between two individuals, the interpreter helps speaker to discharge their duty to make themselves understood with regard to the entire audience. Often, the audience may be professionals of a certain field (physicians, professors, businessmen etc.) or “common” people who are interested in the topic, but it is not necessarily their specialty (e.g. patients or students). Therefore, professional interpreter must adopt an attitude of intellectual versatility and constant willingness to learn, often regardless of his or her personal area of interest.
It is true that the task of interpreter appears to be greatly complicated as it requires a set of specific skills to be applied through the entire process of his or her interpretation. An essential part of interpreter’s performance is preparation and research on the early stage of assignment. Gaining familiarity with the subject that is going to be discussed at an upcoming assignment will certainly improve interpreter’s efficiency and encourage his or her professional development in particular area. Resources, such as information collections and terminology databases, are vital tools for interpreters to prepare successfully for events. In addition, many speakers tend to prepare their speeches well in advance of its final delivery, which can therefore give interpreter a chance to get an insight on the nature of the meeting beforehand.
During our Chinese language specific sessions, students were often receiving materials that are going to be reviewed the following week. Knowing the specific subject of our interpreting assignment in advance and obtaining background documents enabled me to understand a wide range of possible ideas that can occur during practical interpreting part. Also, this has certainly helped me to develop terminology database specific to the subject of our study.
Another important skill I have certainly developed through the entire practical course is the ability to anticipate the speaker. Sometimes, a speaker can deviate from the original speech and say something quite unexpected. That is the moment that requires a certain amount of intuition and mind alertness from interpreter in order to be able to overcome this sort of problem. In the course of our practical sessions, students were taught some useful tips on how to overcome any sort of unexpected difficulty during the process of his or her interpretation. Although wild guesses from interpreter are highly unwelcomed in this sort of situation, it is often possible, relying on the text, to ‘‘fill in the gaps’’ of a statement when an element of it is unclear or distinctly heard. During the process of my personal interpretation, I have found the techniques of anticipating the speaker of a great use, especially in terms of developing my imagination. In practice, based on the agenda provided, I was able to analyse possible stream of speaker’s thoughts and anticipate what he or she is likely to say next and how he is likely to say it.
Such a comprehensive process of interpretation will undoubtedly consider memory as a skill component. Memory in consecutive interpreting refers to the ability of storing the information during a short period of time (Seleskovitch). If interpreter does nothing with this information, it will very soon disappear from his memory. Therefore, as a…