Now, we don’t want to toot our own horns or anything, but a recent study was released that suggests interpretation is one of the most difficult linguistic skills to become good at. Here are a few reasons why this is.
Now, to be clear, we’re talking about simultaneous interpretation (SI). This type of interpretation requires someone who is bilingual to sit in a booth, listen to incoming words (via headphones, or some equal medium) and then immediately verbalize what they are hearing in one language (source language), into a completely different language (target language). It’s practically like trying to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time – some people can do it, but others just get lost in the midst and start to rub their head and pat their belly. The result? One big hairy knot.
Simultaneous interpreters have many skills and abilities that have been honed through their lives, and even their education. They must have the ability to listen carefully, comprehend the source language, remember the sentence in the source language, and formulate the sentence in the target language ending with a clear articulation of what they’ve heard. Not to mention at the same time they’re doing this, they’re already listening to the next sentence. Are you overwhelmed just thinking about it? According to one article, “Researcher David Gerver has reported that interpreters overlap speaking one language while listening to another up to 75% of the time!”
Needless to say, interpreters are a special breed and we are very proud of the interpreters we hire at Pendleton Translations. Not only do they have native speaking abilities in the languages they translate and interpret, they are also members of reputable language associations across North America including ATIO, AILIO, ATA and MPI.
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