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Interpreters - how do you practice?
מפרסם התגובה: Aneta Kilham

Aneta Kilham
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Local time: 08:08
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Sep 7, 2012

Hello everyone,

This is a question to all interpreters - how do you practice your interpreting skills?
Of course, experience comes with time but as a beginner interpreter I would like to practice at home to gain more confidence. Do you know any websites with some useful material? It's easy to do sight translations at home, but how about consecutive and simultaneous? Where could I find material which wouldn't be too complex and speech not extremely fast? Is there a site that co
... See more
Hello everyone,

This is a question to all interpreters - how do you practice your interpreting skills?
Of course, experience comes with time but as a beginner interpreter I would like to practice at home to gain more confidence. Do you know any websites with some useful material? It's easy to do sight translations at home, but how about consecutive and simultaneous? Where could I find material which wouldn't be too complex and speech not extremely fast? Is there a site that could teach me how to take notes effectively?
I speak English and Polish.

Any tips or/and advice would be much appreciated!

Thanks,
Aneta
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K S (X)
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 08:08
Online Sep 7, 2012

Hello Aneta,

Perhaps you may want to check this website: http://www.dpsionline.co.uk/

Otherwise, you can find a friend or colleague to practise with, either in person or over Skype.

Good luck!

Kasia


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
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Local time: 03:08
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Hi, Aneta. Sep 7, 2012

I don't practice anymore, but I had to in the past. You just listen to the radio and try to interpret everything they are saying. It is better to start with news -- where just one person is talking at a time. It is even better to record it (the radio talk) and listen to it at a speed of 120 words per minute, initially and then increase the speed to about 175 words/minute. You have to record your interpreting to check it against the source. You have to work on the accuracy while gradually increas... See more
I don't practice anymore, but I had to in the past. You just listen to the radio and try to interpret everything they are saying. It is better to start with news -- where just one person is talking at a time. It is even better to record it (the radio talk) and listen to it at a speed of 120 words per minute, initially and then increase the speed to about 175 words/minute. You have to record your interpreting to check it against the source. You have to work on the accuracy while gradually increasing the speed. Then you can try some pieces where more people are speaking -- up to three -- you don't really need more than that.Collapse


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
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Local time: 09:08
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But try speeches first Sep 7, 2012

News has a density that can be frustrating for beginners (anyway, when trying news, remember the journalism guideline about cramming all the WH- data into the first two sentences).

 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
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Local time: 16:08
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Don't start with news! Sep 7, 2012

Using the news is terrible advice, and I wish people would stop giving it. News is really hard.

The best materials to practice with are speeches from notes like university lectures and political speeches. Speakers tend to speak at a reasonable pace, be clear, be well-structured; the material is not too dense, and you can practice following the line of thought.

Anything scripted - news, tv shows, etc. - is difficult.

You can get endless lectures and talks
... See more
Using the news is terrible advice, and I wish people would stop giving it. News is really hard.

The best materials to practice with are speeches from notes like university lectures and political speeches. Speakers tend to speak at a reasonable pace, be clear, be well-structured; the material is not too dense, and you can practice following the line of thought.

Anything scripted - news, tv shows, etc. - is difficult.

You can get endless lectures and talks in English off any university website now. Probably there's lots available in Polish, too.
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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
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Local time: 03:08
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Yes, maybe Phil is right if you are really a beginner. Sep 7, 2012

I was thinking more about preparing for the court exam, where most interpreters are usually very experienced -- they just need to gain speed. Lectures might be fine, although what is really suggested for many court exams are news, court hearings -- even fictional, scenes from movies which take place in the legal environment., seminars.

You also have to practice interpreting both ways, since there is no such a thing as English to Polish interpreters. Some of the source material ha
... See more
I was thinking more about preparing for the court exam, where most interpreters are usually very experienced -- they just need to gain speed. Lectures might be fine, although what is really suggested for many court exams are news, court hearings -- even fictional, scenes from movies which take place in the legal environment., seminars.

You also have to practice interpreting both ways, since there is no such a thing as English to Polish interpreters. Some of the source material has to be in English and some in Polish. There are special practice materials sometimes which reflect the real-life situation where the judge and the lawyers speak English and the witness speaks another language. They are very hard to come by, however, but this is what most exams are like. The examinee is being exposed to a real-file situation.








[Edited at 2012-09-07 14:48 GMT]
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Kasia Pranke (X)  Identity Verified
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 08:08
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Why not to volunteer for NGOs? Sep 10, 2012

Why not to volunteer for NGOs? Search for some local organisations and ask if they need bilingual volunteers.

 

ParlInt
Local time: 09:08
Parliament practice resources Sep 17, 2012

You could try the european parliament web portal. Go to Plenary sessions, where they have a large archive of speeches in all EU languages from previous plenary sessions. It's not easy, but it is far better practice than the news. There is also a speech repository...try searching for that. I'm not sure how easy it is to get access from the outside, but it has speeches tailor-made for beginners. Why not get in touch with our nice training staff, they are always looking to help out budding career i... See more
You could try the european parliament web portal. Go to Plenary sessions, where they have a large archive of speeches in all EU languages from previous plenary sessions. It's not easy, but it is far better practice than the news. There is also a speech repository...try searching for that. I'm not sure how easy it is to get access from the outside, but it has speeches tailor-made for beginners. Why not get in touch with our nice training staff, they are always looking to help out budding career interpreters!Collapse


 

ParlInt
Local time: 09:08
Disagreement on method Sep 17, 2012

I'd also like to disagree with some of the advice given by LilianBolland: I would suggest listening to things at full speed first (and always), trying to get as much of the message as you can. You can build up accuracy and content as you go, as opposed to getting it perfect but building up speed as you go. It might seem like it's not too different, but the former teaches you to summarise and encapsulate a message in fewer words where possible/necessary. In real life there are times when things a... See more
I'd also like to disagree with some of the advice given by LilianBolland: I would suggest listening to things at full speed first (and always), trying to get as much of the message as you can. You can build up accuracy and content as you go, as opposed to getting it perfect but building up speed as you go. It might seem like it's not too different, but the former teaches you to summarise and encapsulate a message in fewer words where possible/necessary. In real life there are times when things are simply too dense, and interpreters who have used this technique to train are usually better able to summarise accurately.
As for more than one person speaking at a time...you will never, ever be expected to interpret more than one speaker at a time at a reputable institution. When two speakers are on mic at the same time at the Parliament we simply wait until they have sorted out their mic war and then interpret the person still speaking!
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Aneta Kilham
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Local time: 08:08
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TOPIC STARTER
Hi everyone, Sep 20, 2012

Thanks a lot for your replies. You've given me some very helpful tips. Now I just need to roll up my sleeves and practise as often as possible!

 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
ארצות הברית
Local time: 03:08
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Well, 120 word per minute is not that slow Sep 20, 2012

This is what experienced interpreters are often instructed to start with when practicing speed increase. If you listen to the news at this speed it sounds almost like the natural speed. Usually, however, news are reported at a higher speed, so it would be really very hard to interpret anything at that speed for a person who is not used to it. Of course you can just practice on speech samples which are slower by themselves, so you don't have to purposely lower the speed.

 

mjbjosh
Local time: 09:08
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Depends Oct 6, 2012

LilianBoland wrote:
Usually, however, news are reported at a higher speed, so it would be really very hard to interpret anything at that speed for a person who is not used to it.


The news are usually fine. In parliaments, people tend to olympic reading from papers somebody else has written. It can be pretty disastrous, when I think back of some Greek, French or Bulgarian (or any other nationality) speakers.


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
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Local time: 09:08
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Been there, done that Oct 7, 2012

News in Spanish or French packs in 160 words/minute -- the upper physical limit in those languages one can go without being unintelligible. However, speed is superficial; it's the density that throws you. That density occurs, as I mentioned, in the first two sentences -- which tend to be the most discouraging for beginners. Once you're past that, news can be fairly normal until the next headline, when the pattern will recur. It's something to keep in mind if indeed you want to practise with news... See more
News in Spanish or French packs in 160 words/minute -- the upper physical limit in those languages one can go without being unintelligible. However, speed is superficial; it's the density that throws you. That density occurs, as I mentioned, in the first two sentences -- which tend to be the most discouraging for beginners. Once you're past that, news can be fairly normal until the next headline, when the pattern will recur. It's something to keep in mind if indeed you want to practise with news. It's not impossible, but to make it easier, you have to plot that certain "matrix of expectancy".Collapse


 

Anna Maria Ochocka  Identity Verified
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 08:08
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What I did Oct 7, 2012

Hi,

Personally I found a very easy way to practice interpreting. My partner cannot speak Polish and my parents cannot speak English, so my first experience came when they met and I had to interpret what they were saying during my partner's visit to Poland.

As you live in the UK, you may know some Poles who struggle with English fe in the shop, maybe offer them your help. It won't be a court/conference/business meeting situation but you will get a feeling of a real life.
... See more
Hi,

Personally I found a very easy way to practice interpreting. My partner cannot speak Polish and my parents cannot speak English, so my first experience came when they met and I had to interpret what they were saying during my partner's visit to Poland.

As you live in the UK, you may know some Poles who struggle with English fe in the shop, maybe offer them your help. It won't be a court/conference/business meeting situation but you will get a feeling of a real life. And if you do it well, it will give you confidence and satisfaction.

Best regards
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Alison Sparks (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:08
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Some good advice here Oct 7, 2012

about practicing in real time and with speeches. The news can be tricky, but worthwhile sometimes, especially if you're already familiar with the topic to some extent.

@LilianBoland
120 wpm is very slow! A competent audio typist can often reach this sort of speed, but nonetheless has to stop and start the tape. (I did this for 30 odd years). Normal everyday speech is between 250 and 300 wpm in English at any rate. One reason people learning the language have trouble follow
... See more
about practicing in real time and with speeches. The news can be tricky, but worthwhile sometimes, especially if you're already familiar with the topic to some extent.

@LilianBoland
120 wpm is very slow! A competent audio typist can often reach this sort of speed, but nonetheless has to stop and start the tape. (I did this for 30 odd years). Normal everyday speech is between 250 and 300 wpm in English at any rate. One reason people learning the language have trouble following a conversation if they're still at the translating stage rather than assimilation. Someone reading from a book or prepared speech will be reaching about 220 - 250 wpm.

You could also try recording something from a book, listening to it and interpreting as you go, or by short phrases, depending on whether you want to practice simultaneous or consecutive interpreting.

Good luck and enjoy
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