Simultaneous translation

Unfortunately today the profession of the translator or interpreter is not so popular as we want it to be. You may say “Well, and what about the fact that for example the contest to the linguistic high school is about 17 persons per position, and that the linguistic departments of the translators and interpreters appear as the mushrooms after the rain are being opened in many different institutions! And now children are learning English starting not from the fifth or second form, but starting from the first one! And moreover, think about high salaries of the translators!”. Well, we will not deny all these factors, but no one know how difficult and important from the psychological point of view the profession of interpreter is. When we speak about the translation of literature, here the translator plays almost the same role as the writer (different language systems and as a result – different stylistic, lexical and phraseological frames, pragmatics). Translator of lyrics – is the same as the poet, because he/she has always to think about rhythm and melodics of the work.

But what about interpreting and simultaneous interpreting? The scientists proved that during the work the simultaneous interpreter suffers from the same stress as test pilot. This profession is even considered to be mental and physical anomaly. The usual person cannot at the same time make two things: perceive the information and interpret at the same time. But nevertheless, all the difficulties and dangers, about which you can hear from the experienced simultaneous interpreters or usual interpreters, do not scare the young specialists that are dreaming about an opportunity to try themselves in this profession. They are not scared by the fact that to be a successful simultaneous interpreter they need to train a lot. The simultaneous translation requires the maximum mental tension and that is why not everybody can work as a simultaneous interpreter. But to have the image of a respected simultaneous interpreter is very honorable, but difficult.

Before you start a professional activity we hope that the information below will help you to work without mistakes in such a way that everybody is pleased with your work:

  • Come to the event earlier and remember that you are a part of a team, that is why do not afraid to ask about something from the more experienced colleagues, believe they will answer your questions with pleasure. And also try to communicate with a person you are going to interpret, and talk with him about the topic of the conference. Try to understand who will be your audience.
  • If you work in pair with one more interpreter, help each other. If you work during the conference you should have two pairs of headphones on your working place and a microphone, moreover there should be headphones and receivers in accordance with the amount of people that need the interpreting. You should also check the sound insulation in the cabin, your own voice should not muffle the voice of the speaker. Take cake about the water - it should always be on your table (of course you should not worry about that, but who knows), as your speech apparatus will get tired in a pretty short period of time.
  • Try to get acquainted with the terminology, and especially with the abbreviations, that can greatly influence the interpreting process. If you have some difficulties do not hesitate to contact your colleagues.
  • Speaking about the equipment, do not forget to turn on the ON button, while translating otherwise people will not hear you, and also remember about OFF button when you finish work and your partner starts interpreting, otherwise people will hear how you move papers and chairs etc. It also should be noted that from the theoreticl point of view there is REPEAT button giving you an opportunity to ask the speaker to repeat his/her phrase. But you should be ready that in 90%  the speaker will ignore this sign.


In my opinion the main rule in interpereting and especially in simultaneous interpreting is “HIDE YOUR NERVES”. Otherwise you will have a trembling voice, will not be able to pronounce a speech in time, your brain will not work etc. But everything is not so awful, as it may seems to be. Remember, that the very idea of simultaneous interpreting is possible just because in modern speech just 50% of the words carry the new information. Moreover, take into consideration, that a certain percentage of the pronounced information is not perceived by the audience. So, dear colleagues, good luck in this difficult but noble work.

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