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Simultaneous interpreting at the ECO fifth conference on disaster risk management

December 2nd, 2010

On the 10-11th of November I worked as a simultaneous interpreter at the ECO Conference on disaster risk management. There were presented 8 countries of the Organization as well as UN, WHO, UNISEF and other international organizations. The conference was hosted by the Minister of Emergency situations, so  he was the first one to be interpreted, followed by ECO Deputy Secretary General,  UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan and by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.
Unlike previous simultaneous translation, this one was quite specific: there were presentations on seismic risk reduction,  on global campaign „Making cities resilient“, and others. The main topic was the natural disasters: earthquakes, landslides, floods, wildfire and the impact that they have on  overall safety with the focus on school and hospitals safety.
There were some hectic moments for the interpreters when one of the speakers delivered his speach in Persian instead of  English. It was quite a surprise for us but we managed with the help of his colleague who volunteered to interpret into English so we could intrepret him into Russian. The other presentations were fine although sometimes overwelmed with figures, dates and places. But being a simultaneous interpreter, we have to deal with this fact, as well as with the lenght of a presentation and with the speed at which this presentation is given.
Totally I worked 14 hours the first day and then some more hours the following day. It’s not easy, I must admit, but it is very interesting at the same time.

Simultaneous translation at the World Forum of Spiritual Culture

November 9th, 2010

I worked as a simultaneous translator at the World forum of spiritual culture which gathered people from all over the world in Astana on the 18th -20th of October, 2010.

Simultaneous translation is known as the most difficult type of translation since it is done at the same time as the speech itself. Being one of the two simultaneous translators who are located in the booth at the end of a conference room, I enter the booth, put a headset on, check a microphone, three, two, one, go: „Dear ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world forum of spiritual culture!“. My work day starts.

I translated both from Russian into English and from English into Russian. The reports that were read mostly touched upon the concepts such as moral responsibility,power and conscience, morality and its values.
There were several difficulties connected to the translation: first of all, all the reports were read, which means that the speed was significant. Taking into account that translators had no reports at all, this was quite a challenge. Some accents also caused troubles: not only native speakers were present, so sometimes it really took some moments to get a speaker. And as a simultaneous translator you simply don’t have those moments. On the other hand, translating from Russian into English was quite easy and I would even say relaxing. The big advantage of the simultaneous translation is that there is no need to memorize anything as a translator is only 2-3 words behind a speaker. Another important thing is that the translators (who always work in pair) change every 15 minutes, that also gives some time for recovery. Report after report, we made it to the lunch break and a couple of hours later to the end of the forum.

In other words, simultaneous translation is no doubt a challenge but it is also a pleasure when you realize that the audience is satisfied with what it has been hearing in the headphones for the whole day :)