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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 :)