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By Mari D. González
The greatest opportunity for today’s interpreters is beyond adopting new interpreting software. It is about internalizing the technology the way we have assimilated to smartphones and have found new things to do with them.
Traditional Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) has lowered the cost of interpreting services and exponentially expanded the number of interpreting assignments. Wireless mobile-accessed remote interpreting has added a new dimension. It has opened the doors for new settings, unconstrained locations, and streamlined processes. These provide more control and benefits to the interpreter.
With mobile-accessed remote interpreting, interpreters can have more freedom to create new work relationships, develop their own work systems, and enjoy the convenience of the Internet with limitless options for where interpretation can be provided. The greatest bonus is the mobility. The interpreter is not confined to a particular place nor is he or she expected to travel to a required location.
Last year, I interpreted for the Organization of American States-Inter-American Commission on Human Rights‘ week-long strategic planning discussion sessions, hearings and broadcast conference. This was my first experience interpreting for a high-level, international meeting. I met OAS-IACHR’s Secretary, Commissioners and staff, some of whom had been ambassadors and saw first hand their impactful and inspiring work. I was teamed up with a colleague of mine. It was an intense, exciting, and very rewarding experience.
Initially, I was scheduled to work all five days, but because of the competitive bidding process interpreting agencies go through in order to reduce costs, a less-expensive interpreter was hired in my place. However, by the end of the first day, I was told that that interpreter was not able to continue and was asked if I was still available. I began on the second day. The “less-expensive” interpreter I was replacing asked me if she could stay to observe me. I told her that I didn’t mind. Thankfully, she left after an hour. She was a California court-certified interpreter, but was unable to work at a high level conference.
Conference or simultaneous interpreting requires a unique set of skills. CETRA’s blog explains, “Simultaneous interpreting is complex and demanding. It requires listening, understanding, sharp memory, accurate structure, inflection, and syntax, as well as a mastery of key terminology. Additionally, a command of two cultures is necessary to interpret idioms and address the audience in the correct register–formal and informal. Because simultaneous interpreting happens in real-time, there is no room for mistakes.”
Most conference interpreters have master’s degrees in interpreting. Others have master’s degrees in a related area plus professional training from a certificate program. The foundation of my training has come from interpreting at community meetings and my degree in intercultural relations. For me, interpreting is a natural way to operate requiring the ability to perceive a message from two different perspectives without changing its meaning. My favorite settings are international conferences, executive and official meetings and business presentations, training sessions, and community events.
For more information about my interpreting services and scheduling, please email me.