In modern life, there is an increasing demand for simultaneous interpreting. This paper gives information about famous interpreters strategies of simultaneous interpreting. Furthermore, this article introduces proposes the general principles and techniques for simultaneous interpreting, and provides practical self-training methods .
Keywords: simultaneous interpreting, principles, transcoding, reformulation, simplification, generalization, omission.
In international political or corporate meetings simultaneous interpreting plays an important role in mediating communication. In daily life, we may have encountered simultaneous interpretations of live broadcasted statements or interviews on television news channels, such as CNN, and may have been intrigued by this capacity to verbally transform online a message from one language, the source language, into another language, the target language. In simultaneous interpreting (SI) it is required that interpreters both listen and speak at the same time. In this regard it contrasts with so called consecutive interpreting, where the interpreter alternates between listening and speaking and only starts to translate after the speaker has finished speaking.
In the world of language services, simultaneous interpretation can be classified as the most demanding. The interpreter must have excellent language skills and more than average fluency in two languages. Further, he or she must be mentally prepared. Especially if the meeting or conference is a long one and involves many speakers. Being a simultaneous interpreter means correctly interpreting what is being said while injecting the nuances necessary in the target language. The environment itself can already be stressful. The interpreter cannot consult a dictionary to look up unfamiliar expressions and terms, which is reason enough to have excellent proficiency in the source and target languages. The interpreter must be fully confident of their speaking skills. The job demands that the interpreter must also be skilled in improvisation.
Simultaneous interpreting is a complex task where the interpreter is routinely involved in comprehending, translating and producing language at the same time. This study assessed two components that are likely to be major sources of complexity in SI: The simultaneity of comprehension and production, and transformation of the input. Furthermore, within the transformation component, we tried to separate reformulation from language-switching. We compared repeating sentences (shadowing), reformulating sentences in the same language (paraphrasing), and translating sentences (interpreting) of auditorily presented sentences, in a simultaneous and a delayed condition. Output performance and ear–voice span suggest that both the simultaneity of comprehension and production and the transformation component affect performance but that especially the combination of these components results in a marked drop in performance. General lower recall following a simultaneous condition than after a delayed condition suggests that articulation of speech may interfere with memory in SI.
Many famous interpreters have discussed and proposed different interpreting strategies using a variety of different terms. For example: Jones, Al-Salman and Al-Khanji, Bartlomiejczyk. Strategies are generally divided into: comprehension strategies (knowledge activation, anticipation, and segmentation), production strategies (compression, expansion, approximation strategies, generalization, reformulation, repair strategies, and transcoding), overall strategies (workload management strategies and monitoring strategies), and emergency strategies (omission of text segment, transcoding, and parallel reformulation).
Reformulation. The interpreters’ main goal is to convey the speakers’ messages as faithfully as possible. In order to achieve that, interpreters have to reformulate the wordings of their speakers. For example, long, complicated sentences will be broken down into shorter and easier ones and active clauses can be rendered as passive or vice versa.
The Salami Technique. The salami technique, also referred to as chunking, is a technique by which long, complicated sentences are divided into a number of shorter sentences. Jones urges interpreters to use this strategy especially when dealing with languages that have the tendency to use long, complicated sentences. Yagi considers chunking «a coping strategy that interpreters use to divide up TL [target language] long stretches of discourse into chunks of manageable size.», on the other hand, sees chunking as a strategy that «can save short-term memory capacity requirement by unloading information from memory faster.»
Simplification Simplification is a technique used by interpreters to deal with highly technical materials. Interpreters, Jones believes, may resort to this technique for two reasons. First, interpreters may not be able to cope with all the highly technical material in the speech, so they simplify it to save what they can. Second, interpreters may be able to cope with all the technical material but rendering it without any simplification may leave the audience confused
Generalization According to Jones, when faced with a very fast speaker and in order to save time, «a number of specific items mentioned can be expressed in one 28 generic term.» Generalization should not be used when each specific item mentioned in the speech is significant. Jones gives an example of a speaker who could say, ‘people take it for granted now to have a fridge and a freezer, the dishwasher and the washing machine with a spin dryer, a cooker and a vacuum cleaner’. If the elements in this speech are irrelevant, the interpreter could use a generic form in his rendition and interpret, ‘people take it for granted now to have all household electric appliances’.
Omission . According to Jones, interpreters are occasionally faced with situations where neither simplification nor generalization will help them to keep up with their speakers. In these situations, interpreters will have to omit things. Jones differentiates between two forms of omission: «omission under duress and omission from choice.» In the first form of omission, the interpreter cuts out certain elements «in order to preserve as much of the essential message as possible,» while in the second form of omission the interpreter omits certain elements deliberately to achieve an economic and simple interpretation which assures the highest level of communication between the speaker and the audience.
Summarizing Summarizing, as Jones explains, is a technique used by interpreters to «clarify what is unclear because of the speaker.» The speaker for example, may express his ideas implicitly or incoherently which requires some explanation from the interpreter’s part to make the speaker’s ideas clear to the audience. Summarizing, in this case, is not a summary of what the speaker has said, but rather something added to it to explain it and to make it clearer. Summarizing is referred to by many theorists as «addition». It is very important here to know that summarizing here is not the same as the summarizing strategy of Al-Salman and Al-Khanji. To avoid confusion, summarizing strategy will be referred to as addition.
Error correction. There are occasions when interpreters make clear mistakes for many different reasons such as wrong anticipation, not hearing a word at all, misunderstanding the speaker’s implicit ideas, or misunderstanding a word or a phrase. According to Jones if an interpreter makes a mistake there are different possible scenarios. First, Jones believes that if the mistake is insignificant and makes no material difference, the interpreter should not waste time trying to fix it. Second, if the mistake is made on a significant point of the speech, but somehow it becomes obvious to the interpreter that the audience has noticed the mistake and worked out what the correct rendition must be, then it is not necessary to correct the mistake. However, Jones believes that correcting the mistake is recommended only if the interpreter can fix it quickly.
Transcoding M.Bartlomiejczyk describes transcoding as a word-for-word rendition or almost word-for-word rendition. In this case the interpreter is very faithful to the source text, relying on its surface structure often because the interpreter does not understand completely or partially what the speaker meant by one of the segments of the speech. Al-Salman and Al-Khanji refer to this strategy as literal interpretation and they describe it as a strategy in which the interpreter uses a target language equivalent to the source language word «irrespective of contextual adequacy»
Incomplete sentence strategy. When this strategy is applied by interpreters, the result will be unfinished messages due to unfinished rendition that is cut short in the middle of the sentence. AlSalman and Al-Khanji explain that «this strategy occurs when the interpreter takes too much time trying to find equivalent expressions but fails to do so before additional input must be interpreted».
1. Al-Salman, S. & Al-Khanji, R. (2002). The native language factor in simultaneous interpretation in an Arabic/English context. Meta 47(4), 607–625
2. Barik, H. (1975). Simultaneous interpretation: Qualitative and linguistic data. In F. Pochhacker & M. Shlesinger (Eds.), The interpreting studies reader (pp. 79–91). London: Routledge.
3. Jones, R. (2002). Conference interpreting explained (2nd ed.). Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.
4. Yagi, S. M. (2000). Studying style in simultaneous interpretation. Meta XLV(3), 520–47