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Response to alfredo (Reply #29)

Sat Jan 12, 2019, 09:26 PM

45. A lot of people have made this kind of claim.

Don't recall it specifically for this event. But it's unlikely that no US interpreter was present.

What use her notes would be to anybody but her is unknowable without looking at them.

In my consecutive interpretation class we were put in positions where we had to pretend to be the interpreter. (Yes, what she was doing was consecutive interpretation, a kind of conference interpretation. It's best for diplomatic talks. Fewer mistakes are made.)

Idiots decided to just "remember" what was said.

Fools decided to try to write everything down.

Greater fools decided to use standard orthography.

Over time, we all devised our own shorthand. Some took notes in the source language; others in the target language; most mixed the languages, doing part of the language shift as they took notes and somehow pointing out the things to think through during brief gaps in speech. Some used a self-devised shorthand. Those with better memories took fewer notes. Most focused on the paper--there's no point in looking at the speaker unless you need to, and you got to think about how to recast source text in the other language--sometimes substituting idioms, trying to find parallel proverbs, or even at times moving whole chunks of text to try to keep the meaning the same. Most had their handwriting degrade rather quickly from speed. And we quickly learned that the seconds when it's clear that the first speaker is done are golden.

To look at another's notes, esp. for nuance, would most likely be crazy. Even to reconstruct what was said might be hard for anybody but her. Not that people wouldn't try, consider their interpretations factual, and get things wrong. By now she probably has her note-taking reduced to a consistent form, but perhaps not. It's hard to know how long she's been at that particular job.

Also keep in mind that the interpreter is considered to be mostly an extension of the air. The air is the medium, a conduit, nothing more, so whatever an interpreter thinks about his/her client should never enter into the conversation. The only time the interpreter is actively engaged with a client(s) is when s/he needs feedback about something or perhaps advising on process or has some insight and asks if s/he can share it. If the answer is 'no', then the interpreter goes back to being a conduit and nothing more. An example of "feedback" might be whether the client wants confirmation that the other interpreter is accurate or how the message was skewed, or whether an attempt should be made to keep style, idioms, jokes, that sort of thing, or just summarize a bit or a lot.

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