Commercial interpreting is involved with numbers and commercial terms that create different types of challenges during interpreting. Numbers in commercial interpreting is especially important since these numbers represent the profit of the company. In order to note down the numbers, interpreters are prone to forget the subsequent sentences. Moreover, the unit of Chinese and English numbers is different. The setting of this assignment was the Annual General Meeting of International Air Transport Association. It was divided into two sections, the first section was a welcome speech and the second section was a clip. The audience section comprised of both onsite audiences as well as those people who were watching on the internet. I had the responsibility to perform both simultaneous and consecutive interpreting on the same task. These added to the difficulty to the assignment. “The new technologies themselves have come to be used to make interpreters available from a distance” (Bruan 2006). Interpreters have to adapt themselves to the new modes of interpreting. In this essay, I would like to discuss the preparation, my performance in this assignment and the improvements I will make for future assignments.
During the latter half of this semester, I had started to enter the commercial world by interpreting business groups’ talk and discussions. These were in liaison interpreting mode. However, loads of commercial terms appeared. In the beginning, it was difficult for me because I did not know them at all. Therefore, I made the commercial glossary. The next stage, the tutor used companies’ annual general meetings as a sample for us to practice. These were food, thread manufacturing and textiles companies. After a series of practicing, I analyzed the pattern of the speech and developed a better grasp of commercial terms. The last phase covered the speeches of airline companies. During interpreting one speech in class, I noticed that I had missed several details. Besides, when I was not sure about the note I took, I was tend to skip the details.
The preparation and the research I did for this assignment could be divided into several parts. Firstly, I reviewed my commercial glossary. Secondly, I read recent years’ AGM welcome speeches, press conference speeches and the website. I figured out the world affairs and natural disasters which were included in the speeches. These included volcanic eruption, economic recession and commodity price. I read the speeches and recorded them. Then, I used these recordings to practice consecutive interpreting. Then, to train my response, I practiced to interpret numbers, especially million, billon and trillion. In order to deliver my interpretation in consecutive mode, I practised by standing in front of the mirror to check my behavior and my facial expression. Besides looking at the mirror, I asked myself to look the suitcase next to the mirror to pretend it was the webcam. While delivering my interpretation, I also had to get used to turn my body to face the webcam sometimes to attend the audience watching on the internet. Next, I used the clips offered by the tutor to practice simultaneous interpreting. While I practiced the simultaneous interpreting, I took a small mirror in front of me to check my facial expression. The pace in some of the clips was faster, so I could not interpret well. I faced an issue in this case. . When I finished the former sentence, I failed to catch up the following ones. However, a good feature that I witnessed in myself during these practices was that no matter I interpreted completely or missed the sentences, my voice remained calm and confident. Moreover, I did not express nervousness on my face. “As web-based broadcast technologies are beginning to emerge, there has been rise of a potentially wider, more heterogeneous and less predictable web audience” (Bruan 2006). Interpreters have to deal with this challenge by choosing and speculating their interpretation. As the web audience of this meeting were shareholders, I decided that I would interpret the whole name of organization in consecutive interpreting while only the abbreviation in the simultaneous interpreting part.
During the assignment, I walked into the room and introduced myself to the English speaker. When the speaker addressed the speech, I sat and took notes. Indeed, the world affairs appeared in the speech. Also, the history of Lufthansa airline and Berlin was mentioned. I noted the numbers that represented the year but failed to note the description. Moreover, the speaker mentioned London, Paris and Frankfurt. I noted down them all. Unfortunately, I forgot why the speaker mentioned these places. Fortunately, I successfully noted down the large numbers that represented the passengers of the year. To be honest, I was very nervous because I missed several details. In spite of this, I started to deliver my interpretation. I still maintained appropriate tone, pace, volume and voice projection. I kept good eye contact to both the audience and the webcam. As I could not figure out the corresponding Chinese translation of ‘ICC’, I did not interpret it. Then, I remembered to put the emphasis on welcoming the shareholders from the Internet. I noticed the cities’ name, Paris, London and Frankfurt and two numbers on my following notes without any description. Rather than clarifying with the speaker, I directly interpreted them. As I could not interpret well in the former part, the subsequent quality of interpretation was affected. The repetition appeared. The next stage was to interpret the clip simultaneously. When practicing, I often wrote down the numbers for helping me to convert the units between two languages quickly. To my surprise, I could not see my glossary and note any number or phrase down. My pace was slower sometimes since the Chinese interpretation took longer time. I still finished the sentences and then interpreted the next one. Due to sufficient practice, I successfully interpreted the large number, 3870 billion correctly. In the following speech, the speaker listed five new developments, I only interpreted three of them, but I said ‘ec cetera’ at the end of my interpretation. In the end of the speech, I could not understand the complete meaning of the last few sentences, so I hesitated for three seconds. Then, the tutor pressed ‘stop button’. I paraphrased these few sentences and finished. Unfortunately, the tone and pace of this part were not good. I expressed the uncertainty through my voice. Within the simultaneous phase, as I could not look at my glossary or take notes, I kept eye contact with the audience and the webcam. The overall voice projection, tone, pace and others were all appropriate. The ‘communication management’ (Braun) was vital in this assignment because the use of webcam. I did my best to give both on-site audience and those who were on the Internet, the same feeling that I was interpreting for them impartially.
There are several improvements that I will make for future assignments. First, I will not omit organization names in my interpretation because of not figuring out the Chinese translation or being nervous. I will read the abbreviation of organization. In the meetings, especially the annual general meeting, the attendees are the professions. Frankly speaking, they know the organizations better than interpreters. Second, I will clarify with the speaker about the details I missed. The reason why I did not clarify with the speaker was because if I did, the speaker had to repeat several sentences; hence, the audience may doubt my ability and comprehension. However, because of this decision, I could not provide the complete interpretation and information. Even though the audience did not see the speaker repeating the certain sentences again, they did not consider I am professional enough since they found the gap in my interpretation. Another problem was the way of taking notes. I will focus on the description first and note down the key words. If the speakers list the places or items, I will do my best to note them down, if not, I will interpret some of them and use ‘eccetera’ to finish this part. The other reason that led to this condition was that I did not do enough research on the relationship between Lufthansa Airlines and Berlin. I focused more on the future development and achievement rather than the history. In the simultaneous interpreting part, although I could catch up the pace, I noticed that interpretation for some phrases’ could be more accurate. I will practice more so that my response will be faster enough to choose better words. ‘The interpreters’ performance in the remote simultaneous mode was found to be more complete and accurate than the performance in the onsite consecutive mode’ (Bruan 2006). I took my performance to examine this narration. My second section was obviously better than the first one. The space and distance play important roles here. I was not at the same space with some of the audience. Moreover, when interpreting in simultaneous mode, interpreters are more likely as conduits and invisible. On the contrary, interpreters have to interact with the speakers and even the audience. The sections indeed influence interpreters’ performance.
This was the last assignment of the master degree course. It still provided a list of improvements that I have to make and clearly pointed out the weaknesses and advantages of my performance. Interpreters have to make quick decision such as how to deal with the missing details or which strategy should be applied when the Chinese interpretation. Although I did not do well on the decision-making aspect in this assignment, I will practice more and accumulate more experience.
Braun, S. (2006) “Multimedia communication technologies and their impact on interpreting”In: Proceedings Of The Marie Curie EuroconferencesMuTra: Audiovisual Translation Scenarios Copenhagen, 1-5 May 2006. Online.https:euroconferences.info/proceedings/2006_Proceedings/2006_Braun_Sabine.pdf.