Speaking Worlds

Mariana's blog about
interpretation and translation

The Future is Now

Remote interpreting is not new. In the past 10 years, many interpreters have been given the chance to work online, or remotely. It has mainly involved consecutive interpreting, over the phone or on Skype. Consecutive has never been my favourite form of interpreting, since it involves allowing for pauses in the speaker's speech so that the interpreter may then repeat what has been said in the target language. Consecutive interpreting is therefore an exercise in memory, and effective note-taking. I, however, much prefer the real time or simultaneous interpreting, which remains, in my opinion, the most faithful and direct form of interpretation. Yet, how can we expect to deliver simultaneously over a phone line? The need to pause to listen to the message forces us to do consecutive work, the conversations become longer, the flow of communication is constantly interrupted and the quality of the sound – which is exceedingly important – often leaves much to be desired. All too often, remote interpreting represents a very stressful situation for everyone involved.

On FGM's catastrophic numbers

Today I read terrible news on the Internet. In spite all the work done for decades by UN agencies to raise awareness on the terrible and inhumane practice of Female Genital Mutilation, also known as FGM, still more than 200 million girls and women have undergone this terrible procedure.

Yet, for the past few years, we have seen the headlines in the international press that country after country made it illegal to perform FGM, and naively, we celebrated the news. It has become apparent that the data was wrong by a huge margin, and we now read that 70 million more girls and women than previously estimated have been subjected to this practice.

2016: a year of purpose

As I sat down to my desk on the first day of the year and set out to plan the new year, I couldn't help but start by reviewing mentally the accomplishments of the year which just came to an end. In my personal business universe 2015 was a significant year, I cemented my professional practice in Europe and made new and important connections with clients who work in the areas I specialize in. My thoughts naturally extended to this field, and I made a note of the significant events that took place this year world-wide.

At the global level, 2015 is the year when the millennium development goals (MDGs) expired and when, after several years of careful consideration, the sustainable development goals (SDGs) were adopted instead. These 17 strategies expanded on their predecessors and are taking the challenge further, involving not only developing countries but the whole world into the race for development. We now have 15 years to transform the world into a more equitable and fair place, in spite of every terrible thing that is happening.

The well-prepared interpreter is fearless

This week's interpretation assignment was not an easy one. And this does not mean it was difficult. It means it required preparation. It was actually quite a painless exercise, I had time to prepare myself, to read the presentation and learn the appropriate terminology. My booth mate was competent, professional and kind. The equipment was flawless. The client was sufficiently experienced to make our job stressless.

This is not to say there weren't any challenges, the topic was agriculture - quite specific and almost scientific I would say. The terminology was mostly new and definitely not what my usual clients, and much less I use frequently. The source language was English, but almost every speaker was French, and I think I will not surprise anyone by saying their English was not always smooth and accentless.

On World's AIDS day

One of the most meaningful assignments of my life as an interpreter was a three-weeks training in San Salvador, working for ActionAid. I thought I knew so much about AIDS, it turned out I knew very little.

The workshop was about a trainer methodology called Stepping Stones. It was directed to people coming from San Salvador as well as from the rural areas, educated people as well as people with little formal schooling; healthy people, as well as persons living with AIDS.



Mariana Hernandez, English, French and Spanish interpreter and translator My name is Mariana Hernandez; I am a freelance conference interpreter and translator working in English, French and Spanish. I was born and I grew up in Paris, France. Later in life I moved with my family to Latin America, where I eventually started my career, working with international NGOs, United Nations agencies, and private and public sector stakeholders in developing countries. This blog speaks of my work, and the many humanist topics which are close to my heart.



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