Working at height Interpreting

Working at height presents various difficulties and challenges as well as dangers. People who work at height need to undergo health and safety training in order to be qualified to carry out work safely and to be able to know what to do in an emergency. Emergencies can be illnesses, fire, etc. an evacuation may be required. Training in such procedures can make the difference between life and death. I have interpreted for a few courses and recently I took a series of short videos in the Spanish and English language during my interpreting assignment. I have attached them to this short message. I hope you enjoy...

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Juan Mata – Interpreting at Man United Press Conference

Many of the jobs a Spanish interpreter gets are usually to interpret English questions to a Spanish native tongue, and back from a Spanish native tongue for the English. However, on the occasion of Juan Mata being introduced to the English fans on his transfer from Chelsea to Manchester United at the press conference was a little different. This time the main interpreting role was to interpret the questions by Spanish reporters to Mata for the English press. This was quite a refreshing situation where Juan Mata’s English was plenty good enough to answer the English press in English, but the Spanish press were in force and able to ask their questions in Spanish. The English press, used to dealing only in English would certainly feel left out if they didn’t understand the questions or answers. So, the interpreting role here was to make the Spanish part of the press conference open and available to the English press and fans. Above is the video of the press conference where Juan Mata answers all the questions from the English press first, on his own without the need for interpreting, and then starting at 11 minutes the Spanish press ask their questions in Spanish. I thought this was a really nice touch by Man United for Mata’s Spanish fan base, and shows how important English football is in Spain. Most of the videos on YouTube of the press conference don’t include Mata being questioned in Spanish by the Spanish press, but thankfully this one posted by FullTimeDEVILS includes it. Wishing Mata well, who looks comfortable in his latest career...

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Translation Aid Software

Can Computer Aided Translation (CAT) Software and other tools replace the human translator?  The development within the translation industry of computer aided translation (CAT) software tools, is claimed by some as wonderful, while others with experience of it think otherwise. I belong to the latter group, those who see the limitations which should be of concern to the final user or customer! Translation aid software and CAT tools need a human to operate them. These products are database dependant whilst language is a living thing and is evolving all the time. A document translated today may be different from a similar document translated the previous year due to language changes and other relevant factors. For the translator these tools, therefore, present a number of challenges that can seriously affect the quality of the final translation, one of them is the fact that any mistakes introduced will be replicated by the database because machines do not  recognize mistakes and will keep on repeating the error or errors. This is a potentially serious problem, if it is not seen and corrected promptly, the resultant document could end up full of errors. Correcting a database can cause problems and errors can be introduced, if not done properly, which will affect the quality of the final translation. A further problem faced by the translator is that generally these software programs present material for translation in segments, a segment can be from one full stop to another, these segments vary in size and present a before and after context problem, this is serious and will probably affect the quality of the final translation and usually does with negative results. It is difficult, I would say impossible, to translate with accuracy without considering before and after context. Another factor to consider is; the software and computer do not recognize and are not able to deal with nuances and subtle changes that will affect the accuracy of the translation itself (please see the posting “Translations have consequences”). The final translation itself will resemble a series of statements without correlation to each other. The machine is no match for the human brain!!!  I have tried translation aid software myself, just in case, and found it defective in many areas, including the conversion back to the original format, when some unusual changes are introduced by the software. A major problem for the professional translator is that agencies and companies who use these software programs will...

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Cheap Interpreting on Trial

The Lesson of Cheap Price Contracts The failure of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) contract to supply interpreters for court cases was widely covered in the local and national press. The contract was originally signed with Applied Language Solutions (ALS), a company later acquired by Capita. This article is not meant to be a protest as some interpreters have done, it just highlights the reasons for some of the failures under this contract. With many years of experience in the translation and interpreting business, I knew that problems with serious consequences were likely. From the MOJ‘s point of view, they focussed on the savings made by centralising through a single company, but failed to appreciate the process of employing experienced interpreters, particularly in the legal sphere. The common adage is that the lowest price isn’t always the cheapest in the long run, and you do tend to get what you pay for. The contract failed to deliver on two major counts, firstly the MOJ mistakenly thought they were getting a bargain but did not see or did not want to see the obvious, if you pay less you get less, and in this case lower quality, with some interpreters not turning up. Of the interpreters that did turn up some were not able to interpret at all and others were seriously deficient and were rejected by the courts. All this is well documented in press and industry reports where you can read about the many failures. Secondly, promises of high quality interpreters could not always be fulfilled because of the cheaper prices on offer. The prices are so cheap that qualified and experienced professionals will not work for these prices, so they rely on inexperienced persons, students, people working in restaurants who speak the language. Interpreting at this level though requires more than just an apprentice interpreter, bilingual or partially bilingual person. Again if you pay a bargain price, then it practically means that the company can only use cheaper interpreters with less experience, and consequential problems. Even cheap interpreters will not turn up when they realise the money they are being paid barely covers their expenses as highlighted by the following quote from the Sunday Express article published Sun, May 12, 2013, entitled ‘Interpreter’s ‘low pay’ halts a trial‘: A FURIOUS Crown Court judge had to adjourn a murder hearing because a Mandarin interpreter refused to turn up, claiming he would “not be making enough money”. The judge hit out when he...

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Luis Suárez – the Spanish connection

The First Luis Suárez The first Luis Suárez was born in my home town of La Coruña (Spain) and played for Real Club Deportivo de La Coruña, Barcelona and Inter Milan. He also played for the Spanish national side and was part of the squad that played in the 1966 World Cup in England, Spain came as European champions, a trophy they won in 1964 for the first time. Before all this, Luis Suárez played for a street youth club called Alameda, the name came from Calle Alameda in the centre of La Coruña. My uncle Manolo Varela played in the same team with the first Luis Suárez and had a picture of the team with both in it, which he showed me. My other uncle used to take me to football when I was young and we always stopped in a bar in Calle Alameda before the match where much discussion took place. This Luis Suárez is the only Spanish player to have won the The Ballon d’Or (“Golden Ball”) often referred to as the European Footballer of the Year award in those days. It is now known as FIFA Ballon d’Or.  He also managed the Spanish national team.   The Second Luis Suárez The second Luis Suárez is probably the one you will know best today. He was born in Uruguay, plays for his National side and plays for Liverpool FC. You have probably read much about him in the press and have formed an opinion of what he is like, but as they say, you can’t believe everything you read in the papers. Following the family tradition, I was privileged to meet the second Luis Suárez, spending a few days in a confined environment from early morning to late evening with him and others. When I met him for the first time, I sat next to him in a meeting room at Liverpool’s training ground, Melwood. During our brief introduction and conversation, I was initially interested in Luis Suárez the person and not the football player, so I talked about his family, he showed me a picture of his little girl and his face told me he was a very proud father. You see it helps to understand and convey context when interpreting. During all the time I was assigned to work with Luis I found he was easy to get on with, pleasant and kind. He always dressed well, arrived on time, and on the...

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