Impostora

Trying to master a foreign language

Taking the leap: interpreting from Spanish

I’m now back from Argentina and officially working from Spanish. According to standard conference interpretation terminology, Spanish for me is a C language, i.e. a language, which, for professional purposes, is passive, a language you work from, not into. I have never had a C language before. My other two languages (English and French) are both active, both A (i.e. native) languages.

The upshot is that for the first time in my life, I do not have full intuitive command of the message. because I have to devote more energy to listening, I have less energy to devote to analysing and re-expressing the message. Like a colleague who discussed her experience of adding Swedish C in 2002 (see Déjean Le Féal, Karla. 2002. “La “théorie du sens” au banc d’essai.” in Israël), I find myself struggling to avoid word-for-word translations. From Spanish, I also retain less information in short-term memory.

For the time being, I have nothing but questions. How can I gear meeting preparation to the problems of working from C? What is the link between activation and understanding, and what language enhancement activities should get priority? Where can I find data on C language acquisition and development?

A lot of work in store!….

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2 thoughts on “Taking the leap: interpreting from Spanish

  1. Here is a post I can relate to: I usually interpret from English into Spanish and viceversa. I have French as a “C” language and started interpreting ENFR recently, and although I attended a French school interpreting into French “n’est pas évident” to me. I am based in Buenos Aires, so feel free to contact me if you feel like networking!

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