In December my grate frend Heather Glass advised that she was considering travelling from Perth to participate in a workshop to be held over three days in February for which she needed at least one other Japanese speaking “language partner”. This was because it was a simultaneous interpreting workshop to be held in the brand new (only one pandemic old) four booth facility at RMIT.
I thought “I’ll have a slice of that!” and blocked out those three days for Emily and I.
The organisers with the mildly bogan name of “OzTerps” are actually these two gorgeous and highly trained superstars Jemma Ives and Rebeca Spanish translators.
(With a sigh I must insert here the standard advice that by “translator” I mean to refer to translation in all modes, written, signed and spoken and without limiting it in any sense to this or that kind of setting, industry or source of funding, and add further that this usage of the word “translator” is supported by every dictionary you’ve ever seen etc etc.)
The plan, the very organised plan (they are also very organised) was four sessions a day with breaks and lunch interspersed, of people presenting speeches, others interpreting them simultaneously, others relaying those into other language, and still more others listening as though paying delegates. (We had all been asked to prepare four speeches, two in each of our A and B languages.)
After each speech we would gather and review each other’s performance and we had been provided with feedback guidelines.
Three days is a long time to spend doing stuff you always mean to get round to doing but never do!
It was bracing, it was a jolt. I was forced out of the comfort zone I had carefully constructed around my 63-year-old work habits and exposed my weaknesses in front of those scheming and vindictive people to whom I feel the most love and affection. This of course led me to overcompensate for this by asserting myself vigorously in the subsequent struggle sessions and I even went so far as to propose activities alternative to those on the program.
The net result however was unambiguously developmental. It laid bare and in detail many areas in which I need to improve; it led me (at least) to start thinking of various things I could do to improve my skills and these workshops.
Halfway through we started to record everything and although I have boxes of tapes of me (and others) working in the booth and court and police interviews going back years, who gets the time to sit around and analyse them? Not to mention with a bunch of like minded people all with highly pertinent comments to contribute. This was the true luxury, spend a whole week just talking about nouns, verbs and adjectives, and how best to arrange them so as to achieve a particular effect or outcome. So many perspectives and inputs, especially from other language groups like Spanish, Arabic and Chinese.
I had a great time and would have it again.
Some photo are down the bottom of our photo album:
copyright © Chris Poole Translation