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December 9, 2008 1 Comment »

“Just like a musician, an interpreter must have a keen ear for accents as well as a certain aptitude for languages,” states an article published this week in the Orlando Sentinel. The article is on the prosperous business of translations, which, according to the ATA spokesperson, is a 17 billion dollar-a-year industry worldwide.  The article highlights the work of Cuban Erik Camayd-Freixas, a simultaneous translator who has been the voice of the Hispanic community for televised events like George W. Bush’s declaration of war in Iraq, the Mass given by Pope Benedict XVI in Yankee Stadium and Barack Obama’s victory speech on election day. His deep voice, neutral inflection and precise enunciation have been keys to his success.
“When I’m interpreting, I can’t react. It has to look as natural as possible,” said Camayd-Freixas, who is also the Director of Florida International University’s Interpreting and Translation. The article also points out that one of the challenges in simultaneous translating is being able to express one’s self as if he were the speaker. After passing an audition, like an actor, an interpreter must then prepare for their part by studying related vocabulary and learning as much as possible about the topic to be discussed, as well as the person that he or she will be interpreting.
In the American Translators Association’s annual conference, ATA President Jiri Stejskal commented that one of the organization’s biggest challenges is “educating the public on the need for using professional translators and interpreters,” given that not doing so can leave a lot of things to chance.  “It does not matter if it’s a million dollar contract or a manual on medical equipment, a translation error can cost a lot of money, even a life, or as we’ve seen, the elections,”  said Kirk Anderson, association spokesman (See previous posts–  “Election Mistranslations and Mistakes” and “Fatal Mistakes”).

He went on to mention some of the words and phrases John McCain used in his campaign as examples, including “maverick” (res sin marca/ inconformista, disidente) and “You betcha” (puedes apostarlo), declaring that, while these do not have an exact translation and are very “English,” their Spanish versions did not have the same impact as the originals.

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One Response to “Interpreters”

  • Commented on January 8, 2010 at 11:06 am

    […] besides the language knowledge, will also have experience and training in the field. In a previous post Justin discussed the need to use professional interpreters, but… When is an interpreter […]