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A Look into Who is Talking in Simultaneous Conference Interpreting: A Look into Who is Talking in Simultaneous Conference Interpreting: The relationship.

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Presentation on theme: "A Look into Who is Talking in Simultaneous Conference Interpreting: A Look into Who is Talking in Simultaneous Conference Interpreting: The relationship."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Look into Who is Talking in Simultaneous Conference Interpreting: A Look into Who is Talking in Simultaneous Conference Interpreting: The relationship between the speaker and the interpreter in the interpreted utterance

2 Research on SI Overarching emphasis on cognitive and psycholinguistic aspects Overarching emphasis on cognitive and psycholinguistic aspects Relatively few research on real-life interpreting contexts Relatively few research on real-life interpreting contexts

3 My analysis: 1. What we say – broader socio-cultural context 2. What we do – actual interpreting behaviour

4 Broader socio-cultural context What kind of a relation is expected/foregrounded/desired between the speaker and interpreter? Which aspects of SI are deemed more desirable, correct, appropriate and ethical?

5 Broader socio-cultural context (Re-)presentation of the profession(al) by the - general reference books - media - professional organisations - academia - interpreters themselves

6 Dictionaries interpret : 1. if you interpret what someone says or does in a particular way, you decide that this is its meaning or significance. 2. if you interpret a novel, dream, result, etc., you give an explanation of what it means. 3. if you interpret a work of art such as a piece of music, a play, a dance, etc., you perform it in a particular way, especially a way that shows your feelings about it. 4. if you interpret what someone is saying, you translate it immediately into another language, so that speakers of that language can understand” ( The Collins Co-Build Dictionary of English Language 1987:763 ).

7 Dictionaries interpreter: 1. a person who repeats what someone else is saying by translating it immediately into another language so that other people can understand it. 2. a person who explains the meaning or significance of something. 3. a person who performs a work of art in a particular way, especially a way that shows the performer’s feelings about it” (ibid: 764).

8 De-contextualised Discourse (dictionaries) Emphasis on: loyalty to the original WORD loyalty to the original WORD transparency (non-presence) of the interpreter transparency (non-presence) of the interpreter objectivity of the delivery objectivity of the delivery

9 Encyclopedia (entries by interpreters) “The conference interpreter is required to listen and speak at the same time, preserving an between the two modes” (The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language 1987:349) “The conference interpreter is required to listen and speak at the same time, preserving an exact semantic correspondence between the two modes” (The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language 1987:349)

10 Encyclopedia “The goal of conference interpretation is a relatively smooth presentation of the of the message, with the interpreter extracting the ideas from the oral discourse and them in another language” “The goal of conference interpretation is a relatively smooth presentation of the cognitive content of the message, with the interpreter extracting the ideas from the oral discourse and reproducing them in another language” (The Encyclopedia of Language and Literature 1994: 1732).

11 De-contextualised discourse (encyclopedia) Loyalty to the original MEANING rather than 'words' Loyalty to the original MEANING rather than 'words' Objectivity and transparency of the interpreter Objectivity and transparency of the interpreter

12 Professional organisations “To interpret is first and foremost to understand the intended message perfectly. It can then be detached from the words used to convey it in the original and reconstituted, in all its subtlety, in the words of the target language” (AIIC’s website) “To interpret is first and foremost to understand the intended message perfectly. It can then be detached from the words used to convey it in the original and reconstituted, in all its subtlety, in the words of the target language” (AIIC’s website)

13 Professional organisations “To interpret a speech is not to translate it word for word. To interpret a speech is to transfer its semantic, connotative and aesthetic content” (AIIC's website). “To interpret a speech is not to translate it word for word. To interpret a speech is to transfer its semantic, connotative and aesthetic content” (AIIC's website).

14 Academia “Interpretation is not a direct conversion of the linguistic meaning of the SL to the TL, but a conversion from source language to sense. The intermediate link here is nonverbal thought, which, once consciously grasped, can then be expressed in any language regardless of the words used in the original language” (Seleskovitch 1977)

15 Academia “ To catch and carry the meaning to the target language, interpreters have to filter it in their brains. In that filter, redundant words are eliminated and the essential is selected” (Atasoy 1997:201) “ To catch and carry the meaning to the target language, interpreters have to filter it in their brains. In that filter, redundant words are eliminated and the essential is selected” (Atasoy 1997:201)

16 Academia “The conference interpreter must be able to provide an exact reproduction of the original speech. Deviation from the letter of the original is permissible only if it enhances the audience’s understanding of the speaker’s meaning” ( Jones 1998:5) ( Jones 1998:5)

17 Media on interpreters “ Imagine you are giving a speech in a conference where, as you utter the first syllable, your words are interpreted into eight languages. Nice and virtuous ladies who smoke fags inside the booths interpret every sentence you say letter for letter into English, French, Greek...” (Milliyet 1995) “ Imagine you are giving a speech in a conference where, as you utter the first syllable, your words are interpreted into eight languages. Nice and virtuous ladies who smoke fags inside the booths interpret every sentence you say letter for letter into English, French, Greek...” (Milliyet 1995)

18 Media on interpreters “Interpreters carry a tremendous responsibility: Is it easy to bear the responsibility of interpreting the words of a speaker simultaneously and without making any errors during a very important meeting? (Milliyet 1989) “Interpreters carry a tremendous responsibility: Is it easy to bear the responsibility of interpreting the words of a speaker simultaneously and without making any errors during a very important meeting? (Milliyet 1989)

19 Media on interpreters Emphasis on: – loyalty to the original word, even letter – non-presence of the interpreter in the interpretation

20 Interpreters to the media “Conference interpreting is the exact transfer of an idea from one language to another. I’m saying ‘idea’ here because conference interpreters are not parrots who only translate whatever words they hear” (TRT 2, 1995) “Conference interpreting is the exact transfer of an idea from one language to another. I’m saying ‘idea’ here because conference interpreters are not parrots who only translate whatever words they hear” (TRT 2, 1995)

21 Interpreters to the media “Conference interpreting is the maximum transfer of ideas voiced in one language to another. While the interpreter does this, s/he takes over the task of the speaker. (Cumhuriyet, 1989) “Conference interpreting is the maximum transfer of ideas voiced in one language to another. While the interpreter does this, s/he takes over the task of the speaker. (Cumhuriyet, 1989)

22 Interpreters to the media “A good written translator is someone who knows the most crucial words. Yet, oral translation always involves an interpretation, the difference is there in the name of the tasks” (Metis Çeviri 1988) “A good written translator is someone who knows the most crucial words. Yet, oral translation always involves an interpretation, the difference is there in the name of the tasks” (Metis Çeviri 1988)

23 Interpreters to the media “You cannot allow even the smallest deviation or the smallest intervention in the message... You are making an interpretation, but the message must come across exactly. You must give a correct rendition all the time. Precision and the transfer of the message are a must” (ibid). “You cannot allow even the smallest deviation or the smallest intervention in the message... You are making an interpretation, but the message must come across exactly. You must give a correct rendition all the time. Precision and the transfer of the message are a must” (ibid).

24 Interpreters to the media (decontextualised) Emphasis on : – the 'interpretation' in interpreting. But also on – 'absolute fidelity to the original meaning'.

25 Interpreters to the media When asked to tell stories from real-life experience, interpreters recount moments of active involvement: When asked to tell stories from real-life experience, interpreters recount moments of active involvement:

26 Interpreters to the media (anecdotes) - “I once had to rephrase a parliamentarian because otherwise people would think the interpretation was bad” - “I once had to rephrase a parliamentarian because otherwise people would think the interpretation was bad” - “At a Council meeting, we were expected to interpret an Ozbek minister, and it was too late when we realised that Ozbek and Turkish had very little to do with each other, so we made up half of his speech” (TRT interview)

27 Books by interpreters (decontextualised) “'You are an electronic device' our teacher used to say. While simultaneous interpreters transfer the utterances of the speakers, they cannot add even the shadow of their own existence, thoughts and beliefs” (Çorakçı 1991: 29) “'You are an electronic device' our teacher used to say. While simultaneous interpreters transfer the utterances of the speakers, they cannot add even the shadow of their own existence, thoughts and beliefs” (Çorakçı 1991: 29)

28 Books (de-contextualised) “Sometimes conference organizers come and say 'Don't interpret these, we are losing face in front of our foreign guests'. The interpreters will disappoint them because their task requires them to interpret. They are a device. An electronic device (ibid)” “Sometimes conference organizers come and say 'Don't interpret these, we are losing face in front of our foreign guests'. The interpreters will disappoint them because their task requires them to interpret. They are a device. An electronic device (ibid)”

29 Books (decontextualised) “We name our profession 'simultaneous translation' in Turkish, but in the western languages, there is a nuance there. They say 'Simultaneous Interpreter'. All oral translators are called 'interpreters', that is, a commentator” (ibid). “We name our profession 'simultaneous translation' in Turkish, but in the western languages, there is a nuance there. They say 'Simultaneous Interpreter'. All oral translators are called 'interpreters', that is, a commentator” (ibid).

30 Books (anecdotes) Nuran (an interpreter) goes to the French booth and suggests to the foreign interpreter there “If you want, I can interpret directly from Turkish into French”. Nuran (an interpreter) goes to the French booth and suggests to the foreign interpreter there “If you want, I can interpret directly from Turkish into French”. The lady likes the idea and says “Please come in”. Nuran takes a seat and puts on the headset. The sound is not too good anyway so Nuran fills in the gaps she cannot hear and finishes interpreting when the lady turns to her and says “That was a great speech you gave”. The lady likes the idea and says “Please come in”. Nuran takes a seat and puts on the headset. The sound is not too good anyway so Nuran fills in the gaps she cannot hear and finishes interpreting when the lady turns to her and says “That was a great speech you gave”. (cont'd) (cont'd)

31 Books (anecdotes) “Oh! I just said what he said” says Nuran in an attempt to avoid the situation, but the lady knowingly shakes her finger and adds “Oh no! We listened to the other speech this person gave last night. We know exactly how he speaks”. “Oh! I just said what he said” says Nuran in an attempt to avoid the situation, but the lady knowingly shakes her finger and adds “Oh no! We listened to the other speech this person gave last night. We know exactly how he speaks”. Some people (mistakenly) call our profession 'spontaneous interpretation'. Maybe the type of interpretation Nuran made that day could indeed be labeled 'spontaneous interpretation' (ibid)

32 Summary Main theme in the discourse on conference interpreting is LOYALTY

33 LOYALTY 1. loyalty to word in de-contextualized accounts by outsiders 2. loyalty to meaning in contextualized accounts by insiders

34 De-contextualised / outsiders  Interpreters as non-entities in the delivery by virtue of their professionalism  Delivery as a site reserved for the speaker ONLY (Interpreter's I = Speaker's I)

35 De-contextualised / insiders Unique in emphasizing the INTERPRETATION in INTERPRETING

36 Contextualised / insiders ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT of the interpreters of the interpreters in shaping the delivery

37 Until now we looked at what we say on interpreting Now let us look at what we do when interpreting...

38 Corpus Transcripts of a 2-day conference on politics and philosophy 2 interpreters (Turkish-English)

39 Original speech (floor) Speaker:...I don't know if I've answered your question. Participant: (inaudible remarks) Speaker: But I mean that Merleau-Ponty has written on these subjects and his early death left his work unfinished. Chairman: Okay, one last question. Participant: (inaudible remarks)

40 Interpretation (booth) “I don't know if I've answered your question (inaudible remarks) but I mean that Merleau- Ponty has unfortunately we cannot interpret because the speaker speaking from the floor is not using a microphone. But says Mr. Onay, Merleau-Ponty has written on these topics and his early death has left his work inco unfinished. Uh, many of Merleau-Ponty's expressions have been taken by Derrida but you know that better than I” * “I don't know if I've answered your question (inaudible remarks) but I mean that Merleau- Ponty has unfortunately we cannot interpret because the speaker speaking from the floor is not using a microphone. But says Mr. Onay, Merleau-Ponty has written on these topics and his early death has left his work inco unfinished. Uh, many of Merleau-Ponty's expressions have been taken by Derrida but you know that better than I” * *my translation into English

41 Pöchhacker (1994) referred to the shifts between the interpreter's and speaker's voice and called the delivery a 'VOICE-OVER' text. Pöchhacker (1994) referred to the shifts between the interpreter's and speaker's voice and called the delivery a 'VOICE-OVER' text.

42 My data revealed further COMPLEXITY and MULTIPLICITY of 'SPEAKER-POSITIONS' My data revealed further COMPLEXITY and MULTIPLICITY of 'SPEAKER-POSITIONS' Leading me to analyse the SHIFTS IN THE 'SPEAKING SUBJECT' (1 st person singular) IN THE DELIVERY (X56) Leading me to analyse the SHIFTS IN THE 'SPEAKING SUBJECT' (1 st person singular) IN THE DELIVERY (X56)

43 Apologies Floor (my translation): “Da-Sein implicates Being in the wo im im implicates excuse me in other words…The full significance of these thoughts becomes apparent with the Master course he gave on Being and Time ” “Da-Sein implicates Being in the wo im im implicates excuse me in other words…The full significance of these thoughts becomes apparent with the Master course he gave on Being and Time ”Booth: “…he has acknowledged its ecstatic opening to being- in-the-world the speaker apologizes and starts again in other words...The full meaning of these assumptions comes directly from the start I'm sorry this thought starts right after the masters course” “…he has acknowledged its ecstatic opening to being- in-the-world the speaker apologizes and starts again in other words...The full meaning of these assumptions comes directly from the start I'm sorry this thought starts right after the masters course”

44 Apologies Floor: “…we could say that the political actor sorry partial actor which is always…” Booth (my translation): “ …If we take public opinion's sorry claim into account sorry let me put it this way the partial actor all actors uh. already sorry the partial actor…”

45 Apologies Floor: Floor: “In a fragment edited in nineteen hundred, eighteenhundred, excuse me, Hölderlin says that...” “In a fragment edited in nineteen hundred, eighteenhundred, excuse me, Hölderlin says that...” Booth (my translation): Booth (my translation): “In nine nineteen uh. the speaker corrects herself, in eighteenhundred...” “In nine nineteen uh. the speaker corrects herself, in eighteenhundred...”

46 Mistakes Floor: Floor: “Well uh. Mr. Barash didn't leave me anything more to say but I want uh. to express my thanks to the participants uh. for their impatience, for their (inaudible remarks) impatience in general. We have overpassed (inaudible remarks) impatience with time (further remarks from audience)” “Well uh. Mr. Barash didn't leave me anything more to say but I want uh. to express my thanks to the participants uh. for their impatience, for their (inaudible remarks) impatience in general. We have overpassed (inaudible remarks) impatience with time (further remarks from audience)”

47 Mistakes Booth (my translation): Booth (my translation): “...Professor Barash did not really leave much to say but I too would like to thank the participants for their patience. That was a slip of the tongue, I said impatience but I had meant patience. With a lot of patience, you tolerated us...” “...Professor Barash did not really leave much to say but I too would like to thank the participants for their patience. That was a slip of the tongue, I said impatience but I had meant patience. With a lot of patience, you tolerated us...”

48 Overlapping/semi-verbal speech on the floor Floor: Floor: Participant://I agree. I hadn't thought of that... Participant://I agree. I hadn't thought of that... Speaker://Yes, I find it very illuminating also... Speaker://Yes, I find it very illuminating also... Booth (my translation): Booth (my translation): Interpreter:I agree. Uh. I think this special relationship is very illuminating says Professor Barash.... Interpreter:I agree. Uh. I think this special relationship is very illuminating says Professor Barash....

49 Problems with sound transmission Floor: A:... we have to think in terms of plurality B: // in terms of? B: // in terms of? A: //Plurality C://Pluralité Delivery (my translation): “...you have to think in terms of a plurality, plurality, the speaker cannot hear, uh. this dialogue...”

50 Problems with sound transmission Delivery (my translation): “...I don't know if I've answered your second question unfortunately we cannot interpret because the speaker speaking from the floor is not using a microphone...One last question If they talk from there, we cannot interpret. Please warn them. They have to come to the microphone, otherwise they cannot be interpreted into Turkish…” “...I don't know if I've answered your second question unfortunately we cannot interpret because the speaker speaking from the floor is not using a microphone...One last question If they talk from there, we cannot interpret. Please warn them. They have to come to the microphone, otherwise they cannot be interpreted into Turkish…”

51 Use of non-conference language Floor: “...In one of Hölderlin's verses where he says 'Ein Zeichen sind wir Deutungslos und haben fast die Sprache verloren' he contin he says in another hymn, we are a sign but without signification...” “...In one of Hölderlin's verses where he says 'Ein Zeichen sind wir Deutungslos und haben fast die Sprache verloren' he contin he says in another hymn, we are a sign but without signification...”

52 Use of non-conference language Delivery (my translation): “...Hölderlin says unfortunately its in German, I cannot interpret so he says we are a symbol without the possibility of interpretation...” “...Hölderlin says unfortunately its in German, I cannot interpret so he says we are a symbol without the possibility of interpretation...”

53 Accusations of misinterpretation Participant 1:In your speech you mentioned about 'second life'. You probably wanted to bring in 'reincarnation'... Speaker: I didn't say 'second life' but 'second birth' maybe there was a mis... P1:You used the expression 'second life', that's what I'm referring to. S:I didn't say 'second life'. P1:That's how the translation came probably S:That's how the translation came

54 Accusations of misinterpretation (Booth) Interpreter A: A moment ago, you talked about a 'second life'. Perhaps you talked about 'reincarnation' here. Will you please talk about this? This is not the 'second life'. I said 'second birth'. You used the word 'second life'. This is not true. The translators very clearly said 'second birth'. This is misperception. Arendt talks about.... A moment ago, you talked about a 'second life'. Perhaps you talked about 'reincarnation' here. Will you please talk about this? This is not the 'second life'. I said 'second birth'. You used the word 'second life'. This is not true. The translators very clearly said 'second birth'. This is misperception. Arendt talks about....

55 Accusations of misinterpretation P 2:...Your speech was not critical enough. You said politics and philosophy are the same. S:I don't understand how such conclusions can be drawn from my speech. I said they're like the sides of a coin. P2:In the tranlsation, there was no such distinction. Just so that you know. S:The translation may be wrong. As the owner of the text, I'm telling you the real translation* (*sudden laughter among English speakers, interaction breaks. The speaker perplexed, turns to the chairman and says “Did I say something wrong?”) (*sudden laughter among English speakers, interaction breaks. The speaker perplexed, turns to the chairman and says “Did I say something wrong?”)

56 Accusations of misinterpretation Interpreter A: “...I don't understand how you can draw such conclusions from my presentation. I said they're the two sides of a coin. The translation may be wrong. Of course it is always the fault of the translator. Yes! I did use expressly the word 'madalyonun iki yuzu' which means the 'two sides of a coin' in Turkish. Oh my God! * (* sudden laughter and then comments among English speakers) (* sudden laughter and then comments among English speakers)

57 Shifts in the 'speaking subject' Apologies of interpreters/speakers Apologies of interpreters/speakers Mistakes of interpreters/speakers Mistakes of interpreters/speakers Overlapping or inaudible interaction on the floor Overlapping or inaudible interaction on the floor Problems with sound transmission Problems with sound transmission Ambiguous or contradictory input on the floor Ambiguous or contradictory input on the floor References in a non-conference language References in a non-conference language Accusations of misinterpretation Accusations of misinterpretation

58 According to meta-discourse, there is room only for one single speaker in the delivery: Interpreter speaking as the speaker (Interpreter's 'I' = Speaker's 'I')

59 Multiple speaking-positions in the delivery 1. Interpreter assumes the speaker’s ‘I’. 2. Interpreter assumes the speaker-position indirectly, reporting, paraphrasing or inserting brief remarks. 3. Interpreter assumes the speaker-position implicitly, blending personal remarks into what looks like the speaker’s I. 4. Interpreter assumes the speaker position explicitly, inserting personal remarks and comments with his/her 'I'.

60 Conclusions 1- De-contextualised discourse claims 1 st person singular in the delivery = 1 st person singular on the floor 1 st person singular in the delivery = 1 st person singular on the floor 2. Contextualised accounts (anecdotes) suggest active involvement of the interpreter.

61 3. My corpus suggests MULTIPLICITY OF SPEAKER-POSITIONS in the delivery (i.e., ‘hybridity’ of the interpreted utterance) 4. Speaker-positions REGULATED AND (RE)PRESENTED BY THE INTERPRETER

62 5 - VULNERABILITY in assuming an alien 'I' 6 - STRENGTH in regulating the 'speaking subject' according to context.

63 7 - In contrast to claims of complete identification with the speaker and the intended meaning, indications of a complex co-presence in real-life situations.

64 Interpreter is an active agent of communication and a major decision-maker who negotiates a discursive representation of the speaker in TL in relation to his/her understanding of the source utterance, social expectations, and various cognitive and socio-cultural constraints.


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