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There are several analogies used in business related to military concepts, like 'blitz' or 'strategic alliance' Are there any that relate specifically to interpreting?

asked 14 Jun '16, 12:49

Grezm's gravatar image


I can't think of any. Businesses might want to take over their competitors, like a battalion would take over a hill... But we, as interpreters, are rarely in situations comparable to battles. Speakers might give us a hard time, but we're on the same team. Even our competitors are generally seen as coopetition, and we refer to them as colleagues, which tells a lot about the non-adversarial spirit.

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answered 16 Jun '16, 06:30

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

edited 16 Jun '16, 06:31

Thanks for the comment.

(16 Jun '16, 10:47) Grezm

As regards analogies relating to interpreters rather than interpreting, when I first explained to my older brother (officer in the Irish army) that I planned to train as an interpreter and what the work involved, he spontaneously said "oh, right, a liaison officer". More recently, the President of an international court said to me "I think of you (the interpreters) as being the (Royal) Engineers - essential to success". It's worth pointing out that the Engineers are highly regarded in the military and their motto is Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt (Where Duty and Glory lead), which I think is motivational.

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answered 16 Jun '16, 17:44

Olive's gravatar image


edited 17 Jun '16, 17:10

An unusual question. Perhaps a military messenger who coordinates the battle by delivering messages of others so the battle goes smoothly. Military communications?

Taking it to a higher level, you can think of martial arts. Interpretation is however a non adversarial exercise. This is a quote from my article about the topic: "Even the slow movements of tai chi, if done in lightning succession, can become lethal, but winning is not defined by sheer physical power. There is no notion of “enemy” in the traditional “Western” sense, no adversary or nemesis. The person you engage with is a partner, a kind of “mirror” that reflects your own state of mind as well as your errors and blunders. If two partners are evenly matched, the fight can continue forever through mechanical repetition of motions and previously learned movements. Partners serve as mirrors for each other; they teach each other and grow in mastery. The party that “wins”, however, introduces an element unexpected or unanticipated by his partner. It can be a move, a distracting gesture or an illusion, anything that breaks the other person’s concentration, his flow of meditation. His attention lapses and the final strike is made."

The full text is here:

So, think ninja: stealthy and lethal :-)

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answered 16 Jun '16, 23:28

Cyril%20Flerov's gravatar image

Cyril Flerov

If you really want a battle analogy, you can think of your boothmate as your ally, but then who is the enemy? It can alternatively be the speaker, the audio/video hardware, your brain, the air conditioner… but this makes no sense at all! Your brain, the hardware etc. are here to help you, and the speaker is not an opponent: sometimes, you find yourself struggling with their words, but you are never fighting against them. The real enemy is intangible: it is noise, ambiguity, confusion… Still, this analogy sounds somewhat silly…

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answered 19 Jun '16, 16:27

mflorian's gravatar image


edited 19 Jun '16, 16:31

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question asked: 14 Jun '16, 12:49

question was seen: 4,194 times

last updated: 19 Jun '16, 16:31 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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