I'm going to sit the EU accreditation test, but I know I'm not yet fast enough in sim. I was taught in my Masters to have a long decalage, especially from German, in which case I usually wait for the verb to come at the end of the sentence; that's why now I'm quite "slow", that is my delivery is generally 'shifted' one sentence after the original speech, which often results in less precision because I miss details on the way. When I did some dummy booth practice in the EU they told me that it's not ok to have such a long decalage and that I should forget what they taught me at school. One official told me that, to get faster, I should practice with the radio (or similar fast material) and try to keep up with the speaker's speed translating each word as fast as I can without worrying about the output. He wants me to be very very 'attached' to the speaker so to speak... The aim is that of acquiring faster reflexes and making it become "second nature". I'm following this suggestion and already see some (little) results; however, I was curious to hear other pieces of advice. What did you do, as students or young professionals, to speed up your sim? Do you have other suggestions?
Thank you in advance :D
asked 04 Oct '16, 14:53
I'd rather try the salami technique. Speeding up and translating only words but without focusing on the meaning, and sacrificing your rendition and elegance of the A language sounds very counter productive.
If you're lacking speed and have to wait for too long because of the German sentence structure, that seems to suggest difficulties in reformulating and splitting ideas. In which case, IMHO, you should be working on your rendition and increasing the flexibility you have in your target language, rather than doing the total opposite by translating words as they come but without seeing the bigger picture.
Bear in mind that the eloquence and the way you make use of your A language will just as much be under scrutiny as the precision of your interpreting.
Décalage is a quite complex concept and even if some people tend to have longer décalage than others, the main characteristic of décalage should be flexibility. Plus being able to have a long décalage is a good thing only if it's a strategic choice, and not because you're too slow in your comprehension or rendition. As pointed out by Gaspar, being able to be concise in your rendition is what makes you fast, so working on your A is probably the best solution. Make sure however that the problem does not come from your instant understanding of German. Do you have the issue with your other languages as well?
One of my teachers at University gave me an exercise that could also work for you. She called it the telegram and you'll understand why: find some very fast material (start with interviews on TV or radio, and when you feel comfortable switch to news programs), and interpret it by only using key words. The result should sound like an oral telegram (or the notes you would take in consec but said out loud). You should be able to understand the meaning only by listening to these keywords (don't forget to record yourself and listen to it afterwards). Once you're comfortable with that exercise, start adding more words to your rendition, and progress until you use full sentences.
answered 04 Oct '16, 15:53
Gaspar and Camille are right. The way you've been doing things won't work for long (even if it might for short simple sentences). Here's a description of the the salami technique in detail.
With German you are going to either have to create shorter sentences from the longer ones, and/or where necessary add neutral verbs to create them. Or anticipate the verb that you're waiting for. The Jones version of the technique is quite 'pure' in that it suggests always thinking and speaking in sentences. My experience is that many interpreters use the same technique but work in clauses or 'units of meaning'. It might go something like this...
In heutigen Zeiten mache ich mir sehr viele Sorgen – das will ich noch kurz sagen –, dass die technischen Entwicklungen, die unsere Gesellschaft massiv verändern, in einer solchen Geschwindigkeit voranschreiten, dass die politischen Verantwortungsträger kaum – um nicht zu sagen, wenn ich mich betrachte: nicht immer – mitkommen. (Speech by Merkel)
I'm very concerned these days - I have to say. Advances in technology are changing our society. And those advances are coming very fast. (And I'm concerned that...) They are coming so fast that politicians can hardly keep up.
So you chop it up and repeat things like 'advances' and 'concerned' in subsequent sentences so that it's still clear. Repetition is allowed! (The version I've suggested is not terribly elegant, but then neither is Merkel's original, for different reasons. She's filling her sentences with asides and clauses. I've got lots of slightly repetitive short sentences. A draw!)
answered 05 Oct '16, 08:17
I think there is also a psychological side to this ‘problem’. Of course there is the disponibilité linguistique component (D. Gile), but I believe that sometimes we tend to think so much about the problems we may have -or think we have, that we become obsessed, and that is precisely what clouds our minds when we are interpreting. And you gave a perfect example of this:
If you ask yourself that question while you are interpreting, you may miss the next sentence and probably a whole idea that you will not be able to render. So, in addition to all the precious advice that Gaspar, Camille and Andrew gave you already, I would suggest you don’t let your brain 'talk to you' while you are interpreting. Focus on the message, not on the words.
It is good and necessary that we be aware of our weak points, especially when we are preparing for a test, but don’t let the thought of them undermine your performance while you are working.
In bocca al lupo! ;)
answered 09 Oct '16, 07:29
Long decalage is a wrong advice. Decalage should be appropriate to the situation and language combination and a particular text. It has actually been found that shorter decalage is a sign of a better simul skill.
Source language segmentation first with written text
Shadowing of very fast texts
Exercises to develop faster speaking rates
Switching from text to meaning
answered 06 Nov '16, 23:08