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I was offered a volunteer opportunity for Mandarin > EN, Cantonese > EN, and FR > EN with a research project at my university. However, I'm an undergraduate and thus have no proper training in interpretation. Even though it seems to be a very low-pressure, casual assignment, I was curious whether this might be bad idea (ie, learning bad habits or something).

When I was still in high school in Hong Kong, I interpreted a few times (Mandarin > FR and Cantonese > FR) for a visiting student and a few times I've done Cantonese/Mandarin>EN for my mum. Clearly I have very limited experience and this makes me nervous.

asked 14 Sep '12, 13:52

charlielee's gravatar image


edited 15 Sep '12, 03:02

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Just to clarify, the assignment is interpreting one-on-one for a PhD student needing help communicating with her subjects. So there won't be any long speeches, just questions and answers.

(14 Sep '12, 14:15) charlielee

Are you starting or finishing your training? If starting I'd say it might well be best to decline, if you're already past the two-thirds mark and if everything is above board, ie if all insterested parties are aware of your circumstances, it might be a valuable experience :-). Make sure you're teamed up with an experienced colleague though, it would not be fair on anyone (and you'd be missing out on a further learning opportunity, to boot) to have but students - or even beginners for that matter - in the booth. You mention four languages, make sure the manning strenght (and working hours, etc) is what it should be.

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answered 14 Sep '12, 14:26

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ahh, just read you rejoinder: in this case, ie a solo assignment, I rather think you should decline.

(14 Sep '12, 14:29) msr

I'm an undergrad still a couple years from applying to interpretation schools.

(14 Sep '12, 14:30) charlielee

Ah, I see. Thank you for your help!

(14 Sep '12, 15:00) charlielee
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question asked: 14 Sep '12, 13:52

question was seen: 6,798 times

last updated: 14 Sep '12, 15:00

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