Quelques reflexions sur la “langue B”

Qu’est-ce que la langue ‘B’ ?

– Il faut d’abord préciser la nature, pour l’AIIC et les interprètes de conférence professionnels, de cette ‘langue B’. Il s’agit d’une langue active, capable d’être employée quant à moi en consécutive et en simultanée. Certains acceptent que la combinaison C > B peut ne pas être offerte, ou l’être seulement en consécutive, mais l’ avis personnel de l’auteur est qu’une langue active doit l’être à partir de toutes les autres langues de travail de l’interprète.

– En parlant ici de la langue ‘A’ dite ‘maternelle’, j’entends un niveau de langue hors du commun, car il ne suffit pas d’être ressortissant d’un pays et d’être d’une certaine expression linguistique pour prétendre maîtriser cette langue comme se le doit un interprète de conférence. Il s’en suit que certaines langues ‘B’ peuvent être supérieures, comme vecteurs d’expression, à une langue ‘A’ moyenne.

– N’oublions pas non plus que ‘biactif’ n’est pas synonyme de ‘bilingue’ ; les vrais bilingues (culturels, émotionnels, linguistiques..) sont très très rares, et ne sont pas forcément de bons interprètes du fait de leur seul bilinguisme. A titre d’exemple, sur le 39 interprètes permanents actuellement en exercice à l’OTAN, tous biactifs, 6 sont bilingues, soit ‘double A’ d’après les catégories AIIC.

– On rencontre aussi assez fréquemment le cas de figure de l’interprète en herbe qui ne possède pas de langue à proprement parler maternelle et qui, à la différence du bilinguisme auquel sa vie précédente a pu lui laisser croire, possède deux langues ‘B’, aucune n’étant maîtrisée au niveau requis chez l’interprète de conférence. En ce cas-ci, la carrière d’interprète de conférence n’est malheureusement pas une aspiration réaliste.

– Il est aussi possible de trouver des interprètes capables de travailler vers trois langues, mais il s’agit ici d’un phénomène des plus rares – je me méfie de la grande majorité des linguistes qui prétendent à de telles compétences, car elles sont le plus souvent synonymes d’une interprétation de qualité médiocre. Comme on le dit en anglais « Fools rush in where angels fear to tread ». Le vrai professionnel connaît ses limites…

– Il convient d’oublier ici toute notion de ‘retour dépannage’ tel qu’enseigné par les écoles belges, car celui-ci n’a pas lieu d’être, et dévalue à la fois l’interprète et sa profession. En clair, on doit pouvoir offrir une prestation professionnelle et de haute qualité, ou se taire…

– La langue ‘B’ telle que pratiquée au niveau le plus élevé en conférence (par exemple à l’OCDE, au Conseil de l’Europe, à l’OTAN, au sein des différents ministères nationaux..) est donc une deuxième langue dont la maîtrise se situe, grosso modo, à un niveau légèrement en-deçà de celui d’une langue maternelle d’interprète (entre disons 2% et 15%, il étant entendu que ce genre de mesure n’a que peu de sens). Cette langue se pratique à un très haut niveau de richesse et de souplesse, et qui dépasse sensiblement le niveau de langue du ressortissant lambda, même diplômé universitaire, du pays en question.

– En langue ‘B’ on peut accepter un léger accent étranger, du moment que celui-ci ne représente jamais une entrave à la compréhension. Un nombre très réduit d’erreurs (par exemple de genre dans les langues latines ou d’accent tonique en anglais) peut aussi être toléré, en fonction du contexte, car il ne s’agit pas ici d’une langue qui se prétend maternelle.

– Il est bien entendu impossible d’établir un pourcentage des langues ‘C’ que l’on peut envisager de convertir en langue ‘B’, mais il faut comprendre que, à la différence de la langue maternelle, une langue ‘B’ peut se fabriquer. En mon expérience de pédagogue de 18 ans, entre environ 15% et 20% des étudiants-interprètes pourraient à terme, une fois bien conseillés et bien guidés (et à force de travail acharné !), envisager le rajout d’une langue ‘B’ à leur combinaison.

Pourquoi vouloir se doter d’une deuxième langue active ?

Maintenant que nous savons plus ou moins ce qu’est une langue ‘B’, voyons un peu son utilité.

– Vous savez que, grosso modo, les interprètes de conférence professionnels se scindent en deux grandes catégories :

  • *  le profil dit « classique », où l’interprète possède une langue maternelle active, et un certain nombre de langues passives
  • *  le profil dit « biactif », où l’interprète possède deux langues actives et éventuellement un certain nombre de langues passives – Dans le monde d’aujourd’hui, où commerce et globalisation sont rois et se véhiculent par une version bâtarde et appauvrie de la langue anglaise, le temps est en permanence compté, les budgets serrés, et on se passera volontiers de l’interprétation là où c’est possible. Néanmoins, pour des raisons soit de technicité des rencontres, soit de nature davantage politique et de prestige, l’interprétation de conférence reste un métier prisé qui demeurera de mise là où une communication approfondie et subtile est nécessaire. – Le marché international desservi par les interprètes se scinde grosso modo en deux : le privé/commercial et l’étatique (gouvernements, organisations internationales..).
    Dans certains cas de figure devenus rares, il reste souhaitable de conserver une kyrielle de langues de travail et de rechercher donc des interprètes qui en possèdent au moins trois de manière passive ; on pense notamment ici, bien entendu, à l’Union Européenne et, dans une moindre mesure, à l’ONU.

Pour l’ensemble des autres secteurs où les hommes et les femmes sont appelés à dialoguer, le souci de la communication va de pair avec celui de la rentabilité, de la vitesse et de la mobilité ; tous ces facteurs concourent à rendre de plus en plus souhaitable le recours aux interprètes pratiquant l’aller-retour, soit la biactivité.

Il y a tout lieu de croire que le deuxième secteur s’étendra à l’avenir aux dépens du premier. Cette tendance est marquée au sein du marché privé/industriel; à Paris, Bruxelles et Genève, et même au Pays Bas pour ne citer que quelques exemples, la demande reste très importante pour des interprètes compétents (et ce mot a de l’importance !) offrant la combinaison français-anglais en biactif.

Dans les pays européens, ainsi que ceux de l’Afrique sub-saharienne ou au Canada (pour ne citer que quelques exemples), les entités étatiques telles que les Ministères cherchent également activement de bons interprètes de conférence offrant en langue active la langue du pays et, notamment, l’anglais.

– Donc, pour l’interprète qui possède deux langues à un très bon niveau (voir dessus), l’option biactive est attractive et prometteuse. Cet(te) interprète possède peut-être d’autres langues de manière passive, et rien n’empêche de conjuguer les deux modes, afin de se rendre attrayant et utile à un maximum de clients et de configurations de réunions. Par contre, pour celle ou celui qui ne peut offrir qu’une langue active ‘classique’ et deux ou même trois langues passives qui le sont tout autant, il y a peu de débouchés qui permettent de vivre uniquement de l’interprétation de conférence. Demeure l’option d’apprendre une autre langue ‘exotique’, mais comment savoir lesquelles sont et resteront porteuses, et comment trouver le temps de les maîtriser à un niveau convaincant, tout en gagnant sa vie ?

En conclusion, au sein de la tourmente des évolutions commerciales et politiques de ce monde, et malgré les fluctuations que vit de notre profession d’interprète de conférence, l’interprétation biactive de grande qualité (impliquant donc deux langues dont la qualité active est au-dessus de tout soupçon) devient de plus en plus une valeur sûre qui permet à ses pratiquants de vivre de leur art. Par contre, les pressions budgétaires étant ce qu’elles sont et les écoles d’interprètes continuant à fournir une relève qui fait plus que compenser, numériquement, les départs de la profession, la qualité est une condition sine qua non. Voilà pourquoi il est plus que souhaitable de se doter, en toute connaissance de cause et après mûre réflexion, d’une langue ‘B’ à toute épreuve, et qui force le respect des clients ainsi que des collègues.

Avant de passer à la section suivante, je pensais qu’il serait amusant et instructif d’illustrer mes arguments avec un petit échantillonnage aléatoire (et nullement scientifique, s’entend) de l’annuaire de l’AIIC, en ce qui concerne le pourcentage d’interprètes ayant une langue ‘B’.

Le taux global de langue ‘B’, sur un échantillon total de 360 interprètes AIIC, est de 57%.

Voici la ventilation par ville ou par pays : Bruxelles 36%, Genève 50%, Etats-Unis 60%, Royaume-Uni 62%, Autriche 65%, Canada 72%, Paris 82%

Quelles peuvent être les conditions de base pour entamer cet apprentissage de manière réaliste ?

– la langue ‘A’ est au-dessus de tout soupçon

– la première langue passive, que l’on veut transformer en langue ‘B’, Est déjà très bien maîtrisée

– l’accent étranger, dans cette langue, est faible ou inexistant

– l’interprète en question a vécu ou est prêt à vivre au moins une année dans un pays où cette langue est parlée comme première langue

– l’interprète est prêt à travailler de manière assidue, en cabine et en en-dehors, pour établir les automatismes neuronaux et linguistiques requis par sa nouvelle combinaison. Il s’agit de refaire en partie l’apprentissage de l’interprétation sans doute déjà accompli, ce qui requiert bien entendu des dizaines d’heures passées en cabine à rôder cette seule combinaison

Quelles ont les démarches à assurer et les pièges à éviter, une fois la décision prise d’opter pour le rajout d’une deuxième langue active ?

Il s’agit de renforcer cette langue, et le bagage socio-culturel qui va avec, jusqu’au niveau où un délégué de cette expression s’y retrouve dans votre production linguistique, et se sent en présence d’un interlocuteur qui le comprend à tous les niveaux, qui partage avec lui/elle le sens d’un milieu de vie et de société.

a) Voici quelques exercices à privilégier :

1)
Passer beaucoup d’heures, en cabine, à prendre en filature (‘shadowing’) un intervenant parlant bien la langue ciblée. Il s’agit d’employer des fichiers MP3, des cassettes, des CD où l’orateur s’exprime dans les cadences de sa langue maternelle, et la maîtrise bien entendu à un très bon niveau. En filature, vous répétez le discours de l’orateur sans en changer la langue. Ainsi, votre cerveau et votre bouche doivent apprendre inconsciemment à intégrer et à produire cette langue sans effort mental, et réflexivement, ce qui exige évidemment des dizaines d’heures d’entraînement.

En agissant de la sorte, l’appareil neuro-linguistique assure environ 80% des opérations impliquées dans l’interprétation simultanée (une synthèse de plusieurs études récentes menées par des chercheurs spécialisés), le seul élément manquant étant le transfert linguistique. Il s’agit donc d’un très bon exercice à plusieurs niveaux.
Pendant la prise en filature, vous pouvez travailler la longueur du recul et la faire varier, et insérer petit à petit des expressions de votre propre facture. Il convient avant tout d’assimiler en automatisme les cadences et le relief vocal de la langue ‘B’ ciblée.
Le but ici est de constituer dans votre cerveau de nouvelles trajectoires nueronales ; ceci est un apprentissage indispensable pour toute nouvelle combinaison linguistique. Le fait d’avoir maîtrisé la pratique de l’interprétation simultanée entre une première et une deuxième langue ne dispense aucunement de travailler longuement, à titre séparé, chaque nouvelle combinaison – le cerveau devra se modifier en fonction, ce qui n’est pas le travail d’un jour.
A cette fin, il est également important de s’entraîner, pendant le travail de filature, à occuper une autre partie du cerveau, en écrivant par exemple (tout en parlant) des séquences de numéros qui exigent de la réflexion : 3, 7, 11, 15, 19….. Employer des séquences de plus en plus complexes au fur et mesure de l’apprentissage.
En travaillant en filature, il est tout-à-fait possible de réduire un accent étranger éventuel de manière considérable.

2)
En matière d’accent, la filature peut faire beaucoup, bien qu’au moins un reliquat subsistera presque toujours, et n’est pas une contre-indication en soi (voir dessus). Il existe dans toutes les langues une poignée de sons (qui variera en fonction de la langue et du pays de l’apprenti-interprète) que l’étranger aura des difficultés à produire : en anglais le ‘th’ ou le ‘..aw’ ou bien les accents toniques (se méfier notamment du mot ‘development’ !), en français les ‘..ouille’, ‘..u’ ‘en’, ‘in’, ‘an’ ou ‘on’, par exemple. Savoir quelles sont vos lacunes à ce niveau, et attelez-vous à apprendre à reproduire ces sons sans erreur, en vous exerçant jusqu’à ce que l’automaticité s’installe.

3)
Pour commencer à mesurer votre aptitude croissante dans la langue ‘B’, vous devrez guetter le moment où votre production de cette langue se fait automatiquement sans erreur grossière d’accent, de grammaire ni de syntaxe. Une fois acquis la certitude que, même sans surveillance ni censure mentale de votre part, la production de la langue ‘B’ se fait sans encombre, votre cerveau pourra commencer à passer au traitement intellectuel des sujets abordés et à la transposition de la langue ‘A’ ou ‘C’ vers la langue ‘B’ .
Une nuance ici : n’entamer l’apprentissage de la combinaison C > B qu’une fois acquis celui en A > B.

4)
La langue maternelle étant constituée en grande partie pendant la scolarisation secondaire, il est essentiel de refaire cet apprentissage, manquant chez ceux qui ne sont pas de parfaits bilingues, dans la langue ‘B’ visée. Il s’agit d’apprendre les notions et surtout les vocabulaires de bases manquants, en géographie, histoire, chimie, maths, physique, histoire de l’art, littérature etc. etc. Il peut être utile d’acheter pour ce faire les manuels scolaires de la langue en question, qui existent au bon niveau de connaissance et de langue, et qui auront été compulsés à l’époque par vos délégués e cette expression.
L’expérience montre que les deux domaines les plus souvent lacunaires dans la langue ‘B’ sont ceux des noms géographiques et de l’histoire de l’art et des cultures. Potassez tout de suite vos atlas, car ces vocabulaires ne pardonnent pas !

5)
Une fois les progrès de base accomplis, il est capital de rester au courant, en temps réel et en permanence, des évolutions culturelles/sportives/sociales du premier pays où la langue ‘B’ est parlée. Les films, la télévision, les journaux sportifs seront ici des atouts précieux.

6)
Passer du temps, régulièrement et pour des périodes aussi longues que possible, dans le(s) pays où votre langue ‘B’ se parle, en privilégiant les visites de musées et d’expositions, ainsi que des manifestations sportives et des cultures jeunes.

Il est parfois possible d’organiser une année de travail dans l’un de ces pays, en offrant vos services d’interprète qualifié comme lecteur ou assistant de cours à une école d’interprétation du pays. C’est le scénario le plus favorable, dans la mesure où vous restez dans le milieu de l’interprétation, dans la langue et la culture étrangères. En outre, il est parfois possible de prévoir un arrangement de troc où, en échange des cours que vous donnerez, vous pourrez assister à d’autres cours et vous servir des installations d’interprétation.

7)
Se munir d’un petit cahier où vous consignerez systématiquement toute belle citation, expression, image ou autre locution que vous rencontrerez, et que vous guetterez, dans la langue ‘B’ en devenir. L’idée ici est de rehausser le niveau global de votre expression, en étendue et en profondeur, en y incorporant des milliers de mots et de membres de phrase. Ces locutions, vous les apprendrez par cœur pour qu’elles deviennent seconde nature ; vous pourrez ainsi, petit à petit, rejeter en interprétation le premier mot qui vous viendra à l’esprit, pour privilégier systématiquement le deuxième ou le troisième, d’un registre meilleur.

8)
Choisir un beau discours dans la langue visée (et s’il s’agit de l’anglais, choisir entre celui du Royaume-Uni et celui des Etats-Unis, ensuite s’y tenir de manière cohérente) et s’évertuer à en apprendre une phrase par jour, en se la répétant de vive voix, le nombre de fois qu’il faut, jusqu’à ce qu’elle coule de source. Ne s’arrêter que lorsque le discours entier sera rentré dans votre mémoire et conscience. De cette manière, vous commencerez à maîtriser la grammaire, les cadences, la syntaxe, enfin le génie de la langue.

b) Il existe des pièges à éviter lors de l’emploi d’une langue ‘B’, et qui guettent tout jeune interprète :

– faire très attention en matière de registre, car celui-ci ne peut être jaugé avec la finesse habituelle dans la deuxième langue active. Toujours opter pour une locution ou une expression légèrement moins familière, ou moins musclée, que l’original.

– privilégier des phrases et expressions simples, sans céder à la tentation de clairsemer son discours en langue ‘B’ de locutions complexes, vieillottes, familières ou autrement hors du commun. Dans tous ces cas, et notamment avec l’emploi de métaphores ou d’images, il est très rare de pouvoir manipuler la langue non-maternelle avec une précision suffisamment certaine. N’imaginez surtout pas que l’une ou l’autre phrase prétentieuse, consciencieusement apprise par cœur, réussira à relever le niveau global de votre discours – au contraire, elles ne serviront qu’à perpétrer autant de ruptures de style, et attirer ainsi l’attention du client sur la relative pauvreté de la langue parlée par l’interprète

– la règle d’or est la suivante: « Keep it simple, stupid ! » Manier la deuxième langue avec sobriété, clairvoyance et intelligence, en respectant à tout moment ses propres limites. De cette manière vous viendrez gonfler les rangs des interprètes de conférence compétents et professionnels, vous serez respecté(e) et comblé(e) dans l’exercice de votre métier et vous apporterez votre pierre à l’édifice d’un monde où la communication est là au service de l’essor des hommes…

Chris Guichot de Fortis
(mars 2007, actualisé en 2011)

Parallel texts PL-EN

On the pages Parallel texts EN-FR we looked at how reading newspaper articles about the same events/subjects in two languages offers to see see how similar ideas are expressed independently in two languages WITHOUT interference from the other language. 

Sometimes looking at a translation can also offer useful solutions to language problems, particularly for international treaties and since May 2004 for EU legislation. 

In the example below the Polish text of Council Directive 92/32/EEC is in the left hand column, the English text of the same Directive in the right hand column. Note how some constructions, which occur very frequently in such texts, and debates about such texts, are dealt with differently in the two languages. 

Thanks to David Walker for much of the hard work behind this page.

Example

Dyrektywa Rady 92/32/EWG z dnia 30 kwietnia 1992 r. zmieniająca po raz siódmy dyrektywę 67/548/EWG w sprawie1 zbliżenia przepisów ustawowych, wykonawczych i administracyjnych odnoszących się do klasyfikacji, pakowania i etykietowania substancji niebezpiecznych RADA WSPÓLNOT EUROPEJSKICH, uwzględniając2 Traktat ustanawiający Europejską Wspólnotę Gospodarczą, w szczególności jego art. 100a, uwzględniając wniosek Komisji [1], we współpracy z Parlamentem Europejskim [2],   uwzględniając opinię Komitetu Ekonomiczno-Społecznego [3], a także mając na uwadze3, co następuje: rozbieżności między przepisami ustawowymi, wykonawczymi i administracyjnymi dotyczącymi klasyfikacji, pakowania i etykietowania substancji niebezpiecznych oraz dotyczącymi zgłoszenia nowych substancji w Państwach Członkowskich mogą stanowić przeszkodę w handlu między Państwami Członkowskimi i stwarzać nierówne warunki konkurencji; rozbieżności te mają4 bezpośredni wpływ na funkcjonowanie rynku wewnętrznego i nie gwarantują takiego samego poziomu ochrony zdrowia publicznego i środowiska; środki dla zbliżania przepisów Państw Członkowskich, mające na celu ustanowienie i funkcjonowanie rynku wewnętrznego, mają za podstawę wysoki poziom ochrony, o tyle o ile dotyczą zdrowia, bezpieczeństwa i ochrony zdrowia człowieka i środowiska.    COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 92/32/EEC of 30 April 1992 amending for the seventh time Directive 67/548/EEC on1 the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES,   having regard to2 the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, and in particular Article 100a thereof, having regard to the proposal from the Commission (1), In cooperation with the European Parliament (2),  having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee (3),  whereas3 disparity between the laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances and to the notification of new substances in the Member States may lead to barriers to trade between Member States and create unequal conditions of competition;  whereas the disparity between these measures in the Member States has a direct impact on the functioning of the internal market and does not guarantee the same level of protection of public health and the environment; whereas measures for the approximation of the provisions of the Member States which have as their object the establishment and functioning of the internal market shall4, inasmuch as they concern health, safety and the protection of man and the environment, take as their basis a high level of protection;  

Comments on example

zmieniająca po raz siódmy dyrektywę 67/548/EWG w sprawieamending for the seventh time Directive 67/548/EEC on theThere are lots on awkward and wrong ways of rendering “w sprawie” in English!
uwzględniającHaving regard toNote that this expression is repeated in both languages but… 
a także mając na uwadze, co następuje:whereas …. this one is NOT repeated in Polish. This is going to difficult to spot for interpreters working out of Polish from speakers quoting these recitals…but forewarned is forearmed! 
mająshall,typical in legal texts, “shall” is rendered by a present tense verb and vice versa.

Parallel text FR-EN

Reading newspaper articles about the same events/subjects in newspapers of both your A and C languages offers you the chance to see how similar ideas are expressed independently in two languages without interference from the other language. This will be very useful in helping to avoid language interference (calque) when you interpret.

This activity and its usefulness in translation was first described in Vinay & Darbelnet’s seminal Comparative Stylistics of French and English (1.4.2 p44 )

Exercise

1. Find newspaper articles on the same subject in two or more different languages (one of which should be your mother tongue)
2. Highlight passages where the same information is conveyed in the different articles
3. Make a note of the equivalent versions for future reference
Gilets jaunes : le maintien de l’ordre à l’épreuve des blessés graves
Le nombre des blessés graves depuis le début du mouvement le 17 novembre dernier ouvre le débat sur la stratégie de maintien de l’ordre, et notamment l’usage du lanceur de balles (LBD) et des grenades GLI-F41 par les forces de l’ordre2.   Chaque samedi depuis l’ Acte I des Gilets jaunes8 le 17 novembre, qui a engendré une fronde inédite et de grandes violences, le nombre de blessés ne cesse de s’amplifier. Deux mille chez les manifestants, 1 000 parmi les forces de l’ordre selon le ministère de l’Intérieur. A l’IGPN, la « police des polices »3 saisie des enquêtes les plus graves, on dénombrait 81 procédures judiciaires au 15 janvier, dont 31 concernant des blessures graves. Parmi elles, 13 à la suite de tirs de lanceurs de balles de défense (LBD)4, 18 provoquées par des grenades GLI ou GMD ou par la force physique. Cette réalité judiciaire pourrait être en dessous de la réalité. La recension sur le réseau social Twitter par David Dufresne, un journaliste spécialiste du maintien de l’ordre, compte 308 signalements documentés par images, dont une centaine de blessés atteints à la tête. Parmi eux, une quinzaine de personnes ont perdu un œil. Il a également comptabilisé quatre mains arrachées5. Les blessures mutilantes6, quelle que soit l’issue judiciaire des enquêtes en cours, sont essentiellement causées par deux armes : d’une part le lanceur de balles de défense (LBD), qui tire des projectiles de caoutchouc de 40 mm7 de diamètre d’une portée de 10 à 40 mètres à la puissance de 160 joules, soit 10 fois la puissance d’un paintball, et d’autre part la grenade GLI-F4, qui contient 25 g de TNT.   Ces deux armes sont aujourd’hui en ligne de mire. Jeudi, Jacques Toubon, le Défenseur des Droits, a réitéré sa demande au gouvernement d’interdiction du LBD, un an après avoir remis un rapport à l’Assemblée nationale la préconisant déjà. Un rapport resté sans effet. « Le LBD est susceptible de blesser grièvement un manifestant, d’engager la responsabilité du tireur », écrivait-il. Quant à la grenade GLI-F4, un collectif d’avocats – dont Mes Raphaël Kempf, Aïnoha Pascual et Arié Alimi – tous défenseurs de blessés par cette grenade dite « assourdissante », a écrit en novembre au ministre de l’Intérieur pour exiger son retrait à cause des blessures irréversibles qu’elle peut engendrer.   …. « Quand le ministre de l’Intérieur Castaner parle, on a l’impression d’entendre le ministre des policiers, et non celui des citoyens. Il y a un défaut d’équilibre. Nous parlons de « maintien de l’ordre », alors que les Anglo-Saxons emploient le terme de « gestion de foule », ce qui n’engendre pas le même type de doctrine », poursuit Sébastian Roché.  
https://www.leparisien.fr/faits-divers/gilets-jaunes-le-maintien-de-l-ordre-a-l-epreuve-des-blesses-graves-18-01-2019-7991910.php  
French police weapons under scrutiny after gilets jaunes injuries – 30th Jan 2019  
The French government is under growing pressure to review police2 use of explosive weapons1 against civilians after serious injuries were reported during gilets jaunes street demonstrations, including people alleged to have lost eyes and to have had their hands and feet mutilated.   France’s legal advisory body, the council of state, will on Wednesday examine an urgent request by the French Human Rights League and the CGT trade union to ban police from using a form of rubber-bullet launcher4 in which ball-shaped projectiles are shot out of specialised handheld launchers. France’s rights ombudsman has long warned they are dangerous and carry “disproportionate risk”. Lawyers have also petitioned the government to ban so-called “sting-ball” grenades4, which contain 25g of TNT high-explosive. France is the only European country where crowd-control police2 use such powerful grenades, which deliver an explosion of small rubber balls7 that creates a stinging effect as well as launching an additional load of teargas. The grenades create a deafening effect that has been likened to the sound of an aircraft taking off. France’s centrist president, Emmanuel Macron, is facing renewed calls to ban such weapons after Jérôme Rodrigues, a high-profile member of the gilets jaunes (yellow vests)8 demonstrators was hit in the eye on Saturday in Paris. He is said by his lawyer to have been disabled for life. Rights groups say Rodrigues’s case is the tip of the iceberg. Lawyers estimate that as many as 17 people have lost an eye because of the police’s use of such weapons since the start of the street demonstrations, while at least three have lost their hands5 and others have been left with their face or limbs mutilated6. Injuries have happened at demonstrations in Paris and other cities, including Bordeaux and Nantes. Aïnoha Pascual, a Paris lawyer representing several of the injured people, including one person who had part of his hand ripped off, and another left partially deaf and with facial injuries, said never in recent history had so many serious injuries been seen during protests. She said using the sting-ball grenades was akin to using military weapons against a civilian population. “These weapons are a very real problem. In the 1980s, if one person was hit in the eye at a demonstration there would be a huge reaction, yet now there is no reaction from government.” Dominique, 54, a childcare worker from rural Normandy, described how she saw her sons seriously wounded. One of them had his hand ripped off by, she believes, a sting-ball grenade4 on the Champs Élysées in Paris in November during a family day out to support the gilets jaunes demonstrations…. The government has not commented on specific allegations or given any breakdown of injuries. The interior minister, Christophe Castaner, on Tuesday said only that 1,900 people had been injured in all circumstances since the start of the gilets jaunes demonstrations in November. Lawyers and journalists attempting to compile lists of police weapon injuries estimate at least 100 people have been wounded. A total of 101 investigations have been opened by France’s police watchdog3

  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/30/french-police-tactics-scrutiny-gilets-jaunes-injuries-paris?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Comments on the examples

lanceur de balles (LBD) et des grenades GLI-F41explosive weapons1These acronyms are familiar to French readers, not to English readers so the author takes a generic description
forces de l’ordre2police
crowd control police2
The terms are so different here the difference is mentioned in the article!
l’IGPN, la « police des polices3France’s police watchdog3The French explains an acronym familiar in France. The English drops it as irrelevant and leaves only the explanation.
lanceurs de balles de défense (LBD)4rubber-bullet launcher4
so-called “sting-ball” grenade4
The first EN is a paraphrase, the second a translation but requires inverted commas for English readers who will never have heard of it.
quatre mains arrachées5have lost their hands5This is more common in EN that « ripped off« which you see elsewhere in this article. 
blessures mutilantes6others have been left with their face or limbs mutilated6verb in English replaces the noun in French
qui tire des projectiles de caoutchouc de 40 mm7which deliver an explosion of small rubber balls7same thing described differently
Gilets jaunes8gilets jaunes (yellow vests)8transcoding + explanation

2 ideas for language acquisition

This text below is taken from the updated and expanded 2005 version of Conference Interpreting – A Students’ Companion by Andrew Gillies (see bibliography) and suggests some strategies for acquiring language at advanced level. It is reproduced with kind permission of Tertium, Cracow.

These two exercises are probably the single most rapid and effective way of expanding your active language skills that you will find. All you need is a little application.

3.5 Learn by heart, and practise reciting, 5-10 lines of well written text in your B language every day. Each day check that you still know all the previous days’ texts each day. This may sound ambitious but it won’t actually take more than 10 minutes and after a week you will find yourself using the new structures and expressions when you speak your B language. 

This exercise will contribute very quickly and effectively to expanding the active vocabulary of your B language by moving not only words but also entire structures instantaneously from your passive to your active knowledge of a language.[1]In a short time you will have large body of good quality language that can be recalled instantaneously. 

….. 

3.7 Learn off-by-heart and mimic 2 minute extracts from, interviews, speeches and stand-up comedians in your B language. Copy the speaker’s sentence intonation as well as pronunciation. Learn one per day and each day check that you still know all the previous days’ texts. 

This exercise will help you develop the correct sentence intonation and rhythm when speaking your B language. Both are very difficult to learn and often give away foreign speakers of English who otherwise have a very good cammand of the language. 

In addition learning extracts by heart will function as in 3.5, moving words, structures and here also intonation patterns directly from passive to active language knowledge. 

(Comedians are mentioned here because to sound really authentic you will have to feel like you are exaggerating the accent when you speak….but in fact it will not be as over the top as you think.)

Improving your C language

This answer was given to a question on the now defunct interpreting.info Q&A website by Andrew Gillies

What are the best methods to add a C language?

Different people learn differently of course, but my experience of learning Polish (as a C language) as an (EN A) adult suggests the following. (Subsitute any other languages, nationalities or countries for EN & PL as appropriate below.)

  • Learn most of the grammar and basic conversation BEFORE going to spend a long period in the country. (Going to the country in question before you can hold a conversation will mean you end up making friends who speak EN with you, not PL.)

To do this attend language classes once or twice a week but do most of your studying in your own time and at your own initiative. Work through a couple of school text books or learn Polish books in this time. The language lessons gave me motivation to study in my own time, even though I didn’t get much out of them per se. When I stopped going to class I stopped studying in my own time as well. Pay a Pole, not a teacher, to come and listen to you painfully and slowly try to string sentences together. (Students are cheaper than teachers, and the latter will explain everything whereas what you need is time trying to get it right yourself.) Approx. 2 years.

  • Start going to PL for extended stays, 1 month, 2 months Start reading authentic material. Newspapers are surprisingly easy, because you know the news in your own language and because they use a very limited range of language. PL school text books for Poles are good, eg Geography for 12 year olds. Approx. 1-2 years.
  • Go to Poland for 9-18 months. The longer the better. If you can, share a flat, or lodge, with PL speakers. Talking PL every breakfast time, and every evening, as well as having someone around to ask questions is simply invaluable.

Take up some activities that bring you into regular, talking, contact with PL speakers. (Scuba diving and football are not so great. Drinking, book clubs, office jobs and dating are quite good.)

Start reading all the newspapers all the way through, and the weekly current affairs magazines.

Watch a lot of TV and listen to talk radio every spare minute of the day. You don’t have to concentrate on it, just listen all the time. Catch up the 000’s of hours head start that native-speakers have on you. (Get a small portable radio & headphones for use when walking, commuting, ironing, cooking etc.) Talk radio has a nice combination of repetition of subjects and register, and variety of the same. You’ll get the most of the subjects talked about, and registers used, the most by the natives, but some of the rarer stuff as well.

Later in this year you can start reading the literature. Sit down with a Pole and watch the cult TV series and films. (You’ll need someone to explain why they are funny, cult, brilliant etc. Understanding the language is often not enough!)

  • when you think you’re ready to interpret from the language… …go back and spend another 6 months in the country!

Using register

There is always more than one way of saying something!! Be aware of the difference register can make to what you say, and be aware of which register you are using.

If you are interpreting into a foreign language, the correct use of a variety of registers will be one of the most difficult things for you to master. For practical purposes it will often come down to a choice of two registers (formal and less formal) for the non-native speaker.

Have a look at the examples below where you will find pairs of synonymous phrases in the left and right-hand columns. These examples are taken from David Walker’s excellent Committee Guide, a thematic and lexical handbook for interpreters working in the European Parliament.

actively considering thinking about it 
afford an opportunity give a chance 
and indeed and 
as matters stand the way things are 
at an early date soon 
at their earliest conveniencesoon 
bereft of without any 
brought fully to the attention take up with 
came to recognise realised 
carries with it involves 
conspicuous by its absence not there 
consonant with in keeping 
debarred from prevented 
decline their invitation say no 
have an opportunity be able 
don’t think it differs very markedly much the same 
drew a positive response was welcomed 
endeavouring trying 
express my gratitude thank 
far in excess of much more than 
have shown no indication don’t seem to 
fortified encouraged 
have other ideas disagree 
I am reminded I remember 
I have in my possession I have 
in readiness preparing for 
indicate a willingness say they will 
initiate urgent discussionsget on to 
it was for that reason that was why 
it’s my intention I intend 
likely patterns forecast 
little to tell them apart similar 
made statements said things 
make common cause join forces 
make alternative arrangements do something else 
make available provide 
make representations protest 
nigh on nearly 
no dearth plenty 
on day one of accession as soon as they join 
omits to mention doesn’t say
persist in efforts keep trying 
put a statement out issue a press release 
secure an accommodation get an agreement 
seek a response ask for a reply 
set them alongside compare 
7 or 8, no-one really knows 7 or 8 
should acquaint themselves find out about 
some but not all some 
taken in conjunction together with 
that puts one in mind that reminds me 
their phrase for how they describe 
therefore seeks leave to asks permission 
under debate being discussed 
use their best endeavours try their best 
we’re ad idem on we agree 
wishes to wants to 
would do well to ought to 

The link method of memory

Memory techniques are based on universally applicable principles governing what we can and cannot remember. It has very little to do with intelligence and a lot to do with practice and technique.

The text that follows is an excerpt and edited version of a chapter taken from „How to develop a super powered memory” Harry Lorayne. A Thomas and co. Preston 1958. This method of enhancing one’s ability to memorize items in sequence can be applied to both consecutive interpreting and vocabulary learning.

To read more about similar techniques just search Google or have a look at this article in the Guardian newspaper. The day I met the memory man. Instead of rooms in a building you can also use a familiar route, like home to work, but you will see that both are based on the memory’s preference for the visual.

For Language Acquisition….

It is a fact that images can be more easily remembered than words…try out the technique below. Take 4 or 5 sections of a technical picture dictionary from which you wish to learn terminology…pick successive words for the list from different sections of the dictionary and apply the link technique below to the words. It is possible to get 20 technical terms into your ACTIVE vocabulary in just 10 minutes each day.

For Consecutive….

This is a slightly unusual approach to consecutive and should probably only be uses as a complement to other memory aids, like notes. You will see here though that the human brain recalls images more easily that words and this can be usefully applied during consecutive interpreting. 

There are many memory techniques out there and whether they can be used in consecutive will depend to some extent on the individual interpreter. Try out the technique below..linking images ideas within your consec speech. 

The fundamental principles of how we remember apply and one of those is and will always be that if you understand what has been said it will be easier to remember!

The Link method of memory

I want to show you now that you can start immediately to remember as you’ve never remembered before. I don’t believe anyone with an untrained memory can possibly remember twenty unassociated items, in sequence, after hearing or seeing them only once. Even though you don’t believe it either, you will accomplish just that if you read and study this chapter. 

Here are the twenty items you will be able to remember. 

carpet, paper, bottle, bed, fish, chair, window, telephone, cigarette, nail, typewriter, shoe, microphone, pen, television, plate, doughnut, car, coffee pot, brick. 

Can you recall the twenty items in order now? 

The link method of memory is based on the combination of mental images. The images must be as ridiculous as possible. Let’s learn by doing. I shall explain no more about the method rather let’s try it out by creating twenty ridiculous images for these items. 

The first thing you have to do is get a picture of the first item, “carpet”, in your mind. Don’t see the word carpet but see a carpet, any carpet, perhaps own from your home. In order to remember the objects we are going to associate them with things you already know. Here the other items. 

To remember the second item, “paper”, you must associate or link it with paper. The association must be as ridiculous as possible. For example you might picture a carpet in your home made out of paper. See yourself walking on it and hear the paper crinkle underfoot. Alternatively you could picture yourself writing on a piece of carpet. Either of these will do. A piece of paper lying on a carpet, though, is not ridiculous enough and you will not remember it.

You must see this ridiculous picture in you mind. Close your eyes for a fraction of a second, as soon as you have seen the picture you can move on. Do not see the words.

So now the thing you already know or remember is “paper”, the next step then is to link paper to the next item, “bottle”. You can stop thinking about carpet entirely know. Make an entirely new ridiculous link between bottle and paper. You might see yourself reading an enormous bottle or writing on a gigantic bottle instead of paper. You could see a bottle pouring paper not liquid. Pick whichever seems most ridiculous to you and see it in your mind’s eye. 

You must see the picture. Don’t think long about which picture, the first idea is usually the best one. 

We have linked carpet to paper, and then paper to bottle. We now come to the next item, which is “bed”. Make a ridiculous association between bottle and bed. A bottle lying on bed would be too logical. So picture yourself yourself sleeping in a large bottle instead of a bed, or perhaps taking a drink from a bed instead of a bottle. See either of these pictures and then stop thinking of it. 

You realize that we are linking one object to the next of course. The next item is fish. See a giant fish sleeping in your bed or a bed made out of a giant fish. See the picture you think is most ridiculous. 

Now “fish” and “chair”. See a gigantic fish sitting on a chair. Or you are catching chairs instead of fish while fishing. 

Chair and window – see yourself sitting on a pane of glass, which is painful, instead of a chair or see yourself throwing chairs through a closed window. See the picture and move on. 

Window and Telephone – see yourself answering the phone, but when you put it to your ear, it’s not a phone you’re holding but a window. Or, you might see your window as a large telephone dial. See the one you think is most ridiculous and move on. 

Telephone and Cigarette – you’re smoking a telephone instead of a cigarette; or you’re holding a large cigarette to your ear and talking to it instead of a phone. Alternatively you might see yourself picking up the phone and cigarettes flying out of the ear-piece.

Cigarette and nail – you’re smoking a nail; or hammering a lit cigarette into the wall instead of a nail. 

Nail and Typewriter – you’re hammering a gigantic nail through your typewriter, or all the keys are nails, pricking your fingers as you type. 

Typewriter and shoe – see yourself wearing typewriters instead of shoes or see a large shoe with keys on that you’re typing on. 

Shoe and microphone – you’re wearing microphones instead of shoes or you’re broadcasting into a large shoe. 

Microphone and pen – you’re writing with a microphone or you’re talking into a giant pen. 

Pen and TV – see a million pens gushing out of the TV or there’s a screen in an enormous pen you’re watching TV on it. 

TV and plate – picture your TV as one of your kitchen plates or see yourself eating out of the TV instead of a plate, or you’re watching a TV show on your plate as you eat.

Plate and doughnut – see yourself biting into a doughnut, but it cracks in your mouth because it’s a plate. Or, picture being served dinner in a doughnut instead of on a plate. 

Doughnut and car – you might see a large doughnut driving a car or you are driving a doughnut instead of a car.

Car and coffee pot – a large coffee pot is driving a car or you’re driving a coffee pot instead of a car. Alternatively picture a car on your sideboard with coffee percolating in it. 

Coffee pot and brick – see yourself pouring coffee from a brick or see bricks pouring out of the spout of the coffee pot. 

That’s it. If you have actually “seen” these mental pictures in your mind’s eye then you will have no trouble remembering the twenty items in sequence, from “carpet” to “brick”. Of course it takes much longer to explain this than to do it – each picture 

Now starting with carpet go through the list without the help of the book. 

Unbelievable? Yes but it works as you can see. Try making your own list and memorizing them in the same way. 

Of course we are brought up to think logically and I am asking you to think illogically which may be a problem at first, however after just a little practice you will have no problem at all in creating ridiculous pictures. Until then here are some simple rules to help…… 

1. Picture items out of proportion. In other words too large. This is why I used the word “gigantic” often above – to get you to imagine the items out of proportion.
2. Picture you items in action whenever possible. Unfortunately it is the violent and embarrassing things we all remember rather than the pleasant ones. Anyone who has been in an accident or been acutely embarrassed doesn’t need memory training to recall it so try to get violent action into you images. 
3.Exaggerate the amount of items. For example above I talked about “millions” of cigarettes flying out of the telephone. If you had also seen them lit and burning your face you would have had action and exaggeration. 
4. Substitute your items. This is the one I use most often. It is simply picturing one item instead of another i.e. smoking a nail instead of a cigarette. 

That’s it. The link method boils down to this: associate the first item with the second, the second to the third, the third to the fourth and so on. Make your association as ridiculous and/or as illogical as possible and most important SEE the pictures in your mind’s eye.

You can now try out the technique on friends or with shopping lists. If you have trouble recalling the first item then associate with a the friend testing your skills, if you have trouble recalling other items then the link was not illogical enough.

What you have memorized will be easily retrievable for hours or days. Also you will be able to recall the list backwards with no extra effort.

Perfectionnement linguistique (ESIT)

Quelques conseils librement inspirés de la brochure de l’ESIT : Comment perfectionner ses connaissances linguistiques (ESIT 1984-1995-1998) Compiled and contributed by Jean-Jacques Pedussaud.

PERFECTIONNEMENT LINGUISTIQUE

Langue A 

LECTURE 

1. lire des textes littéraires (roman, poésie, théâtre) 

2. lire la presse (dont obligatoirement, chaque jour, UN article sur un sujet qui a priori vous rebute !) 

3. rester critique vis-a-vis de la langue employée dans les médias ; etre un lecteur vigilant, a l’affut de l’inattendu, mais aussi des erreurs ; de meme, etre un locuteur et auditeur vigilant : faire la chasse a ses propres erreurs ou a ses tics de langage (nous en avons tous…). 

ÉCRITURE 

4. écrire pour soi-meme (journal intime) et a autrui (courrier, méls). 

5. pratiquer des exercices langagiers écrits (exercices de style a la Raymond Queneau ; imitation d’un modele) 

PRODUCTION ORALE 

6. dresser des comptes rendus a l’oral de choses entendues ou lues (se faire corriger si possible par un autre locuteur natif : a défaut, s’enregistrer et se réécouter d’une oreille critique, en recommençant au besoin). 

7. pratiquer des exercices langagiers oraux (exercices de style, exercices d’imitation : cf. activité écrite 5 ; memes conseils que pour activité 6). 

COMPRÉHENSION ORALE

Par définition, la COMPRÉHENSION ORALE ne doit pas poser de probleme en langue A ! 

Langue B (français) 

COMPRÉHENSION ORALE 

8. pratiquer l’écoute attentive de la radio, de la télévision, de films en VO, d’enregistrements audio ou vidéo, de discours et d’interviews sur internet. 

COMPRÉHENSION ÉCRITE 

9. lire attentivement textes littéraires et presse (cf. activités 20 & 21), rechercher (internet, dictionnaires unilingues, encyclopédies…) ET NOTER dans un carnet le sens des expressions inconnues. 

EXPRESSION ORALE 

10. discussion sur un sujet donné avec un interlocuteur natif qui vous écoutera en prenant des notes pour vous corriger a la fin : il relevera les erreurs, mais SURTOUT proposera des formulations correctes, avec beaucoup de synonymes => donc trouver un locuteur A fiable. 

11. SHADOWING de la radio ou de la télévision (cad répétition du message a l’identique, avec une ou deux secondes de décalage). Attention : cet exercice ne prépare pas a l’interprétation simultanée. Il vise seulement a améliorer le débit et la fluidité ainsi que la fidélité phonologique et intonative. 

12. Compte-rendu oral (d’un texte ou d’un message oral) avec REPRISE A L’IDENTIQUE d’expressions issues de l’original (peut tout a fait s’associer a l’exercice 8 ou 9). 

13. PARAPHRASER oralement un message initial écrit ou oral (peut s’associer aux activités 8 ou 9), cad reformuler en s’obligeant cette fois-ci a NE PAS utiliser les memes expressions que l’original. NB : c’est une excellente préparation a l’interprétation (méthode). Attention toutefois a ne pas mélanger perfectionnement linguistique et interprétation…

14. Lecture a haute voix (on peut s’enregistrer, se réécouter, et recommencer en corrigeant les erreurs phonologiques que l’on aura relevées. Attention toutefois au perfectionnisme mortifere !). 

15. Apprendre par coeur un paragraphe argumentatif a la fois (tiré d’un essai ou article de presse), voire un poeme, un passage de roman ou de piece de théâtre. Le réciter ou le noter par écrit de mémoire. Vérifier la fidélité. Recommencer jusqu’a mémorisation parfaite, avant d’apprendre un nouveau passage. 

EXPRESSION ÉCRITE

16. Compte-rendu écrit avec REPRISE d’expressions issues de l’original (cf. activité 11) 

17. Compte-rendu écrit avec PARAPHRASE SYSTÉMATIQUE (cad expressions systématiquement différentes de celles employées dans l’original — cf. activité 12) 

18. Écrire sur un sujet imposé (un paragraphe sur tel ou tel theme). 

19. Écriture personnelle (journal intime) ou courrier. 

LEXIQUE 

20. Noter tous les faits de langue qui vous frappent au fil de la journée (lectures, conversations, informations a la radio ou a la télévision…), notamment les expressions que vous n’emploieriez pas spontanément, dans un petit carnet que vous aurez sur vous EN PERMANENCE (cf. activité 9). Les réemployer ensuite dans la mesure du possible dans les activités d’expression (10 a 19). 

21. Chaque jour, lire attentivement UN article et relever tous les mots et expressions que vous n’auriez pas utilisés spontanément (y consacrer environ 1/4 d’heure par jour). Les réemployer ensuite dans les activités d’expression écrite ou orale (10 a 19).

Language acquisition (Daniel Gile)

This extract is taken from pages 213-225 of Daniel Gile‘s excellent “Basic Concepts and Models for Interpreter and Translator training”, 1995, and is reproduced here without the kind permission of Benjamins of Amsterdam.

Basic Concepts and Models for Interpreter and Translator training 1995. Benjamins

3. The Gravitational Model of linguistic availability 

The exercises described above deal mainly with the active component of language mastery. Moreover, because of time constraints, they only involve a small part of the relevant vocabulary. When students are told to spend some time in a foreign country or to read for linguistic enhancement, they are generally not gi’ven detailed instructions on how to proceed. They are therefore often inefficient in their endeavors because their progress is left to chance. The Gravitational Model provides a conceptual framework for comprehension of phenomena and assessment of learning strategies. 

3.1 The baseline 

Student interpreters who are admitted into interpretation schools do have a “good knowledge” of all their working languages, although this knowledge is more often than not inferior to theoretical requirements as defined in section 1 of this chapter. Their initial level of language proficiency’ includes good command of basic rules of grammar, which are few in number (not more than a few hundred, depending on the language), although students may make occasional mistakes, especially due to interference from other working lan­guages and to high processing capacity requirements during interpretation. Lexical command, however, is highly variable. This is not surprising in view of the fact that an educated person’s vocabulary consists of several tens of thousands to more than a hundred thousand different words (see Aitchison 1987: 5-8). A small fraction of this vocabulary is encountered daily and a larger proportion rarely, depending on the individual’s living environment and professional and personal activities (see section 3.7). 

3.1.1 The lexical component 

In international conferences, speakers select their own words and language structures on the basis of choices determined by the grammar of the language concerned. Because of the relatively small number of rules involved, at least in the types of discourse heard in international conferences, speakers tend to use the same structures, except for some rare poetic or literary speeches. These structures are also familiar to interpreters. Lexical choices are much wider, however, and word preferences tend to vary. Hence significant lexical prob­lems, in terms of both comprehension and retrieval from long-term memory for speech production. It is important to note that in view of the extremely large and ever-increasing number of technical terms used in conferences, the lexical issue (in its terminological subset) remains important throughout a conference interpreter’s career.

More specifically, two types of lexical comprehension problems can arise in interpretation: 

Incoming source-language words are unknown to the interpreter, who therefore needs to perform a contextual and phonological and/or morpho­logical and/or etymological analysis in order to understand them. The analysis may result in full, partial, or no understanding. 

Incoming source-language words are known to the, interpreter, but are not familiar enough to be understood immediately and spontaneously, that is, fast enough and without conscious effort (see chapter 4). and their mean­ing may be misinterpreted. 

Similarly, two types of lexical production problems can occur in interpreta­tion: 

The target-language word required to express a concept is unknown to the interpreter, who therefore has to resort to another term or to a paraphrase. 

The required word is known to the interpreter, but is not available enough, that is, it does not surface fast enough or easily enough.

3.1.2 The syntactic component 

On the syntactic side, similar problems arise:

In comprehension, there should theoretically be no syntactic rules un­known to the interpreter in a working language. However, the speed of comprehension may vary, depending on knowledge of the language’s transitional probabilities (the probability that a certain type of word or group of words will be followed by another given type of word or group of words). 

In production, interpreters also know all the syntactic rules necessary to express themselves. but there may be significant differences in the avail­abilin, of these: it may take the interpreter more or less time and effort to make the appropriate syntactic decisions to start, continue., or finish sentences. 

3.2 The interpreter’s position as a speech producer and listener

In both comprehension and production, these problems are associated with an increase in protessing capacity and time requirements, which, as shown in the Effort Models M chapter 7, may lead to serious impairment of interpretation quality; hence t,~e importance of availability. This point is critically important, because a number of factors make speech production and speech comprehen­sion more difficult under conference interpretation conditions than in everyday life. 

3.2.1 Listeners and interpreters As explained in chapter 7, interpreters are generally in a position less favorable to comprehension than are listeners in most usual situations. 

In particular, during interpretation, attention-sharing reduces the capacity available for speech comprehension, and interference between between source language and target language also makes comprehension more difficult. 

The interpreter’s effort is therefore more intense than the delegates’ while it lasts; it is also longer lasting, since interpreters cannot rest as long as they are interpreting, while delegates may spend much of their listening time at a low level of attention. 

3.2.2 Speech producers and interpreters In simultaneous interpreting, the interference issue is more problematic in production than in comprehension. It requires an additional prevention and control effort (see inter alia Dejean Le Feal 1978 and Lederer 1981 a), which is another difficulty faced by interpreters and not by ordinary speakers. 

One point made earlier about interpreters’ position as listeners also ap­plies to their position as speakers: speakers in conferences talk about subjects they are familiar with, use terms that are part of their daily professional life, and often give a presentation they have prepared with ideas they have thought about carefully for hours, days, or even months or years; the interpreter knows less about the situation and the subject, and is also less familiar with the specialized terms and the speaker’s ideas. 

On the other hand, interpreters are professional speakers, and public speaking is part of their professional everyday life. Many conference partici­pants only rarely speak in public and are not used to the exercise. Moreover, interpreters use by definition working languages they know well, which is not always the case of speakers. Except for some stage fright, which interpreters learn to overcome with experience, they are generally not subjected to the same pressures as many speakers, who may have much at stake when they take the floor. There are cases where stage fright is strong for interpreters as well­important summit conferences, live interpretation on television, consecutive interpretation before a large audience-but these are generally not regular working conditions; when they are, interpreters develop more tolerance for the stress involved. 

Last but not least, technically sp eaking interpreters do not have to per­form the same speech-planning operations as speaker, since they follow the 

speaker’s speech. Not only do they not have to think about what ideas to express and in what order, or what linguistic style and register to use, but even syntactically and lexically they can often follow the speaker’s lead (which has both positive and negative implications, as discussed in section 2.2 of chapter 7).

It follows that on the whole, contrary to comprehension, which may be considered easier for the delegate most of the time, production may be either easier or more difficult for the interpreter, depending on the particular circum­stances. If for example the speaker is experienced, using his or her native tongue, speaking on a subject he or she knows well, and expressing well­rehearsed ideas, and if he or she takes the floor without much to gain or to lose, it may be assumed that the interpreter’s production task is more difficult. If, however, the speaker is taking part in an international conference for the first time, using a language he or she does not know very well, speaks on a subject he or she is not very familiar with, has not had time to prepare the presentation thoroughly, and knows his or her future may depend on the speech, his or her task can be more difficult than the interpreter’s. 

3.3 The Gravitational Model of linguistic availability In view of the importance of the lexical component of language skills in interpretation, an essentially lexicon-oriented model of language proficiency was developed. However, the Model is also applicable to syntactic and other linguistic rules. The Model represents the status of an individual’s oral or written command of a language at a particular point in time and in particular circumstances, by describing the relative availabiliy of lexical units and linguistic rules. 

The Model consists of a variable part and an invariable part. The latter refers to language elements the availability of which is assumed to be constant or to vary very slowly. This applies to the most basic rules of grammar (basic conjugations, the formation of plurals, etc.) and to a small number of the most frequently used words in the language. The variable part is larger by several orders of magnitude, as it includes at least dozens of rules and many thousands of words and idioms. 

In the diagram (Figure 1), the invariable part is represented by a Nucleus. The variable part is made of Words and Rules revolving on Orbits around the Nucleus. The term Words (capitalized) refers to lexical units such as individual words and idioms, as well as to frequently used phrases (“Thank you, Mister Chairman” and “Mister Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen” are typical exam­ples). Rules are all the linguistic rules that apply when words are selected, modified, and combined when linguistic utterances are constructed. Because of the general nature and intended didactic use of the Model in the classroom, I do not consider it useful to define Words and Rules further: the Model deals with tens of thousands of words and the general dynamics of the System rather than with precise, quantitative rules, and is used to character ize the interpret­ers’ language skills and requirements rather than measure them. If the Model is to be used for lexicometric purposes, Words and Rules { hereinafter Words ) will have to be defined more precisely, depending on the particular study it is used for.

Orbits represent various degrees of availability of the Words: the more distant an Orbit is from the Nucleus, the more processing capacity and the more time are required to access Words on that Orbit. 

Orbits belong to one of two concentric areas: the Active Zone, directly around the Nucleus, and the Passive Zone, which surrounds the Active Zone. The Active Zone is composed of Words which are available to the speaker (or writer) for Text production. The closer the Orbit is to the Nucleus, the easier and quicker the Words it carries are available to the speaker. The Passive Zone is composed of Words which the speaker understands, but which are not available for speech production. The closer an Orbit is to the Active Zone (and to the Nucleus), the faster and easier the comprehension of the Words on it. 

The distinction between the Active Zone and the Passive Zone may seem artificial, if only because active Words can generally also be understood and because any Word that has been understood can also be repeated, and can therefore be considered “active.” However, the dual System is helpful in representing dynamic trends of Words as outlined below, and can be quite accurate in representing situations in which there are Words which can be understood if used by another speaker, but are not available for expression. This may for instance be the case of Words that the subject has not learned, but can understand when they are first encountered because of their morphology or their similarity to Words he or she does know in another language (see the discussion of the Escort Effect in section 3.4). Another ease is that of Words which the speaker knows, but is reluctant to use for one reason or another. He or she: may not be sure that the Word is appropriate for the particular situation as regards style, level of politeness, etc.; may not be sure of the precise meaning of the Word; may fear that the Word that comes to mind is a faux ami (`false friend’, i.e. an unwanted intruder from another language which looks similar to a Word in the language intended to be used).

The Model or System as a whole thus represents the full set of Words and Rules available to a subject for comprehension and/or active use at a given point in time. When the focus of interest is a subject’s command of words in a given field, say technical, scientific, or literary, a Sector can be defined by way of two straight segments going from the Nucleus to the most distant Orbit in the Passive Zone (see Figure 1). A Sector thus accounts for the full set of Words available to the subject for comprehension and/or active use in a particular field or in a thematic subset of the total System. 

Alternatively, one may be interested in a subset of the Words available to the subject within a certain range of processing capacity values. For example, those Words which are highly available, that is, in the innermost Orbits in the Active and/or Passive Zones, are the most relevant ones in interpreting, as explained in section 3.5. 

3.4 Dynamics of the Gravitational Model

As mentioned above, any given Model is a snapshot of the situation for a given individual at a given point in time under given circumstances, although aver­age values may theoretically be computed for a whole population or for an individual over a period of time. A very important feature of lexical and syntactic availability is its dynamic nature: Words are learned, become more or less available, are forgotten. These dynamics can be described by a small set of rules. 

These rules were derived intuitively, from observation. Some are sup­ported by psycholinguistic studies, which are quoted in the following sections, but many have not been tested empirically. Moreover, no quantitative assess­ment of their actual manifestation in linguistic performance seems to be available. They are therefore only presented here as trends, to be used for explanatory purposes and to support the selection of linguistic enhancement strategies as explained below. 

Rule 1: The Centrifugal Principle 

IF NOT STIMULATED, WORDS AND RULES TEND TO DRIFT OUTWARD (AWAY FROM THE CENTER OF THE SYSTEM). 

What is meant by stimulation here is either active use in speech or writing, or passive exposure, when words and rules are heard or read (and identified) by the subject. 

Rule 1 refers to the phenomenon that when Words are not used, they tend to become less active (if in the Active Zone), then become passive only, then less available as passive entities, and then disappear from the subject’s System. Though no precise quantitative assessments can be made, the process is generally rather slow. Under ordinary conditions, it may take months or years for a Word to be forgotten. In a speaker with a good command of the language, the process is much slower for Rules than for Words (one- reason being that they are much smaller in number, and most of them are stimulated much more frequently). 

A corollary of this rule is that, all other things being equal, the more recently a Word or Rule has been acquired, the closer in it is (see Matthei and Roeper 1985: 184). The reason is that the Centrifugal Effect has had less time to act on recently acquired entities. 

Rule 2: The Centripetal Effect of stimulation 

WHEN USED, WORDS AND RULES TEND TO MOVE INWARD. 

When a Word or Rule is heard or read (passive stimulation), or used by the subject in oral discourse or in a written text (active stimulation), it becomes more available for passive and/or active use. This migration is very rapid as compared to the centrifugal effect: a newly learned Word can become very active within minutes. On the other hand, it is quite possible that the outward migration of Words which migrated inward rapidly is faster than that of Words that became more available in a long, slow process. This sequence, comprising a rapid centripetal progression followed by a slower centrifugal migration, is often found in terminological preparation for conferences: interpreters achieve within hours or even minutes high active and passive availability for technical terms they had never encountered before; this lasts for the duration of the conference, after which they may forget these terms in a few days to a few weeks. 

Rule 3: Stimulation frequency and the Centripetal Effect 

THE MORE FREQUENTLY WORDS AND RULES ARE USED, THE STRONGER THE CEN­TRIPETAL EFFECT. 

Words used very frequently tend to become more available than Words or Rules used less frequently. 

I have found no direct description of this process in the literature, but the dependency between frequency of stimulation and ease of perception is well documented, with statements to the effect that: 

the frequency of occurrence of a word in a language affects the time it takes to gain access to that word in the mental lexicon (Matthei and Roeper 1985: 182); 

frequently used words are perceived more easily and read more rapidly (Miller 1956: 272-273); 

word frequency plays an important role in coding and decoding (Leeson 1975: 116); 

rare words are “more difficult to process” (Clark and Clark 1977: 56); 

the more frequent a linguistic element, the more “deeply it is rooted in the psyche of the individual and the community” (Mahmoudian 1982: 189). 

However, frequency of stimulation should not be regarded as the only impor­tant factor affecting the Centripetal Effect. In particular, automatic repetition without a context and without cognitive operations does not appear to be very efficient. It seems that some processing has to be involved for the Centripetal Effect to occur, as is the case in actual comprehension or production circum­stances. It is also possible that there are particular repetition intervals that produce the strongest Centripetal Effect, rather than an ever-increasing repeti­tion frequency. Nevertheless, for practical purposes in the context of linguistic skill enhancement for interpretation purposes, the frequency-in-context rule seems to be the best approximation. (See, for example, a study reported by Biderman and Ravazzi 1984, in which the frequency of word repetition was found to be a very strong predictor of memorization in students.) 

Rule 4: The Centripetal Effect of active vs. passive stimulation 

ACTIVE STIMULATION OF A WORD OR RULE HAS A STRONGER CENTRIPETAL EFFECT THAN PASSIVE STIMULATION. 

Using a Word or Rule when speaking or writing pushes it more strongly toward the Nucleus than reading or hearing and decoding it. This rule is well known in foreign language teaching and provides justification for the numer­ous active drill exercises in language classes. Combined with Rule 5, it has strong implications in professional practice, as explained in section 3.7. 

Rule S: The Escort Effect and Interference Effect 

THE CENTRIPETAL MIGRATION OF A WORD OR RULE GENERATES THE CENTRIPETAL MIGRATION OF OTHER WORDS OR RULES ASSOCIATED WITH IT. 

When a word becomes more available, other words that sound or look similar, or that have been associated with it psychologically (through a learning situation, an emotional situation, etc.) also tend to become more available. The phenomenon is also noted in the linguistic literature (see Costermans 1980: 20). This rule is very important with respect to both lexical acquisition and lexical maintenance: it suggests that although the initial acquisition of one particular Word may take some time and repeated active or passive stimula­tion, the initial acquisition of other Words closely related to it (for instance grammatical variations thereof, or other Words having the same etymological root) will be much faster; it also suggests that the use of one Word will not only push it toward the Nucleus or slow down its centrifugal drift, but will also have a similar effect on other Words associated with it. 

Another important fact is that the Escort Effect crosses interlinguistic boundaries. For instance, in the group that escorts the inward migration of the French Word “controleur”, one can expect to find Words such as the English “control” and “controller”, the German “Kontrolle ” and “kontrollieren “, etc. In particular, the Escort Effect accounts for the comparative speed at which adults can learn foreign languages, especially as regards scientific and techni­cal Words, which often have common roots in each family of languages. Conversely, it also explains why persons who have achieved a high level of proficiency in a language related to their own in a very short time may struggle for years with an unrelated language and show relatively little progress (see Gile 198$b for the case of Japanese learned by a Westerner). 

The negative side of the Escort Effect is linguistic interference, already mentioned several times in this volume: linguistic interference may induce the interpreter or translator to use a Word incorrectly as regards its meaning or connotation; to distort its meaning, sound, or spelling; or even to use a Word from the wrong language in the middle of a speech or text. For instance, in the ongoing experiment mentioned in section 1 of chapter 7, one interpreter translated “They think you’re stupid or you’re foolish” (third example given in section 1) into “ils peuvent penser que vous etes stupide ou fou” (stupid or insane). The error is most probably due to the phonetic similarity between “foolish” and ` fou”. 

Interference phenomena in interpretation and translation are not the same as in foreign language learning. Conference interpreters and professional high­level translators, are well-educated individuals with a very good command of their working languages. Furthermore, by training, they are very much aware of the dangers of linguistic interference and constantly endeavor to avoid it. It follows that although some gross interference may occasionally be found in the booth or in translations, most of it is subtler and less salient. In particular, what might be called silent interference may be frequent and is very difficult to detect. Silent interference, as defined here, is interference not manifest through a visible, significant alteration of the lexical or syntactic output in the target language. It can involve some slowing down of speech production due to increased processing associated with the filtering out of possible interfering language Words and Rules. It can also narrow the range of Words and Rules used by speakers, as they are eliminating those which they suspect may be due to interference. Silent interference is difficult to detect not only because its symptoms are not very salient, but also because other factors may induce similar phenomena. For instance, according to Meier 1964 (quoted by Hormann 1972), lexical restriction occurs under stress. Finally, anti-interfer­ence control as it is practiced by professionals during interpreting undoubtedly increases the processing capacity requirements of the production component, and may induce more fatigue and related effects (see chapter 7) that are difficult to ascribe directly to linguistic interference. 

3.5 The Gravitational Model and interpretation An obvious requirement of interpreters is that they have enough Words, in both the Active and the Passive Zones, to comprehend and produce speech in a conference situation. With respect to standard general language, this condi­tion is, at least theoretically, always met in competent conference interpreters. Problems may arise in nonstandard general language (regional dialects, slang, etc.), literary language, or specialized language. The latter category is particu­larly important, as it makes up much of the vocabulary of conferences and cannot be learned once and for all, both because of its extent (hundreds of thousands to more than a million lexical units in each language in the various scientific and technical fields), and because it is constantly changing (see chapter 6). 

Second, since interpretation is performed under heavy time pressure, only highly available Words are useful. As a rule, Words encountered occasionally and understood or available for speech production only after a comparatively large amount of processing (which may only take a second or a fraction of a second, but still involves a significantly longer process than the retrieval of highly available Words) cannot be used in interpretation, as they may take up valuable processing capacity and time and dead to serious problems i see ) chapter 7 ,. 

This means that interpreters in the booth do not use a11 their vocabulary, but only a elevant sub of the Words they know. This in turn may lead to further polarization of their System as compared to that of an ordinary speaker: in both the Active Zone and the Passive Zone, a number of highly available Words may be maintained in close Orbits by frequent stimulation, while the number of Words of medium availability is smaller than in an ordinary speaker (because most Words are either pushed inward by frequent repetition because they are relevant, or drift away because they are not used often enough ); and the number of low-availability words may be somewhat higher m the inter­preter than in the ordinary speaker. 

This polarization may not be very significant in the language of the country the interpreter lives in, because in that language, the environment offers natural and balanced stimulation similar to that which non-interpreters are exposed to. In a working language not spoken in the interpreter’s country of residence, however, the phenomenon may be more significant. Some inter­preters who are known to have a solid B language in the booth seem to use only basic vocabulary plus technical terms in that language (for the time being, this remains an impression, as it has not been investigated empirically). Beyond the professionally relevant Sector of their vocabulary, the availability of Words, and even the knowledge of Words in such individuals, may be significantly lower than what could be expected from educated adults displaying an appar­ently good command of the language while interpreting. 

The relevance of Words to the needs of interpreting is an important question, in terms of both initial vocabulary acquisition and maintenance. Although there are countless glossaries of technical terms, no study of the basic non-technical vocabulary used in conferences has ever been published. Interpreters reading books, newspapers, and magazines in non-native working languages with which they seem to have no difficulty in the interpreting booth, do encounter words unknown to them but familiar to native speakers. This suggests that the theoretical requirements for native-like command of working languages may be highly exaggerated, on the one hand, and non-optimized on the other: an ordinary native-like System (a native-like System not specifically representing the case of conference interpreters) may contain a significant proportion of Words which are not useful in interpretation, while useful Words may not be available enough. This also has some implications for language acquisition and maintenance methods, as explained in section 3.7. 

Another important point is that linguistic availability for written language is generally not the same as availability for oral language. The two systems are obviously correlated, both because they reflect the same root language and because of the Escort Effect between them, but: 

The vocabulary and Rules of written language differ from those of spoken language. Differences are more or less marked depending on the language and on the verbal habits of the speaker, as a function of sociolinguistic factors (professional occupation, socio-economic class, etc.). This means that Words are not stimulated equally in the oral and written Systems, depending on their relative frequency in spoken vs. written language. 

Word recognition in speeches is based on sound, while Word recognition in texts is based on images (although mental sound reconstruction may be involved in visual recognition and vice versa). In languages having a phonetic writing system, this may not have a very strong effect. In languages using ideograms and pictograms, however, the situation is quite different, because the association between meaning, visual aspect, and sound is not as strong. In particular, in Japanese it is possible to understand written words without knowing how to pronounce them. Thus the Escort Effect may play no role in the stimulation of the oral System from passive exposure in the written system, which is one of the reasons for the rather slow progress of Japanese vocabulary acquisition for oral use in a foreign learner (as discussed in Gile 1988b). 

Another characteristic feature of the vocabulary of conference interpreters is the richness and high volatility of its technical component: interpreters en­counter and use many thousands of technical terms in the course of their careers at a rate of a few dozen to a few hundred at each conference. Subjects cover an extremely wide range of human activities, virtually limitless: no activity is theoretically excluded if it involves people who do not speak the same language but want to communicate, provided some money is available to pay for the service. It follows that interpreters have a much wider technical vocabulary than most individuals, but with a large volatile component, as technical terms tend to be forgotten rather rapidly (which may be due to infrequent stimulation because of the long intervals between conferences on the same subject).

(Read an update on the Effort and Gravitational Models by Daniel Gile here)