On this page you will find a brief introduction to some of the more useful texts published on consecutive interpreting. This page is work in progress, so if you have found something you think should be here drop us a line.
Conference Interpreting – a student’s practice book
Put together by senior UN intepreter James Nolan, offers some good strategies for simultaneous interpreting and interesting exercises to practise the same strategies. You will need Fr, En and Es in your combination to use all the examples though. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 are most useful.
The following has been taken from James Nolan’s recent publication, Interpretation: Techniques and Exercises. In it James demonstrates that the order in which elements of information appear in the original need not be the the same in the interpretation and that in this way the interpreter can create a certain amount of room for manoeuvre for themselves. This freedom can be used to relieve the strain on your memory, free up processing space and/or help create a more stylish final product.
This passage is reproduced without the permission of James’ publisher.
Chapter 5 General Adverbial Clauses
A general adverbial clause modifies the main verb in the sentence. It is often used to set the scene for the rest of the sentence. The following two examples are taken from a speech made by the representative of Belarus at the 48th session of the UN General Assembly. First is a translation following the original phrasing or structure, then the official English translation as it appeared in the UN Official Records after being interpreted and edited.
Let us take a look at this experience and potential in those areas which, as is widely recognized and attested to even by this current debate, have become very important for preserving world peace and security.
Official English version:
Let us take a look at this experience and potential in those areas which have become very important for preserving global peace and security, as is widely recognized and attested to even by this current debate.
Taking an authoritative position on these issues, Belarus intends to present during this session of the General Assembly, on behalf of and on the instructions of the states of Commonwealth of Independent States, a joint declaration of the CIS on issues of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
Official English version:
Taking an authoritative position on these issues, Belarus, on behalf of and on the instructions of the states of the Commonwealth of Independent States, intends during this session to present a joint declaration by the CIS on issues of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.
In Example 2, the basic subject-complement structure of the sentence is “Belarus intends to present a declaration”, and the two general adverbial clauses (marked in bold type) could also go in several different positions, or could be combined together (“Belarus intends, during this session, on behalf of and on the instructions of . . .”), or could even be combined and inserted at the end in a separate sentence (“We shall do so during this session, on behalf of and on the instructions of . . .”). A short adverbial clause can also be squeezed in between two parts of a composite verb, as has been done with “during this session” in Example 2 above (between the auxiliary “intends” and “to present”).
Notice that this feature gives one much greater leeway in interpreting than if one were forced to follow the original sequence of phrases. If the adverbial clause is short, one can slip it in before or after the verb (“We intend, at this session, to declare . . .” or “We intend to declare at this session . . .”) or place it before the subject (“At this session we intend to declare . . .”). If it is long enough that leaving it in the middle tends to disrupt the sentence (as in Example 1 above), one can save it for the end of the sentence. Or, if speed is a problem, one can save it, making an independent sentence out of the adverbial clause and slipping it in during the speaker’s pause between sentences (“We shall do so at this session.”).