The Three Stages Of A Consecutive Interpreter's Work Are The Understanding Of The Speaker's Original Message, the Immediate Analysis Of Its Content And The Re-expression Of The Same Content In Another Language, with The Help Of Some Notes The Interpreter Writes Down Upon Hearing The Original Message.
The Understanding We Refer To Here Is Not Of Words But Of Ideas, since An Interpreter Has To Convey Concepts.
But What Happens If An Interpreter Doesn't Know A Word Or An Expression That He/she Hears In A Speech?
First Of All We Can Underline That An Interpreter Can Understand A Speaker's Meaning Without Actually Understanding Every Single Word And Expression Used.
For Example, let's Imagine That A Delegate Says:
- I Don't Think That The Advisory Committee Is The Appropriate Forum For Discussion Of This Point. What Is Important Is That TheGroundwork Be Done In The Technical Working Parties, in Order To Prepare The Basis For A Decision In The Executive Committee.
Let's Assume That The Interpreter Understands Neither Forum Nor Groundwork. Yet This Does Not Prevent Him/her From Understanding That (1) The Advisory Committe Is Not The Right Place To Discuss The Matter, and (2) The Question Has To Be Properly Prepared For The Executive Committee By The Technical Working Parties. The Interpretation Is Possible Without All The Words And Without Changing The Meaning.
There Are Other Occasions, however, where A Word Is Too Important To Be Left Out.
In A Paragraph Like This, for Instance:
- Given The Topography Of The Country, the Construction Of Motorways Has Been Very Expensive. The Norwegians Have Found The Solution To Their Financial Problems By Imposing Tolls. And These Are Pretty Expensive. The Roads Are Wonderfully Built, and Are A Pleasure To Drive Upon, with Beautiful Scenery, but When The Poor Drivers Get To The End Of Their Journey And Have To Pay The Toll, they Certainly Feel That Their Wallets Are Much Lighter. -
The Key Word Here Is Toll, and If The Interpreter Does Not Know It There Can Be Problems. But The Interpreter Can Also Benefit From Working In Consecutive, since After Hearing The Whole Speech, he/she Should Be Able To Deduce The Meaning Of Toll From The Context, given The Numbers Of Clues They Have: Here It Is Clear That We Have To Do With A Sum Of Money.
Moreover, interpreters Cannot Be Expected To Be Encyclopaedic Dictionaries, and They Must Accept That There Are Times When They Do Not Know A Word Or An Idiomatic Expressions. In A Situation Of Direct Contact With The Delegates, the Interpreter Must Admit His/her Ignorance And, if Necessary, clarify The Question With The Delegates. On The Other Hand, the Interpreter Does Not Have The Right To Guess At Meanings In Order To Hide A Normally Possible, even If Embarrassing, situation.