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Searching For Creativity In Simultaneous Interpreting

It Might Seem That The Term " Creative " Should Be Confined To The Fine Arts Or Musical Composition, where The Product, be It A Sculpture Or An Opera, is Born In A Moment Of Wondrous Inspiration Experienced By An Ingenious Creator. We Are Used To Associating Creativity With Inventions, original Solutions And Innovative Ways Of Thinking And Of Perceiving The World.

By Marzena DRABEK (marzenadrabek@yahoo.com)

And So It Wouldn ' T Be Surprising To Hear, "Creativity In Simultaneous Interpreting? It Doesn ' T Exist! " Those Who Think Along Such Lines Will Say That Interpreting Is Simply The Meticulous Transfer Of The Thoughts And Words Of The Speaker To Another Language, the " Translation " Of His/her Creativity Into Another Linguistic Code. Nothing Creative In It.

Or Is There? Let ' S Consider The Following Definitions/notions Of Creativity:

  • Creativity Is A Novel Combination Of Elements Which Are Commonly Thought Of As Being Independent And Different, the Ability To Form New Combinations (Mednick) .

    Isn ' The Combining Of The Elements Of The Source Message Into A New Target Message Meaningful To The Listener of – of T Simultaneous Interpreting (SI) Exactly This, sometimes Necessitating Alterations To Place The Message In The Cultural Context Of The Target Language? Interpreters Take Into Account And Combine Seemingly Independent Elements: Words; The Intention Of The Speaker Expressed Through Prosodic Features And Extralinguistic Cues; The Audience And Their Expectations And Background; The Conference Setting; The Current Political Situation; Cultural Background, etc. Don ' T These Elements Seem Independent To A Layperson?

  • Creative Actions Involve Choices That Are Not Determined By Pre-set Rules; Creativity Involves Open-ended Tasks With No Pre-determined Solutions. Creative Process Is Based On Unregulated Selection And Its Effects Cannot Be Subject To Absolute Verification(Ludskanov) .

    In Interpreting, the Only Rule One Must Abide By Is Not To Betray The Speaker. There Are No Rules Specifying Word Equivalents Between Source And Target Languages; It Is Up To The Interpreter To Choose The Most Appropriate At Any Given Time, in Any Specific Setting, for Any Concrete Audience. Isn ' T That An Open-ended Task? One Might Say, "No, because The Choices Are Pre-determined By The Preceding Context And Limited To The Grammatical And Verbal Inventory Of The Target Language " . But What About Situations In Which Syntactic Or Semantic Ambiguity Have Not Been Resolved Or When The Speaker Uses Nonce Words? It Is Then Up To The Interpreter ' S Inventiveness And Creativity, isn ' T It? Certain Forms Of Music Impose Rules On The Composer. Aren ' T Such Limitations Comparable To The Grammatical And Verbal Constraints Faced By Interpreters? A Composer May Break With Convention In The Search For A Novel Form Of Expression. Likewise, for Example By Inventing Neologisms For Terms That Yet Have No Standard Equivalent In The Target Language of – of The Interpreter May Veer Off The Beaten Path. And Add To That One More Question: Are There Ever Two Identical Interpretations Of The Same " Text " ?
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