Adele Tobin: “The interpreter’s work experience”
On February, 12 the MA students of the Caspian Higher School of Interpretation and Translation had a lecture called «The interpreter’s work experience». It was delivered by Adele Tobin- an interpreter of the UN office at Geneva, who came to Astrakhan to practice and to study with the MA students as well as to share experience. A number of topics were discussed during the 2 hour lesson: Adele started with the story of her first interpreting experience, studies in Geneva and about the difference between university studies and the interpreter’s real life.
Adele enumerated the main, in her opinion, difficulties for the beginner: coping with shyness and diffidence; complex structure and functioning of the organizations that are to be remembered; the duration of the interpretation, which on average lasts for 30 minutes and may be unusual for a graduate; finding the right solutions when difficulties in interpreting appear, etc.
Particular attention was paid to the UN itself and to its structure, organs, separate organizations (WTO, WLO, WHO, etc.). And, of course, we discussed Russian, which is one of our guest’s working languages.
Adele mentioned some difficulties of Russian like long constructions with words in genitive case, flexible word order of the sentence, the use of some words in the meanings that do not exist in English or French , and, of course, the love of Russian speakers for proverbs and idioms.
After the lesson, the MA students asked Adele a few questions which are the most interesting and topical for the beginners – the questions about the entering test for those who wish to become the UN interpreters, the most difficult and the funniest situations in Adele’s interpreting career, the interpreters’ salary, working conditions, health problems caused by talking a lot for a long time, and even the gender proportion in the booths. Adele was very glad to answer the students’ questions and to share with the students her knowledge and experience, though there were some things she did conceal, as confidentiality is one of inevitable terms for any interpreter.
During the whole next week Adele will continue her classes with the MA students; she has already visited some lessons and gave master classes on interpreting within group sessions.
This Friday a mock conference will take place and our guest will also participate, so the MA students and teachers of the Caspian Higher School of Interpretation and Translation will be able to assess the work of the UN conference interpreter.