Traineeship at the UN Office in Vienna, 2018
Each year, the Caspian Higher School of Interpreting and Translation gives its master students a chance to improve their knowledge, acquire new professional qualifications and strengthen the existing ones in European universities and international organizations. This spring, Sergei Doronin and Julia Nikitina, master students of the Caspian Higher School of Interpreting and Translation, undertook a traineeship in Vienna.
Vienna is a very hospitable city, with many international organizations, including the United Nations headquarters, located at the Vienna International Center. The MA students have been practicing their skills in simultaneous interpretation at a conference dedicated to the solution of legal issues of space management for a week. It was not only Nikolai Telnov and Sergei Nagradov – the leading Russian booth interpreters, who helped and supported Astrakhan master students but also they enjoyed an opportunity to listen to native English speakers’ feedback on the their interpretation from native into foreign language. The native English speakers drew special attention to the arrangement of the semantic and intonation stresses and clarified the shades of meanings that depend both on linguistic factors and on speaker’s personality. It was quite interesting to learn that the particle “allegedly” in a recent speech given by one of our country’s political leaders was of the essential semantic role that the interpreter is to grasp and convey. It’s really amazing that interpreters from different countries (being experts in intercultural communication) can find common ground very quickly. And, on the contrary, during the plenary meetings of the delegates, the intercultural differences in the attitude towards the time were very clear; for example, the differences between the delegations of Switzerland and Nigeria, (the first one demanded a very precise timetable, the second one insisted on more evasive formulations). The value that this kind of knowledge presents can be really understood only in real-life conditions.
On the last day of the traineeship, the UN interpreters prepared a surprise for the group in which our MA students trained: they organized a real-life mock conference in which they became delegates and were assessing the interpretation provided by students who were working with their microphones on. Nadezhda Emelyanova, both the Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages of ASU and one of the leading teachers of the Caspian Higher School of Interpreting and Translation took part in it as one of these “delegates”.
The interaction between students from other universities and MA students proved to be very useful as well. Such meetings give their participants an opportunity to exchange views, experience, and share with each other techniques that will help them master their skills in interpretation.
But this process of practical improvement of the interpretation skills did not end there, and master students, having returned to Astrakhan from Vienna, once again became absorbed in UN interpreters’ working days, as they joined the other students who had been already actively participating in the master class on simultaneous interpretation by Nikolai Telnov.