Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Simultaneous translation?

Its existence is denied in many quarters e.g. in this Glossary of Translation Industry Terms:

Simultaneous translation
There is no such thing. A translation is done in writing; an interpretation orally. If your supplier doesn't know the difference between translation and interpretation, this is one of the Red Flags & Warning Bells that your meeting is in trouble
Or this:

Stop confusing translators and interpreters ... there is no such thing as ‘simultaneous translation’
And yet:

Met Titles are a custom designed system for simultaneous translation that has been created by the Metropolitan Opera. They are used for all opera performances

SURTITLES™The simultaneous translation of the words sung in an opera, projected above the stage. SURTITLES™ were pioneered by the Canadian Opera Company in 1983, and are now used in various forms in opera houses around the world.
Which seems perfectly unobjectionable: the translation being simultaneous for the purposes of the user rather than for those of the producer.

I don't share the irritation felt by many in the business at the constant confusion of interpreters with translators. The one situation I have found it to be a problem is when a delegate at a meeting complains about the quality of the translation (i.e. of the document they are working on) and malevolent looks are mis-cast in the direction of the interpreting booths.

Since the true etymology of the word interpreter is apparently unknown and with a view to clarifying the distinction for non-professionals, it may be useful to propagate a bogus etymology based on the way the word is commonly pronounced by non-natives: inter-prater.

Similarly trans-letter.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?