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Chinese Simultaneous Interpretation:

Chinese Simultaneous Interpretation  

Articles on Interpretation

Normally, when doing Chinese simultaneous interpretation in a conference or for a special event, the Mandarin simultaneous interpreter sits in a booth wearing a pair of headphones and speaks into a microphone. In courtroom settings, on the other hand, a Chinese simultaneous interpreter stands by closely to the person whom the interpreter interprets to, and then translate sentences in low voices to the listener.

The word "simultaneous" is a misnomer: the Chinese simultaneous interpreter can not start interpreting until he understands the general meaning of the sentence. Depending, for example, on how far apart in the sentence to be interpreted the subject and the verb are located, the Chinese simultaneous interpreter may not be able to utter even a single word until he or she has heard the entire sentence!

Chinese simultaneous interpretation is difficult and challenging.  The simultaneous interpreter needs to translate the sentence into the target language while simultaneously listening to and comprehending the next sentence. Moreover, for some of the technical jargons, unlike Japanese or Korean in which "Computer" is "Computer", the Chinese interpreter has to react very fast and translate it into Chinese as "Dian Nao", or "electric brain", and sometimes, they will have to think fast and coin a phrase when encountering vocabularies that yet to have an official Chinese translation.

One of the key skills of the simultaneous interpreter is decisiveness: there is simply no time to weigh the merits of variant translations or to recall just the right idiom in Mandarin. Any delay and a few words (and possibly a complete thought) that the speaker uttered could be lost. And since the speaker may be far away, or even in a different room than the interpreter, the loss may be permanent.

Qualifications of a Good Chinese Simultaneous Interpreter:

Currently, we have two qualified Chinese Simultaneous Translators (Interpreters):

Chinese Simultaneous Translator in Los Angeles: Samuel

Chinese Simultaneous Interpreter in New York: Raymond

Practicing Simultaneous Chinese Interpretation

When you are fluent in both English and Chinese, and can handle Chinese consecutive interpretation well, then you can begin to practice simultaneous Chinese interpretation.

There are some good exercises you might find helpful:

1. Shadow: Repeat what the speaker says, word for word, in the same language, meaning English or Mandarin. Then try to lag a full thought behind the speaker. This allows you to become accustomed to speaking and listening English and Mandarin at the same time.

It is suggested that if your native language is not English, you should shadow in English.

2. Dual task: While shadowing, write something totally unrelated on a piece of paper. Begin by writing Chinese characters from one to one hundred, and then backwards from one hundred to one. Then you can write your own name in Chinese, as well as your friends' names.  Then, you can write to write some random sentences or even poems in Chinese.  This exercise will allow you to practice your abilities of multi-tasking. 

3. Paraphrase: Start from shadowing the speaker.  Then, try to change the wordings of the sentences and paraphrase them.  You may summarize it without altering the meaning. 

4. Simultaneous Interpretation of Simple Sentences: Now you can begin to try to practice interpreting simultaneously for simple sentences and simple concepts.  You may find it easy and indeed, most people can translate simultaneously for simple sentences.  With more practice, you will be able to interpret simultaneously for some of the more difficult and challenging sentences, speeches, topics, and concepts.

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