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I’m Paula López Herrera

Conference interpreter, translator, language lover and with a zest for helping others.

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Today, November 20th, is Conference Interpreter’s Day.  This day, in 1945, marked the beginning of the Nuremberg Trials and is for this reason why I have written this post.

We conference interpreters and all other members of our industry, such as translators, proofreaders, transcreators, editors, and so on, understand the importance of our job. But what about other people? Do they understand it?

Maybe people don’t understand it because we always work in the shadows, or so they believe, because we all know that the interpreter’s location varies depending on the mode of interpreting.

Appearances can be deceiving

Although interpreting may seem like a simple task, it isn’t. The brain of an interpreter has often been compared to the astronaut’s brain. Because several processes are going on simultaneously, interpreting is considered an extremely cognitively complex endeavour.

  1. Listen to the original speech in a language.
  2. Understand it.
  3. Analyse the information.
  4. “Peel” the message. In this post, you’ll discover what I mean by “peeling the message.”
  5. Keep the inside of the message.
  6. Express it in another language.

And all this within seconds.

Interpreting is not a natural task

We human beings aren’t used to speaking and listening at the same time. And, to make matters worse, we must listen not only to the speaker but also to ourselves to ensure that the target language we are speaking is proper and we do not sound like infants learning to speak.

No one will pay you what you’re worth

Nobody will pay us what we’re worth. When we send a quote to a client, it’s common for it to appear excessive. And they often will try to lower prices and haggle over the quote.

Our responsibility is to open our clients’ eyes and make them see the reality of this profession and all the effort and work that goes into it. We already know that if you organise a conference with participants from different parts of the world who do not speak the same language, communication will be impossible without the help of an interpreter, no matter how prestigious these attendees are. Only if you value yourself will others value you.

“IT IS NOT OUR ABILITIES THAT SHOW US WHO WE TRULY ARE; IT IS OUR CHOICES.”

ALBUS (PERCIVAL WULFRIC BRIAN) DUMBLEDORE

I chose to be a conference interpreter; I was the only one in my class to do so, and I couldn’t be happier that I did.

Happy Conference Interpreter’s Day!

Are you looking for an interpreter for your events, congresses, sessions or conferences? Take a look at my services.

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