Around the web – June 2019

I was delighted this month to finally be able to start working with a sit-stand desk. Do you have one? So here, sent while I’m standing at my desk, is your June round-up of the month’s most popular stories about translation, interpreting, and language.

  • In this video-gone-viral made for Wired, Professor Barry Olsen explains what it’s really like to be a professional interpreter. At the time of writing it’s had 1.8 million views!

screenshot from the video ‘Interpreter Breaks Down How Real-Time Translation Works’

Orwell and the English Language

Alan Wendt poses after a post-cabinet press conference at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photograph: Hagen Hopkins)

Members of the Academie Francaise gather at the library before an induction ceremony at the Academie Francaise in Paris on December 15, 2016. (Photo by PATRICK KOVARIK / AFP)

On a personal note, as well as translating I also do some travel writing, and this month saw the publication of the new “Insight Guide to Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles“. This is the 3rd edition, and the 2nd edition on which I’ve worked writing and updating the “Reunion” part.

Further reading:

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Are you in good voice?

Is your voice in good shape or are you in poor voice? Do you like the sound of your own voice? (and I mean that literally, not figuratively!) This week I attended an interesting afternoon of events focusing on the voice: knowing its anatomy, how to warm up, preserve, and repair your voice, as well as tips for public speaking. Presentations from speech therapists and ENT doctors were interspersed with musical interludes by singers, including an opera singer, and a – very impressive – beatboxer.

beatboxer Irose

The conference was organised by a health insurance fund which draws most of its members from the teaching profession, so there was a tendency to concentrate on issues experienced by teachers: they have a much higher rate of voice-related problems than the general public, especially if they teach primary school, music or PE, and women are four times more likely than men to experience problems. (I’ve literally heard these problems first-hand as my mother-in-law, a former teacher, has a paralysed vocal cord.) I translate and don’t teach but I do some consecutive and liaison interpreting, as well as voice talent work, and I also regularly use my voice in presentations and daily on the phone to clients and colleagues.

With speech professions, voice use is supra-physiological, i.e. we talk more and longer than other professions. Referring to voice loss, interestingly one of presenters mentioned that whispering tires the voice more than conventional speech as it forces more air than normal to pass through the passageways, something to bear in mind for interpreters who carry out chuchotage. It was also mentioned that several shorter days of speaking (e.g. three days of speaking for 4 hours) are preferable to one long day (e.g. twelve hours), although of course when interpreting we don’t always get much choice in the matter!

singers Nicole Dambreville & Pheelip Zora

Concerning public speaking I was pleased to learn that a practice I’ve often adopted instinctively – standing up when asking a question or presenting myself – is highly recommended, as is good posture and breathing. You should of course always look at your audience, and try and make sure your voice resonates from as low down in your body as possible. Keep your throat and neck muscles relaxed.

One of the overriding messages of the event was that for those of us professionals who speak regularly, the voice is an often-neglected asset that needs to be taken care of to be kept healthy. Some advice to help keep it in good shape:

  • drink water to keep your body well hydrated
  • make the most of breaks to avoid having to speak
  • avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • avoid smoking and inhaling secondhand smoke
  • don’t yell
  • do sport

Hopefully these tips will help you find your voice!

opera singer Olivera Topalovic

 

See also:

Around the web – December 2018 & January 2019

Here’s a look at the most popular stories about translation, interpreting, and language for December 2018 and January 2019*.

Karin Keller-Sutter is an alumni of The Institute of Translation and Interpreting at Zurich University of Applied Sciences.

“Toxic”, “single-use” and “misinformation” were amongst the words of the year for 2018.

Ducks gather on the bank of the Yauza river during snowfall in Moscow on December 19, 2018. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

“Insect Day” is more commonly known as “Inset Day”.

* I was away from late December until January (hence the round-up covering two months), and so I’ll leave you with a “translation” I saw on my travels …

close-up of the English

close-up of the French

Further reading:

Around the web – November 2018

Here’s a look at the most popular stories about translation, interpreting, and language for November.

Claire Cox: “As a professional translator, I don’t want to work for an outfit that regards me as an interchangeable cog in a large machine”.

Do you know the meaning of ‘Brino’, ‘ERG’ ‘remoaner’ or ‘Maybot’?

Eight tentacles, three plural forms, and only one right way to say it.

Eighteenth-century German linguist Hensel probably had to use second-hand and third-hand transcriptions for languages he was unfamiliar with.

 

Further reading:

Interpreting 20 years ago

Sorting through some old papers I came across this article from a local newspaper dated 22nd July 1993. The person to the right in the photo is me when I had not long turned 23 and this was one of my first major liaison interpreting contracts: for a week I interpreted for an American architect from Louisiana who had been invited to Reunion to compare Creole architecture in the Southern US with that of the island. I remember that I worked hard compiling my glossary and terminology list and that it came in very useful, but I also cringe when I think about how inexperienced I was!

Do you have any cringe-worthy photos, memories or experience to share too?