Simultaneous interpreting: minimum quality standard

Nowadays there is a great demand for Chinese translation services for obvious reasons. Since few clients know Chinese well enough to evaluate the level and quality of the given translation, it is widely spread that the translation is conducted by those who do not hold even a minimum qualification which is most reflected in simultaneous interpreting. And the victims are the client and the event manager.

 

That it is why a question arises: what criteria should be used to evaluate the quality of the translation if I don’t know Chinese? It is simple – your speech is translated to your partner just as your partner`s speech is translated to you. Consequently, if you pay attention to some features while interpreting:

 

1. Unpleasant to listen to. If you are not comfortable with what you hear through your earphones and looking forward to putting them away, the Chinese audience is dying for the event to end as well.
 

The discomfort can be caused by:

✔ Tense, high pitched voice. Such an interpreter does not possess the voice and speech skills, consequently, he is sure to experience pain in a few hours of interpreting, thus leading to the «dying swan» effect and your discomfort. 

✔ Too fast speech rate. It is likely that the specialist in not interpreting, but reading from a note prepared in advance. Needless to say, this is the case when the speaker`s presentation goes down the drain since it is like trying to convey the message in written form through your secretary or an assistant. При этом переводчику крайне сложно реагировать на отступления оратора от текста, а о передачи акцентов, эмоций, и другой невербальной информации речь не идет вообще.

✔ A lot of extra sounds like "um" and "uh" also known as fillers. It means that the interpreter does not understand the whole message and is trying to create his/her own version loosely basing on the original message. It is suggest that this way the most important and delicate aspects are lost, 

✔  Too many pauses or too long ones.  It is likely that the interpreter is under a so called «private filter». In other words, he/she is interpreting not the message being said, but only a part of it that he/she has understood and verified. Since the interpreter is usually not as good at the subject as the speaker is, the translation deteriorates in part of the meaning and logic.

2. The sound track does not match the speaker`s image.Pay attention to the appearance, clothes and speaker`s manners, estimate his/her level of education and life experience – try to guess the way such person speaks. Evidently, the speech of a tractor operator`s from the «Svetli Put» agribusiness holding company is not the same as the one of the « Huawei» CEO. And the speech of the latter in its term is different from a professor at the Institute of Journalism and Communication in Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

✔ Try to compare your impression with the message you receive through earphones. Pay attention to the vocabulary and the way the sentences are structured. Do they match your first impression of the speaker?

✔ Pay attention to the intonation accents of the speakers – the patters have to be reflected in the translation.

✔  Pay attention to the audience and its reaction. When a speaker makes a joke, Chinese and Russian parts should laugh at the same time.

✔ Pay attention to the vocabulary used during the presentations of different speakers. It should not contain lots of similar words and expressions лексику, 

3. Vague identity of the speaker. By the end of the presentation analyze your aftersound. If you can`t remember one phrase said by the speaker and are not eager to go on communicating with him/her, if you consider the whole event to have been a waste of time not worth taking any account of – the translation was bad. 

Dear friends! We need your help to become better and provide the highest quality interpreting service possible for you and your partners, saving not only the meaning but also emotions and personal features of the speaker. Please, assess the quality of the translation regardless of the complexity of the language and tell us or the event manager what you didn’t like about the interpreting. We have motivation to get better and improve our services only in case you give us your critical comments. We do need your tough and objective critique.

At last, a word to Russian speakers. Dear friends! Do not limit your self-expression in front of the microphone – read poems, make puns, quote famous writers, poets and philosophers. It is sure to complicate our work and, although we may not be excellent at it right away, we will definitely catch up with you. The main objective of our work is to convey your emotions, your identity, its uniqueness and specific features, awaken interest and evoke sympathy towards you,  and consequently, to your project. It will create the best conditions for the beginning and strengthening the partnership with your Chinese colleagues.

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