Simultaneous interpretation, often called the aerobatics of the translation profession, is a unique and specific type of translation work and, according to many colleagues, is much closer to art than to science. When did such an unusual occupation appear?

It all started a long time ago, when the earth was still warm...

At the beginning of the 20s of the XX century, there are truly revolutionary changes in the form and intensity of international contacts, the main form of which are various multilateral meetings and forums. The XX century is rightly called the "century of conferences" - in the period from 1920 to 1930, from 1000 to 3000 international conferences and meetings were held, in 1930-40 - 4000, 1940-1950 – 6000, 1950-1960 – about 14000. And it is simply impossible to calculate how many such events take place annually in our time. It is obvious that the increased pace of international life required new methods of organizing and conducting meetings, including translation support. The answer to the challenges of the time was the emergence of simultaneous translation.

In the special literature it is claimed that simultaneous translation was used for the first time in the USSR in 1928 at the VI Congress of the Comintern. Moreover, only a microphone was used for translation, and the translators themselves were located in chairs in front of the podium and perceived the speaker's speech directly by ear.In 1935, at the XV International Physiological Congress in Leningrad, Academician I.P. Pavlov's introductory speech was simultaneously translated into English, German and French. There is information that in 1936 synchronists worked at a meeting of the Belgian parliament, in 1936 – at events in the Netherlands.

However, simultaneous interpretation received full–scale recognition by the world community at the Nuremberg Trials, which began in 1945. It is interesting that 2 teams of translators - Soviet and Allied, consisting mainly of Americans - collaborated in the process. At the head of the simultaneous translation service was a colonel of the American Army, a former employee of IBM, Leon Dostert. In 1946, he organized a demonstration of simultaneous interpretation at the UN, and in 1947, the UN Secretariat acquired the first portable installation for simultaneous translation.This year can be considered the beginning of a new era; -- By 1951, consecutive translation in the UN system remained only in the Security Council (and even then along with simultaneous translation), and since the early 1970s it has been out of use in the Security Council. The translators who ensured the work of the process, upon its completion, were accepted into the staff of the newly created United Nations

The Soviet Union quickly appreciated the possibilities of this type of translation. After a pause following the end of the work of the Nuremberg and Tokyo International Tribunals, simultaneous interpretation was applied at the International Economic Meeting (1952). A team of synchronists totaling about 50 people translated the event into Russian, English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese. It is quite logical that the backbone of the team was made up of veterans of the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials.

In 1957, 80 synchronists worked at the Moscow Festival of Youth and Students only according to the student program of the festival. In addition, in other programs of the festival, simultaneous translation was used in combination with sequential (translation into Russian was made from the podium sequentially, then into all working languages synchronously). By the end of the 60s, simultaneous translation made it possible to use thirty working languages at international events.

Russian Russian has been translated into foreign languages for foreign delegations since the XIX Congress of the CPSU (1952), and at the XX Congress – full simultaneous translation in both directions into 7 working languages (Russian, English, French, German, Spanish).











Simultaneous translation into foreign languages for foreign delegations has been used (at the same time, translation into Russian was carried out from the podium, sequentially), and at the XX Congress - full simultaneous translation in both directions into 7 working languages (Russian, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese). At the XXI Congress, simultaneous translations were already made into 18 languages. Currently, the equipment of the Kremlin Palace of Congresses allows simultaneous translation into 30 working languages.


An anecdote from G.Gref, heard at the WEF-2017


A businessman comes to the temple to the priest:

-- Father, what should I do? People don't go to my cafe, revenue is falling, rent is being raised, cooks are going to quit...

-- You, my son, don't get upset, but hang a poster in the institution "It won't always be like this!" It will help.

In two weeks:

-- Father, thank you! The client has gone, the revenue is growing, the lease has been agreed. Life has improved! Is it possible to remove the poster?

--My son, let it hang for now...


Pearl of the collection


The story was told by an Arabist friend of mine. Further from the first person:   somehow Primakov met with the patriarch of All Russia. Politicians had such a craze - to meet with the patriarch. So the patriarch was in ceremonial vestments and his nail was a cape (I forgot what it was called, but a very important thing in ceremonies, thrown over his neck and two stripes on his chest). Primakov asked the patriarch about this element of the church wardrobe. Alexy said. that this cape is very important and has been present at the most important ceremonies for several centuries. In short, a church rarity of high significance.

Primakov says, has anyone tried to read what is written on it? Alexy said in surprise that, they say, nothing is written there. So Primak upset him very much. This item is made of brocade, brocade was invented in Syria, the best brocade is Syrian and the ROC has been buying it there for centuries. Even now they prefer Syrian fabrics. In short, there is an arabesque on the cape (an inscription stylized as a pattern). You have to be a real specialist to see Arabic ligatures in the interweaving of branches. Primakov spec. It said: "La llahi illa la wa muhammad rasullul la..." I think. it's not worth translating. Alexy left the meeting in shock...

Read all stories


Dear friends! After a long break, we present to your attention a new version of the questionnaire. The synchronist faces such tasks regularly, but, nevertheless, every time suddenly.

1. Pick up the Russian equivalent of the Chinese phrase:

西门庆请武大娘 -- 没安好心

2. Let's pay tribute to the fun of medieval Chinese intellectuals - let's play 对联. Continue with the phrases:

君子中庸, 小人....

君子居易以俟命, 小人....

君子之道暗然而日章, 小人之道...


3. Pick up the Chinese version of the idiomatic expression "Veterans do not grow old in soul"


4. Fill in the gaps in the poem below, remember its author and title and make a literary translation:

___________, ___________。
__________, 开轩卧闲敞。
__________, __________。


5. And for dessert – a chastushka from tandem:

Mayor Luzhkov was too timid,
Did not solve the problem of traffic jams
And for many, becoming an example, he flew out of the mayors like a traffic jam!


I wish you success!

Please send your answers. please email .

Questionnaire from 15.10.13 and answers to her:

Questionnaire from 1.01.12 and answers to it:

Questionnaire from 1.10.11 and answers to it:



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