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Interpreting: From Strategies to Capacity-building

Prof. Xu Mingwu Guests at Foreign Languages Forum , centered on Strategies and Capacity-building of Interpreting

On the afternoon of Nov. 23, Ph.D supervisor Xu Mingwu, Vice-president of Translation Association of Hubei and Dean of the School of Foreign Languages, HUST, addressed at Foreign Languages Forum on strategies and capacity-building of interpreting, attracting Yao Xiaojun, Dean of the College of Foreign Languages of HZAU and other teachers and 2016 MTI students.

Starting from sharing his own experience of interpreting, Prof. Xu centered on four aspects of interpreting, including standards, influence factors, basic strategies and capacity-building. He emphasized that on-site interpreting is distinct from translation. Due to higher time limitation, interpreting has lower standards than translation despite following certain principles. Basic requirements for interpreting include “expressiveness and fluency” put forward by Seleskovitch in 1978, “faithfulness and timeliness” concluded by Zhong Weihe in 1998, and “comprehensiveness, accuracy and fluency” advocated by Bao Gang in 2005.

Subsequently, Prof. Xu introduced subjective and objective factors influencing interpreting. In detail, the former includes bilingual ability, psychological factors, experiences, prior preparation and knowledge accumulation, while the latter covers work pressure, accent stress, excessive speed and difficult terms. Based on the factors above, he underlined that utilizing some interpreting strategies properly could convey the speakers’ intention more accurately and play a vital role in enhancing the speed and accuracy of interpreting.

As Hu Gengshen proposes, interpreters should “divide attention appropriately, manage the rhythm of expression, use external memory, alternate expression, use on-site conditions, divert attention temporarily and ease tense atmosphere” and Kevin Lin proposes “continuity, calmness, and brevity” and “inquiry, omission and adding”, to tackle the failure not catching the speaker’s words. Based on these experience, Prof. Xu held that basic strategies of interpreting could be condensed as delaying thinking time, simplifying thinking, using adjuncts, diversifying expressions and adopting similar expressions.

In the end, Prof. Xu introduced methods of interpreting capacity-building, not only covering how to teach students the interpreting skills, but sharing his innovative and practical skills, such as interpreting simultaneously while watching TV dramas, like Empress Wu Zetian of China.

Tr. by Pan Nan