Saturday, February 21, 2009

Facilitating Interpreters

Facilitating Interpreters

This is a new term that is being used by interpreter agencies. The following description is taken from the website of London Translations (

“Facilitating Interpreting covers a range of activities. Typically many people talk and many people listen alternately. Facilitating Interpreting is the term used to describe work which is less structured than consecutive or simultaneous assignments.

“Sometimes you just need someone bilingual on hand who can help out with ad-hoc requirements during an event. Facilitating Interpreters are often hired to attend international corporate hospitality events and team building sessions. They are a great help in making your clients and staff feel comfortable and can help avoid misunderstandings and consequent embarrassment.

“Facilitating Interpreters are often used when some group members have a smattering of both (or all) the languages involved and require someone bilingual to clarify points of confusion by saying it 'in other words'.

What should interest us is that London Translation specifies 5 years “Minimum experience required” from its simultaneous interpreters, 3 years from its consecutive and telephone interpreters, but “No minimum” from its facilitating interpreters.

This strongly suggests that facilitating interpreting can be done without training, and implies therefore that facilitating interpreters are typically Native Translators.

Monday, February 16, 2009

This blog is an attempt to make up for my uncommunicativeness with some of you who deserve better from me for your support of an idea whose day will come – eventually.

As Alejandro Morales (U. of Nebraska-Lincoln) wrote to me recently with reference to language brokering, “This is an area that few people are interested in, so the opportunities to explore this topic are endless.”

But I became very discouraged last year when I submitted a proposal for a paper on NT to a conference on bilingualism and received the rebuff that my topic was not of sufficient interest. After all these years! So I turned to something else for a while.

What reanimated me was reading in a paper by José-María Bravo of Valladolid (Spain) about the new phenomenon of fansubbing, on which there is starting to be a literature.

A fansub is a fan-produced, translated, subtitled version of a Japanese anime programme. Fansubs are a tradition that began with the creation of the first anime clubs back in the 1980s. With the advent of cheap computer software and the availability on Internet of free subbing equipment, they really took off in the mid 1990s.
It would be no exaggeration to state that fansubs are nowadays the most important manifestation of fan translation, having turned into a mass social phenomenon on Internet, as proved by the vast virtual community.
(Jorge Díaz Cintas and Pablo Muñoz Sánchez, ‘Fansubs: Audiovisual Translation in an Amateur Environment’, Journal of Specialised Translation, 6, July 2006)

The point is, for us of course, that these many amateur translators have no formal training in translation, nor in cultural transfer for that matter, though they turn out work that their peers are glad to use. I would, however, tend to class them as native translators rather than as natural translators, because they have surely learnt from the plentiful examples of professional anime translation. (More soon on the distinction between natural and native translators.)

Scope of this blog

This is a blog of news and ideas about natural translation, native translation, language brokering and related topics.