Sunday, November 22, 2015

Help from Young Interpreters

If you are a regular Follower of this blog you have already been introduced to the organization in England that runs a movement for training child interpreters in schools. If not, enter emtas in the Search box on the right. It's the Young Interpreter Scheme of the Hampshire County Council (EMTAS) under the direction of Astrid Dinneen. Their latest Newsletter (November 2015) has just arrived. It emphasizes the aids YI offers to teachers who want to set up a scheme in their own schools. YI is not confined to the UK; it already has a few followers in other countries.

YI's aims are twofold. On the one hand an immediately practical one of providing communication between school communities with minority languages and English; and on the other, to encourage children and adolescents to express themselves and develop their personalities in their 'heritage' cultures. Many people don't realize what a multilingual and multicultural country England has become. When I go back and visit my old school there, I see the building hasn't changed much, but oh! the pupils.

There is also another aspect that should interest even the community of professional interpreters. Interpreting is a skill. Like any skill – be it languages, music or football – the younger you start practising it the better. And so it is with potential Expert Interpreters: Start 'em young. The notion that interpreting can only be taught to adults and after extensive education, even a university degree, is out of date. Of course the would-be Expert Interpreter has much to learn, not only linguistically but about the world. Yet there are basic components of the skill, for example speed of thought transfer, that can be practised with pleasure and amusement from childhood.


Young Interpreter Scheme.

NPIT3, Winterthur (near Zurich), 5-7 May 2016
International forum for Non-Professional Interpreting and Translation, the latest paradigm in translation studies.

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