A support System for Interpreters

A support System for Interpreters

Frances Parkes of  Max Your Voice is giving a one day course for Interpreters and Translators on February 17th in the Interpreters Conference Suite at the London Metropolitan University.

This course  has been recommended by the Institute of Interpreters and Translators.

A few years ago I was asked  to give a talk for Interpreters at a special ITI conference being held in the City of London.  As well as myself there were  highly successful interpreters and heads of departments of various universities.  The Conference was aimed at giving working interpreters information and support on how best to maintain physical and mental well being while they were working on sensitive jobs.  The packed conference became an open forum as interpreters from all walks of life exchanged their experiences and practices.

Interpreters are highly trained academically but sometimes their need for more practical skills have not been met.   At that time little training was given on how to handle the physical and mental rigours that come with the job.  Much discussion was given to methods of relaxation after a day of mental gymnastics and physical constriction.  One highly successful interpreter was of the opinion that the Alexander Technique was the practice that had helped him the most.  This technique guides your body and mind into a state of release.  It is a fantastic technique for interpreters who can benefit so much from the released posture and mental relaxation.  Many people used yoga exercises for relaxation – again an excellent form of tension release.

My own speciality The Grotowski Technique, is a useful tool for using “on the job”.  While relaxation exercises should be part of the interpreters daily routine, Grotowski offers a way of dealing with sudden surges of stress that can happen when interpreters are working.

Sensitive subject matter can take interpreters by surprise and affect their ability to verbalise.

Normally we are able to maintain a separation between the general (others) and the particular (ourselves) because the brain can separate the two, however the Amygdala can allow our feelings to switch the parts of the brain that we’re using and an in certain circumstances can highjack our words.  A practical understanding of how the voice works and how speech is made together with instruction on how to place the voice in different areas of the body for different effect, is a helpful tool to any interpreter.
Contact Pamela Newman at the London Metropolitan at
interpreting-translating@londonmet.ac.uk to book a place on this course.

Recommended reading – Goldman – Emotional Intelligence