The Queensland Branch’s Chair, Carina Mackenzie, had often heard of ‘in-person practice groups’ for conference interpreters taking place in Europe – so she was very excited when she discovered one was being organised closer to home, in the state-of-the-art facilities at RMIT.
In February this year I had the pleasure of travelling to Melbourne to participate in the OzTerps conference interpreting workshop at RMIT University.
It was an excellent three-day program put together by two experienced practitioners, Jemma Ives and Rebeca Paredes Nieto.
Eleven of us – from five different language groups: Spanish, French, Arabic, Mandarin and Japanese – turned up for the workshop eager-eyed on a Thursday morning in early February.
We’d been instructed to prepare four speeches each before the event, on any topics of interest to us. These would become the raw material for the workshops.
Each day was divided into four sessions, and in each session we either delivered a speech, or practised simultaneous interpreting, simultaneous with text, long consecutive or relay. If we weren’t interpreting, we were tasked with listening to colleagues so we could provide constructive feedback.
The time allocated to provide feedback after each speech was just long enough to discuss the use of terms and expressions, voice modulation, techniques for fast, slow and complex or dense speeches, the particular difficulties of a specific text, chunking, making simple ideas out of complex information, decalage, keeping listeners engaged and much more.
It was so wonderful to get tips and feedback in this safe space where there is no judgement. As we were all working on different areas of our interpreting skills, it didn’t matter that participants were all at different levels. We also had a wide variety of interesting topics to interpret, depending on the interests of each colleague.
In addition to the three jam-packed days of interpreting, we squeezed a good deal of chatting into tea breaks and lunch. Jemma and Rebeca also organised welcome drinks and dinner at fabulous venues for two of the evenings.
These more relaxed social moments gave us time to get to know each other and have lively discussions about our industry from various points of view, from newcomers to those who have been in the industry for umpteen years.
I felt very inspired and invigorated after the three days, and will definitely be attending similar workshops in the future. It really motivated me to get back into practice, so I can return to the booth with confidence now that in-person conferences are back on the table.
Carina Mackenzie is a Spanish interpreter and translator certified by both NAATI and the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She studied conference interpreting in her fourth year in the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting at the University of Granada, Spain, and completed a postgraduate certificate in interlingual respeaking with the University of Vigo, Spain in 2021. Also certified as a CIOL public service interpreter in English law, Carina currently chairs AUSIT’s QLD Branch and works as a community interpreter and translator.
If you’d like to hear about the next Ozterps workshop (dates TBC), express your interest here.