2010年07月31日

human relations

One of the things I love about being an interpreter is that my job is finished as soon as a meeting is over. Other participants need to create the meeting’s minutes, compile a report or come up with action plans. Meanwhile I don’t have any take-away from the meeting I need to worry about and tomorrow is really another day. I love the moment when I can tear my memo into pieces and throw it away to a recycle bin. I also like the fact that I can keep a distance from business. Because I am just facilitating communication, not facilitating operations or processes themselves, I don’t get engaged in business as other people do. I can be interested in business but I can also be indifferent to it. I have no responsibility for business and I get no pressure. However, there is one thing I have to deal with. I cannot get away from human relations. Typically human relations at work are quite tricky. There is a certain degree of competition or tension. Interpreters are well known as being competitive but that’s not just among interpreters but really working people in general. It’s not only about who is more competent but also about who is well-liked by superiors, who is more popular, or who has more network/connection.
I started to notice this tension or competition among people probably because I am no longer working for someone exclusively. When I was working as an assistant, I was protected by my boss and the only person I need to think about was my boss. Because I was always with my boss and had certain influence over him, people never said or did things that would upset me. Now working as a sort of roving interpreter/translator, I feel that I am more exposed and I started to pay more attention to human relations. I see intricacies of human relationships here and there. I figure I was quite ignorant of human relations in the past and am now belatedly experiencing them. I hope my ignorance and straightforwardness won’t upset or hurt other people.
posted by バナナマフィン at 12:32| 東京 🌁| Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 日記 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年07月29日

word list

One of the problems for an in-house interpreter is the fact that you can survive meetings without creating a word list. That is in fact the beauty of in-house interpreters. You can get involved with similar kinds of meetings on a regular basis and you are allowed to familiarize yourself with technical words over time. Hence you never create your word list. That is probably why it is hard for me to work on vocabulary when I get a freelance assignment since I don’t know how to tackle with new words and phrases. I used to create a word list because I saw many interpreters creating word lists of their own in excel spreadsheet and I thought that was what you do when you work as an interpreter. But somehow the method did not agree with me. I was never able to establish my word list. I think I realized that the approach is not working for me and that I am a kind of person who needs to write it down by hand in order to memorize it. Typing is different from handwriting and I need to HAND WRITE things to get them. As time goes by, however, I feel like creating my word list because there are so many useful expressions I want to keep and I don’t want to lose them. But I dislike excel spreadsheet. As a result, I decided to create my word list by handwriting words on my notepad. It is very old-fashioned but it works for me.
posted by バナナマフィン at 17:59| 東京 ☔| Comment(2) | TrackBack(0) | 日記 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年07月25日

Ginza cafe

When you go to Ginza, it is extremely hard to find a nice café to have a cup of coffee and a good chat with your friends. I wonder why. There seem to be plenty of cafés and restaurants in Ginza but they are always busy and you just cannot find a seat there. When I went there a couple of weeks ago, my friend and I , as expected, wandered around to find a place to relax and cool ourselves. Luckily we found a nice place at the center of Ginza. It’s called Suzu café and its atmosphere was very soothing. It’s quite spacious and you can also have lunch there. We were there for more than 2 hours but did not feel uncomfortable. It’s quite amazing to feel that way at a café in Ginza. I always thought that Ginza is a nice place to have lunch but bad place to have coffee, especially on the weekend. Not anymore. Oh, I also found another good café in Ginza. It’s called Dole café and you can have a very nice, fresh fruit juice there. You should try.
posted by バナナマフィン at 10:09| 東京 ☀| Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 日記 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年07月24日

The chicken or the egg

People say that you have to improve your reading skills in order to improve your listening skills. Listening to the news 100 times doesn't do you any good if you don't understand words or phrases in the news. Is it also true to speaking/writing skills? Do you have to focus on your writing skills in order to brush up your speaking skills? This is the question I have been asking myself lately. I realized quite a while ago how important it is to improve reading skills to enhance your overall English level but I was never sure if it is also the case with speaking/writing skills.

The other day, I had lunch with my friend. She is someone I always love to see and we meet each other once in every 2 or 3 months. During our lunch, I brought up the topic and asked her opinion about it. She said, “I strongly believe that you have to be able to read it first in order to be able to listen to it. That is for sure, but I don't know if that is true for speaking skills. I know that if you can say what you want to say in English, then you should be able to write it in English, too. But you may not be able to say what you want to say in English in the way you want, even if you can write what you want to say in English.” I said to her, “You can be right. Maybe there is a stronger correlation between reading and listening skills but I still think that there should be an interrelation between speaking and writing skills. Probably it is not not 1 to 1 relationship but 5 to 1 or 10 to 1. If your writing skills are 100%, your speaking skills are 50% or less.” That is certainly my case.

I guess I am trying to find logic on this and trying to find a faster, better way to boost my Japanese-English interpreting skills. But obviously there is no “magic”to make it happen.
posted by バナナマフィン at 07:50| 東京 ☀| Comment(0) | TrackBack(0) | 日記 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年07月10日

ニュービジネスモデル

先日記載したインド人との電話会議について会社の通訳仲間と話をした。彼は「インド英語は別の言語として認定されるべきで、英語通訳者ではなくてインド英語通訳者という新たなカテゴリーを設けるべきだと思う」といった。なるほど。確かにインド英語は本当に特殊で難しいので通訳者にとっては要注意英語である。でもそういってしまうと中国英語も難解だしフランス英語も手ごわい。同じ英語でもアイルランド人の英語もまたまたチャレンジングである。ただインド英語は特にシステム関連の通訳をする場合は避けて通れない。外資系企業のシステムエンジニアの多くはインド人である。ここを専門にすればもしかして「インド英語の得意な英語通訳者」として売り出せるかしら。とはいいつつ、あまりインド英語に使ってしまうとあの妙な巻き舌発音がうつってしまいそうだしなんとも悩ましいところである。
posted by バナナマフィン at 10:56| 東京 🌁| Comment(2) | TrackBack(0) | 日記 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年07月04日

夏は勉強がしたくなる

通訳学校は半期ごとのクラスを設けているところが多いが、タームの間や夏休みなどを利用してサマーコースなどを開講することが多い。私は以前から何度かこのサマー(ウィンター)コースを受講しているが最近スクールからサマーコースの案内が届いたこともあって、この夏のコースにも少し興味がわいてきた。サマーコースはわりとトピックが細かく分かれており、期間も短いし値段も手ごろとあって受講しやすいようにもみえるが日程が固定されているため自分の予定をぶつかってしまうことも多い。どうしようかな…と悩みつつ、本日その中の一つのコースの説明を受けに行ってきた。コースは基本的には先生次第なので説明を聞いても正直良く分からないが、それでも簡単なレベルチェックをされたりして少し緊張するのが心地良かったりする。私ってやっぱりオタクだわ、と思いつつ通訳学校を卒業してからの勉強の仕方の難しさを改めて感じた。もし通訳のスキルがよく例えられるピアノやバレエと同じ種類のものであるとすれば日々の訓練を欠かしてはいけないはずだ。そう考えると学校を卒業してから一気に落ちてしまった勉強のペースに焦りを感じる。自己満足の勉強法ではなくて自分の弱点に特化した勉強をしたいと思うが、そういったかなりピンポイント的なクラスや講座は沢山はない。となるとやっぱり自分で勉強法を編み出すしかないのかもしれないけれど、誰かに指摘してもらいたいという思いは常にある。そういう意味でもこういったサマーコースで刺激をもらうのはいいことだと思う。
posted by バナナマフィン at 22:00| 東京 🌁| Comment(2) | TrackBack(0) | 日記 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2010年07月01日

沈黙…

チャレンジングな電話会議だとは聞いていたが、本当にそうだった。財務システム関連の電話会議と聞けばそれだけで一瞬たじろぐが、相手はそう、恐怖のインド人。システム関連の会議の入ればインド人との対決は避けられないが、背景知識をもってすれば何とかなる部分もかなりある。でも今回はそれすら無しで入ったらやっぱり撃沈してしまった。たまにアメリカ人が発言するとそこだけ嬉々として訳すが、インド人が一旦話し出すと眉間にしわが寄ってしまい、そして無言。あー、本当に情けないと思う反面、仕方がないかなとも思ったりする。せめてもう少し事前勉強しておけば少しは違っていたかもしれない。…いや、結局は同じだったか。
posted by バナナマフィン at 23:14| 東京 ☀| Comment(2) | TrackBack(0) | 日記 | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

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