When Interpreters are on the Antenna

During a professional Chinese interpreter‘s career, he/she may have the opportunity to work on television on multiple occasions. And no, we don’t mean to participate as actors or actresses, but to do our usual work as interpreters, only live for thousands of spectators.

By the way, and to avoid confusion, when a interpreter works on TV he is not dubbing, as I have also been told on another occasion. The work of a translator for dubbing has absolutely nothing to do with live simultaneous dubbing on television.

When Interpreters are on the Antenna

When working as a television interpreter, you have to take into account two factors that increase the already usual cabin stress. On the one hand, the decalage (lapse of time between the speaker’s speech and the interpreter’s translation) is much less than normally in a confe’ren’ce due to time pressure and live broadcast limitations. On the other hand, although in a conference the audience is usually made up of a few tens or hundreds of people, and rarely exceeds a thousand, at the moment you turn on the microphone on television you know that thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of people (in moments of raging news) will listen to your work, which is an additional pressure. And as it could not be otherwise, a few minutes later we begin to receive whatsapps from family and friends who want to make sure that, indeed, the voice they have just heard on television is yours.

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It’s also true that, after the first live experience and the usual nerves, performing on television has an advantage: you’re in a quiet environment without having direct contact with the audience. For some, as is my case, it ends up being similar to exercising alone at home when you are adding a new language to the combination.

In any case, despite its peculiarities, television interpretation is not so different from what we usually do in any booth, although with much more media coverage.