Wednesday, June 27, 2012

#IntJC and The daily Life of Misinterpretation


There must be two categories of things you don't know. Things you have never heard about, and things you thought you knew but you were wrong about all the way through. Clarification of things occupies a large part of daily life and is so much part of daily communication, ins't it to you too? You and I cannot keep focused on "the meaning of speech" as when we deliver interpretation, whatever the format or setting is. 24 hours of constant focusing would be the killer application indeed. Exhaustion guaranteed.

Yesterday, reading a much interesting book "The Portuguese - A Modern History" by Barry Hatton, I discovered the origin of the city called Bombay as coming from the Portuguese "bom baim" meaning "good little bay", as it was coined by Portuguese explorers sometimes in the end of the 15th century. This I didn't know.

I also had a much interesting video chat with Spain, where I discovered to my dismay that you could think that #IntJC, the Interpreting Journal Club, is a group video or an audio chat of some sort. You can see that as a result here I modified the short intro of the initiative on the dedicated web site.

Misinterpretation is a daily feature. One unknown reader in France contacted me recently because she would like to learn Japanese and turn an interpreter in the future. But she aptly wrote in her message that "I still don't understand what you are actually doing". The standard reaction would be: "It's written down there: just read it please!".  But in fact, she is right, things are left unclear, and grumbling or sighing, or both, at the confusion between translating and interpreting is a standard topic when you have nothing better to blog about.

So for now on, the required answer to such genuine and sincere inquiry must be :"I am glad you asked!", because asking is the first step to dialog. It opens up an opportunity to explain, and words alone as it is here may be loosing ground to no longer alternate means of communication like video or audio based pitches.

So I am glad you asked, and I am glad you told me about the confusion, the wrong perception you had at the beginning about the format of #IntJC, because this may be the symptom of something broader.

#IntJCI, The Interpreting Journal Club is one of those rare venues where you can come clad in pajama, tuxedo or astronaut gear, because it is strictly text based, for the time being.

Sometimes in the future, that is starting now, I would like to consider having a follow-up session with a maximum of 10 active participants, as the technology seems to currently allow, sometimes after the Twitter text chat session, for those willing to go deeper into things.

In the meantime, come online, in cosplay or casual gears, and participate to the coming Twitter text chat based session of The Interpreting Journal Club this coming Saturday.

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