As an interpreter most of the time during simultaneous interpreting, a booth for the interpreting process is needed. The typical interpreting booth has a large clear glass screen in the front. This is important, as it will help the interpreter see the speaker and will help intepreters have a better visual of what is going on outside the booth.
In the booth, an interpreting system equipped with a microphone, a headset, a control console, and sometimes, a monitor is present. This will allow the interpreter to have a closer look at the speaker. The interpreting system has, usually, a mute button that will help the interpreter to block any unwanted sound or noises when he or she needs to converse with other interpreters.
During the interpreting process inside the booth, the interpreter via headsets, listens to the speaker or speakers and simultaneously interprets into a microphone. The participants of the event or the audience can only hear the interpretation via the headsets which are provided before the event begins. This helps minimize disturbance whether for the interpreter or the audience.
In simultaneous interpreting (SI), the interpreter immediately speaks the message in the target-language whilst listening to it in the source language.
Standard practice in the industry is that there should be two individuals. These professional sits in a closed space or booth, where they listen to the speech via headphones, and interprets (translates orally) simultaneously. Conference participants or delegates wear headsets to listen in to the language of their choice.
During the month of April 2012, I had the opportunity to do this project in a country I never thought I would visit. The project was in South Africa, in Johannesburg and Sun City. As the project is in a different country to where I live I had to travel to the place.
It took almost a day to reach the site. We flew from Jakarta and stopped for transit in Doha, Qatar. We flew with Qatar Airways. In Doha we had to wait for almost seven hours until the flight to Johannesburg leaves. We stayed in the airport transit area in Doha. The airport transit area was nice. We had offer to recommend a different flight that would be shorter in waiting but the client took a different decision. Anyhow, we left for Johannesburg in the morning local time.
The flight was not that packed, so some passengers moved to other seats to sleep. It was overall a long journey for us.
We arrived in Johannesburg in the afternoon. We were picked up and brought to the hotel. Almost an hour after we reached the hotel, we had time to freshen up and we were ready for our work. The simultaneous interpreting site is about five minutes from our rooms. It was in the same location.
We set ourselves in the booth. There were one other pair, English – Portuguese. We were done in about two hours or so.
The next day we moved hotels to a different place, Sun City. Sun City is a holiday resort. It was an experience that I can never forget.
In the evening we started our work, there were some more language pairs French, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian. We started around 6 pm and lasted until 9 pm.
The next day was a full event. We started around 8 am until 4 pm. It was exhausting.
The last day we had to leave early after breakfast and was on our way back to Jakarta, Indonesia. By far this has been an amazing experience for me and my new found colleague and a friend.