【Interpreting】Competing for that Next Cross-Strait Trophy

Reflection of Attending the 2019 Interpreting Competition

蘇琬淳Jaeden (口譯組 碩一)

Before entering GPTI, or even after as well, I often wondered what it’s like for one to work in the same booth with their professors or seniors from their interpreting school. I get such anxiety just thinking about working in the presence of interpreters that are way more experienced than I am, in spite of what a privilege that is.

That would explain how nervous entering the interpreting competition made me feel. As a novice in the field and in GPTI, I was petrified to make mistakes in front of all the brilliant interpreters in the room, something I was bound to do as I hadn’t even learned how to properly take CI notes. And to my horror, not only was my performance far from perfect, during the last part I went on “interpreting” in English for as long as 11 seconds before realizing I should’ve been speaking in Mandarin. My brain still replays that moment for me, with high definition and multiple slow-motion angles, whenever my anxiety decides to let me know its opinion on my potential interpreting career.

All theatrics aside, I was very glad that I signed up and participated in the competition. It was a great learning experience. As I watched the second year and third year students interpret, I saw the many things I could work on and also what I might be able to achieve after more training. Seeing things in action and also doing it myself was humbling, yet also encouraging and exciting. When I started interpreting on stage I felt the adrenaline coursing through my body and opening up my senses so that I could catch an amount of information I would not normally be confident in catching. Despite this, I was also sparing way too much of my energy just to contain it so that my brain wouldn’t go completely blank. So, I realized it would be something that I would have to learn to utilize and control to make the best of it and not have it jeopardize my performance.

Overall, I am really thankful for this opportunity. In addition to very insightful feedback from the judges, I picked up many things that I wouldn’t necessarily get to learn just from having to step on the stage embracing whatever might come no matter how ill-prepared I felt. Sitting in the audience after my turn, still buzzing from the adrenaline from being on stage, I saw all these fellow interpreters shine as they listened intently and their pens glided across the notepad, helping them transform information into thoughts and into interpretation. I was in awe. What a craft interpreting is. I cannot wait to get better.