From Economics to Interpretation: A Transformative Journey of Language, Culture, and Communication

陳予睿, Interpretation Track

  As an individual with a background in economics, my journey into the world of interpreting and translation has been a transformative and enlightening experience. Initially already relatively fluent in English if I do say so myself, I embarked on this new educational path with the belief that interpreting is a comprehensive ability that is worth acquiring. Little did I know this venture would prove to be far more intricate and demanding than I originally anticipated.

  Coming from an economic background where grasping fundamental concepts and applying formulas was often sufficient as long as you are thorough in your first run, I quickly discovered that interpreting was an entirely different realm. While knowledge forms the foundation, it is merely one aspect of the multifaceted job. The true essence lies in the application of that knowledge, which necessitates an immense amount of dedication and effort. Deliberate practice is of utmost importance, not only for one to improve, but also to stop the skills from getting rusty, which can happen over the short span of several days.

  Unlike the mechanical nature of economics where theoretical understanding and formulaic calculations can often guarantee success, interpreting is an art that demands continuous practice and refinement. It requires the ability to seamlessly transition between languages, capturing the essence and nuances of the speaker’s message while ensuring effective communication. This process involves not only comprehending the words spoken but also understanding the underlying cultural context and subtext.

  The learning journey in interpreting has been an intricate dance between theory and practice. I immersed myself in language classes, studying linguistics, grammar, and syntax to fortify the foundation of my linguistic skills. Yet, it was during the practical application of these theories that I truly encountered the magnitude of the work involved. The intricacies of simultaneous interpretation where one listens, processes, and delivers the translated message in real time demanded an exceptional level of concentration, agility, and mental dexterity.

  Moreover, interpreting extended far beyond language proficiency alone. It required developing a comprehensive understanding of various fields of knowledge, as interpreters are often called upon to navigate complex subject matters. Whether it be legal proceedings, medical conferences, or business negotiations, the ability to grasp specialized vocabulary and concepts swiftly became an essential part of the job. As an economics graduate, I found myself delving into diverse areas such as law, medicine, technology, and more, expanding my horizons and broadening my intellectual repertoire. The process of acquiring proficiency in interpreting involved countless hours of practice, honing my skills through simulated scenarios and real-life assignments. Each experience brought its own unique set of challenges, allowing me to refine my techniques, overcome hurdles, and grow both personally and professionally. The constant pursuit of improvement became a fundamental part of my learning journey, and every success and setback served as a stepping stone toward mastery, hopefully.

  Though none are easy, one of the most demanding aspects of interpreting lies in the realm of non-verbal communication and the ability to detach oneself from personal biases. While language fluency and subject matter expertise are crucial, the interpreter must also consider the tone of their voice and its pleasantness to the ear. This requires conscious attention to vocal modulation, clarity, and overall delivery. Furthermore, separating oneself from the speaker can be a daunting task, especially for someone like me, coming from a background that encourages critical analysis and a cynical view of issues. In the realm of interpreting, impartiality and neutrality are paramount. It demands constant vigilance to inhibit personal criticism, ensuring that the message is faithfully conveyed without any biased interpretation.

  While the path has been arduous, the rewards have been immeasurable. Through interpreting, I have had the privilege of bridging gaps in communication and facilitating understanding between individuals who may otherwise struggle to connect. Beyond the immediate gratification of knowing that I helped in the communication process, interpreting has also opened doors to new opportunities and expanded my career prospects. The ability to navigate between languages and cultures has equipped me with a valuable skill set that transcends boundaries and offers a global perspective. It has fostered personal growth, enhancing my empathy, adaptability, and cultural sensitivity, attributes that prove invaluable in an increasingly interconnected world.

  In conclusion, my transition from an economics background to the realm of interpreting and translation has been a remarkable journey. From recognizing the stark differences in approach to embracing the immense work required, every step has been transformative. The combination of language proficiency, subject matter expertise, and the art of communication has been interesting and inspiring at the same time. As I continue to evolve and refine my skills, I am grateful for the opportunities this path has afforded me and excited to contribute to the ever-expanding realm of interpretation and translation.