The south China sea: disputes, risks and diplomacy
Some interpreting practice.


Interpreting Practice: IMF Annual Meeting

Some speeches from the IMF / World Bank meeting, recently held in Tokyo. One speaker is a French Woman, the other a Chinese man, both speeches are in English though. I hope this kind of thing doesn’t continue, we interpreters will be out work of it does…

Can Banks Regain Public Trust?

Before you try interpreting this speech, let me tell you a story.

Imagine you’re going out for a night on the town. You take your wallet and your keys off the dresser table as you leave the door. You look in your wallet and notice you have quite a lot of cash in there. You don’t want to carry too much, what if something happens? You have a good idea of how much you’re going to spend, but what if you need to get a taxi home? What if you feel like a fancy beer instead of the cheap, on tap stuff? How much extra money are you going to carry around with you for unforseen contingencies?

Why am I mentioning this? Well, our speaker mentions the Basel Accords, and the fact that they stipulate how much of a ‘capital cushion’ (his words) banks must have. A few minutes of Googling and I’m pretty sure this ‘capital cushion’ is analogous to the ‘carrying around money’ I talked about above; money that is there just in case. It seems like a good idea to me; if you’re in hock up to your eyeballs (economists call it “excessively leveraged”) it’s a good idea to have something in your back pocket in case someone unexpectedly asks for their money back.

I wasn’t sure how to interpret “cushion” so I sniffed around Google. For the record, Chinese does have a word for the thing you sit on, but ‘capital cushion’ literally translated is just confusing. Wikipedia let me know that a “capital cushion” was actually something to do with a “capital adequacy rate”, something that does have a Chinese equivalent: 资本充足率.

All in all, I think I got through this alright, but it was a struggle sometimes. Good luck in your practice.

U.S.-China Relations and the 18th Party Congress: Uncertainty Amidst Political Transition

More interpreting practice. An event from the folks at csis. You can probably guess what they are talking about by the topic above!

For those looking to practice, find the mp3 at this page. Just fyi, there are three speakers and a question session, the first and third speak really quickly but the second at a more measured pace.

OZ PM at UN GA & Chunking

The Australian Julia Gillard recently addressed the UN General Assembly.

Find the mp3 here. And the transcript here.

There are some tricky parts for simultaneous interpreters!

One of the things we do is “chunking”. – Basically taking long sentences and cutting them up.

So a long sentence like this:

Our support for the right of Israel and its people to exist in security and peace is an historic commitment in Australian policy and it will endure.

Might get chunked into this:

We support Israel. Its people have the right to exist, to security, and to peace. This is a historic commitment. It is part of Australian policy. It will endure.

Or, the equivalent in a language other than English.

The really hard bits are the flowery language where it’s just so hard to understand what she’s getting at.

826th UN Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East

It’s often hard to find Chinese language interpreting practice material. The UN recently helped us trainee interpreters out by publishing an mp3 of a meeting in which Ambassador Li Baodong speaks at the Security Council. I’ve put a link to the mp3, at around 3 hours and 8 minutes.

The mp3 can be found here. It is on the UN News & Media Audio Library, which requires you to sign up for an account before you can download it. Don’t worry, it only takes a minute.

The transcript can be found here with the title 常驻联合国代表李保东大使在安理会表决英国等提交的叙利亚问题决议草案后的解释性发言.