A Finland Swede in Bavaria

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Out of Ukraine: On sequential interpretation, non-smoking and "Europe"


This was my third time in Ukraine. I had been in Ukraine in August 2000, and in March this year. Compared to earlier times, this visit had about 100% less tourism and quite a bit more business interaction.

I had the opportunity to talk to Ukrainian Sun customers, presenting for the first time since many years using sequential interpretation. I say something, и переводчик переводит мне, and then I say something else, который является также перевод переводчик. You get the picture. It provides for some advantages:

  • it gives the audience two chances of getting the message

  • it gives the speaker time to think about what to say next

  • it gives the speaker a fair chance of catching at least some of the incorrect translations

  • it saves cost (no electronic gadgets needed)

  • it ensures that the speaker won't speak so fast as for the simultaneous interpreters to lose half of the message


The obvious disadvantage of sequential interpretation is that it takes more time than simultaneous interpretation.

A private observation: I would hope for a quick adoption of Ukraine into the EU, and EU wide non-smoking legislation. Now that even Germany smells good, it's time also for the rest of Europe to stop inducing unnecessary headaches to innocent bystanders, to provide for the undisturbed enjoyment of food, and to promote the freedom to breathe. (Ne paliti in Ukrainian = ne kurit in Russian).

Another private observation: Ukraine and Finland have several things in common (beyond having Russia as a neighbouring country). One of these commonalities is referring to the rest of Europe as "Europe", as if we weren't part of it ourselves. "I will travel to Europe". "When were you last in Europe?". That wording was more prevalent in Finland 10-20 years ago, so perhaps there is hope for both of our countries to be slightly less self deprecating over time.

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  1. [...] Out of Ukraine: On sequential interpretation, non-smoking and the concept of “Europe” as interpreted in Ukraine and Finland [...]

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