14 August: An interpreter’s working day
This day was devoted to lectures and course works as we had no scheduled landings. The morning was very ordinary. The hero of our story, Elena Kalinova, Interpreter and Expert of educational-methodological work, International Exams Center, woke up after ten alarm clocks had rung and went to have breakfast.
- There were not many people at breakfast and I was concentrated on my own thoughts completely dedicated to the lecture. Vasily Matonin was going to tell us about the shamanism of the Northern peoples, and I was to translate his lecture. Our foreign friends and I learnt a lot of interesting facts about indigenous people of the North.
Yesterday the preparations began with Lena going through the main points of the lecture with Vasily Matonin. She told me that interpreter’s work was often misunderstood. People think that an interpreter can translate everything at once but it is not like that. If you want to make a good translation you need to prepare for it. You need to make a terminological vocabulary of the lecture. Oral translation is an enormously stressful situation.
A lot of funny and curious things seem to happen in the interpreter’s life. But how can we handle these challenges without getting lost in the translation? During the lecture of Natalia Byzova a curious thing happened. Lena did not know to translate the word surge. It is a wave type, and she could have simply translates as the English word wave. Lena decided that surge must have something to do with the tide and translated it in this way. Two seconds later Natalia Byzova went on to say that surges could form during low tide, and the interpreter told our foreign students with perfectly calm and straight face that there was a tide during low tide.
- During the simultaneous translation you do not have the time to correct your mistakes. Instead you should just keep on translating, otherwise you might miss something while trying to explain your past mistakes, - said Elena.
After the lectures our explorers started their group work. Lena joined the foreign students, as they continued their history and law research.
- I was interested in their interaction, in how they establish contact after two weeks on board working together.
In the evening we were present at the gathering with Mikhail Kozhukhov, who told us about his journeys, his life and people he had met. Mikhail also collects national weapons. In his collection he has a kris (a dagger with flame shaped blade). He told us that it is not allowed to unsheathe and sheathe this weapon without sprinkling it with blood.
- I saw him in a different light during this presentation. It seems to me that he really does not like to play to the audience. It seems important for him to speak face-to-face. I think this is characteristic of people who really have something to tell.
We will be home in a few days and people are getting homesick. Some people are missing their family, while others don’t ever want to get off the RV Professor Molchanov.
- Yesterday I went to the deck without my jacket for the first time in a while. I was so surprised that it was not freezing outside. It was so great and it seemed to me that I could feel the vessel going south and getting closer to home. I am very sentimental and I think that this expedition has changed me and the way I see the world around me.