Booth Babble


Dear English-B Interpreter Friends,

(First, my short letter to you to using words from Post #7)

I am recanting my initial promise to make this a weekly post. It’s a lot for you to digest and for me to produce, so the posts will now be a fortnightly (or longer) phenomenon (and my apologies for starting a week late on this promise; work was a bit heavy).

I had the great pleasure of sharing the booth recently with the person who was the true inspiration for this blog. This colleague has a passion for English almost as wildly unbridled as my own and regularly sends me text messages with her creative booth solutions to complex speeches and incessant, harebrained questions from the audience. I said in my first post and must repeat: we interpreters serve the listener and are obliged to be subservient to the linguistic realities of our audience; if we are not interpreting for (or talking to) native English speakers, it behooves us to forgo erudite or sophisticated big booth words. Yet, in this particular recent event, those listening to the interpretation were highly educated US scientists and researchers, exactly the listeners for whom big booth words can and should be used. And my super Big Booth Words muse showed off her interpreting skill with aplomb without succumbing to sanctimonious show: a riveting booth performance that yours truly was delighted to witness.

Suggestions always welcome. Forwarding and sharing encouraged.

Happy words,
Melissa

P.S. To those of you who have graciously sent me word requests and digest suggestions, keep your eyes peeled for my inclusion of such in January.

*** FIVE WORDS (IN CONTEXT) TO BRING INTO THE BOOTH ***
SALIENT
* As used in the headline and body of this op-ed about Chinese diplomacy (#geopolitics)
* As an interpreting opportunity from this informal talk in Portuguese about what makes a great teacher (#education)
ref. “mas pais brilhantes vão muito além” (17:53) – what brilliant parents do is far more salient
BEGGAR (verb)
* As used in the title of this poem by New Zealand’s poet laureate Emma Neale, with a play on the word beggar (#art, #poetry)
* As an interpreting opportunity from a speech in Spanish eschewing a sedentary lifestyle (#medicine; #health)
ref. “… viene de …? En general no” (11:50) – Does it come from …? Well, that would beggar belief/plausibility
* Bonus: a quick history of “to beggar” outside the original meaning of becoming impoverished and easy explanation of how to use this verb.
SHOEHORN (verb)
* As used in this interesting RN exploration of the phenomenon of online book trailers (#technology, #business, #publishing)
PARSE
* As used in the summary of a GMACCC report on climate change and security in Africa (#environment, #geopolitics)
ESCHEW
* As used in the headline of this Wall Street Journal (!) article about giving up your daily shampoo (#beauty, #hygiene)

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