Monday, June 22, 2015


For all the zone meetings and mission conferences and what not in our
mission, it's done in English with someone interpreting it
simultaneously into Japanese for the native missionaries.  The mission
office has a set of interpreter devices (radio receivers with
earphones for the listeners, and a transmitter with a microphone for
the interpreter), and for most meetings the interpretation is done by
older missionaries (or missionaries who happen to be at least fairly
fluent in both languages).  When a General Authority comes, usually
interpretation is done by a member who does interpretation

(By the way, "translation" is for written language, and
"interpretation" is for spoken language.)

I got invited to an interpreters' training last week, and it was a
really good experience.  A lot of the principles we talked about apply
to missionary work and to life in general.

Japanese and English are some of the hardest languages to interpret
into each other.  In order to get the meaning across with our
abilities without falling too far behind, we usually have to simplify
and sometimes reduce to the most important parts of each sentence.  We
just have to remember (and this is one of the principles I really
liked) that they'd rather get 40% or 50% than 0%, so we just work to
get that percentage as high as possible and let the rest go.  It's
like that in missionary work or the rest of life; there's a lot of
things we just can't get perfect, but when it has to be done, 70% or
50% or 30% is better than 0%.

Some other principles were things like understanding the speaker's
feelings and what not, and imagining how what you're saying sounds
from the listener's perspective.  Brother Wessman (who was giving the
training) said that changing complex sentences to simple ones is the
same skill as tailoring the message of the Gospel to people who aren't
familiar with it already.

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