“Necessity is the mother of invention”: the origins of simultaneous interpreting.

vanderelst-1Here I am to talk about interpreting once again, and again I have been inspired by something I have watched on the internet. I was looking for some material to use for the general post on which I am working, and I have found this wonderful video that I am linking here for all of you. It is a long video, but it is worth the time you spend to watch it. In fact, it is an amazing lesson about the history of simultaneous interpreting.

Many of you, maybe, think that simultaneous interpreting is the form of interpreting par excellence, but few of you know that it is the newest one. The truth is that simultaneous interpreting was invented during the Nuremberg Trials that followed World War II. This video presents us one of the first simultaneous interpreters in history, Siegfried Ramler, and he tells us about his experience at that moment, and he does it with plenty of particulars and anecdotes that make an incredible story even more interesting. It is a great speech, and a lucid analysis of the problems that the interpreters have to face when interpreting simultaneously, but also of the difficulties of doing it for the first time in history, and for such in important and delicate circumstance. Moreover, Mr Ramler also explains the problems related to his personal language combination, German into English.

My introduction to the video is really short, because I don’t feel the need to explain anything else, the speaker says everything there is to know, and he does it better that I could ever do. I hope you will enjoy this incredible historical document as much as I have.

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