Challenges facing conference and television interpreters
Interpreting is a challenging task, involving difficulties with individual speakers, culture-bound references, environmental factors, to name a few, and even more so in the conference and television interpreting setting. This study aims to investigate the challenges facing conference and television (TV) interpreters and the strategies they employ when exposed to real-time conference or television settings. Though the focus is on interpreters, whose A language is Arabic, the research also highlights the difficulties encountered by interpreters in other language combinations as the majority of the challenges analysed reveal a common denominator among interpreters regardless of their mother tongue languages. The questionnaire was distributed and semi-structured interviews conducted both in person and online with experienced conference interpreters, including members of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) and United Nations (UN) certified interpreters, in an attempt to explore the broader challenges which could have an adverse impact on their performance, and the strategies they pursued to overcome such obstacles. The majority of respondents to the questionnaire and the interviewees shared their views on the best practices which they employ when they are interpreting. Serious challenges included speaker-related issues, culture-bound references, interpreting jokes, external factors such as background noise and interpreter-related factors. This study will be of interest to novice interpreters who have completed their professional training and are new to the interpreting booth. However, it may also be useful for more experienced colleagues, as an aide-mémoire covering best practice in the industry.