Aspies as Interpreters or Translators?

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About_A_Girl
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04 Jul 2010, 6:10 am

Hi, I am new here and this is my first post.
I come from a country (not English-speaking so pls ignore my grammar) where Asperger's is still a very very new concept limited to a few movie lovers and the professionals of psychology...(To be honest, I myself have come to know Asperger first time because of Mary and Max/Adam) But learning about it has cleared many clouds of my 21 years of life.

My question is that as an aspie, can I make a good interpreter or translator? I know that the idea that an aspie->interpreter sounds almost paradoxical, but I really love the dynamics of this job. One thing I love it is because of the language aspect of course, which is my love of life. I just wish someone can tell me whether it's ever possible for an aspie to achieve a career that intense and demanding in interpersonal communication. Or should I just change gear and go into something that is more of an alone job like linguistics and law?



Asp-Z
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04 Jul 2010, 6:14 am

She'll probably reply to this post herself when she comes online, but one of my Aspie friends is obsessed with languages and wants to be a translator. Since it involves interpreting and repeating in a different language, not having a social conversation yourself, I don't see how Asperger's would stop you from doing it.



About_A_Girl
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04 Jul 2010, 6:23 am

Thanks for replying so soon :o

I also think the part of literary repetition/paraphrasing another person's speech is fascinating instead of scary...One of the reason I chose Translation Studies as my undergrad major.

Looking forward to your friend's reply.



Prksrbrt
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04 Jul 2010, 8:00 am

I for one think it's a definite yes, i personally want to be a business translator. Remember to stay awesome.



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04 Jul 2010, 10:29 am

A have a friend who has a son who I strongly suspect is Aspie. He can speak Mandarin like a native, an he is an American. His trouble is the fact that he faces such discrimination by government agencies due to medical problems.


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Jaydee
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07 Jul 2010, 5:27 am

About_A_Girl wrote:
Hi, I am new here and this is my first post.
I come from a country (not English-speaking so pls ignore my grammar) where Asperger's is still a very very new concept limited to a few movie lovers and the professionals of psychology...(To be honest, I myself have come to know Asperger first time because of Mary and Max/Adam) But learning about it has cleared many clouds of my 21 years of life.

My question is that as an aspie, can I make a good interpreter or translator? I know that the idea that an aspie->interpreter sounds almost paradoxical, but I really love the dynamics of this job. One thing I love it is because of the language aspect of course, which is my love of life. I just wish someone can tell me whether it's ever possible for an aspie to achieve a career that intense and demanding in interpersonal communication. Or should I just change gear and go into something that is more of an alone job like linguistics and law?

It depends, About A Girl. :) You may very well become an excellent interpreter if you are comfortable with proximity to other people that find themselves in a difficult and sometimes traumatic situation (be it prisoners in a prison cell, people in hospital, etc.), if you don't mind eye contact, and if you're not too bad at reading body language correctly. Body language is actually very important even if you are to interpret meaning expressed through words. If you also think you can master the art of speaking at the same time as you're listening and translating the words inside your head (simultaneous interpretation), and you have an excellent memory (consecutive interpretation) then you're absolutely good to go.
Many colleagues of mine prefer to work with translating written material, so as to avoid the stress that may arise from interpretation jobs. I work as an interpreter, and work mainly for the courts and the police, but also for the health and social services. Good luck with finding out what to go for! :)



gina-ghettoprincess
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07 Jul 2010, 11:24 am

I want to translate writing, not speech, because I worry that I wouldn't cope well under the pressure.


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Leiservampir
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08 Jul 2010, 3:15 pm

When we moved to Sweden, before my mother could understand Swedish, I had to translate all the time (I know it's not the same thing, but almost)
The only problems I myself found were
1. Being able to come up with the right word fast enough
2. Making sure I got everything said across properly.

But those were both due to my non-fluent speech, so I reckon as long as you can speak the language properly, you're all set :D


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Suiseiten
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09 Jul 2010, 12:34 am

Everyone has their talents and aspirations. From the time I was in High School, I wanted to be multilingual and look into worldwide travel, but when I found out that I could do that and make money, I thought I wanted to be a translator.

However- and this is over 8 years before I was diagnosed- I always lacked a certain social ability. I know my words and even now, I can likely hold a conversation in French and a lesser one in German. But if I can't hold a conversation in English, how can I hold one in another language? I have problems with jumping in or even keeping interested when it doesn't engage me, so how would I be able to help someone else? I lost my confidence in class in more recent times- the place where I was most confident in my skills.

My point is that so long as your skills are strong with what you are doing and you are confident in your translations, why wouldn't you be able to go through with them?



Dantac
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10 Jul 2010, 11:07 pm

If you like it, go for it.. or for something language-related.


Just keep in mind that translators today are being phased out by technology. Some translation software ive seen is incredibly good and misses out only on cultural references/jargon (which any translator will also likely miss unless they've lived for a long time in the country where the language is spoken).



Aspiegirl89
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29 Jul 2010, 10:05 am

I think my AS has helped me figure out a system for linguistics- I now speak 6 languages relatively fluently and work for a translation company in my home country. I say go for it!


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Nakereba
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13 Jun 2017, 5:00 am

Hi,

I realise that this post is quite dated, but I came across it whilst running a google search. Of course 'aspies' can work as interpreters and translators. In fact I might argue that due to the cognitive profile you might quite possibly make and excellent interpreter. It is not so much about facial expression and eye contact as it is about memory and encoding this into your target language. Of course cultural knowledge is a requisite. There are also a number of contingencies it depends on the setting. In fact, if you were in a courtroom where things are formal and it is pretty procedural I would say little to no eye contact is required.

I am in my early thirties and due to sit an interpreting exam in the next couple of weeks. I love languages, although it is inadvertently my second love! I am bilingual though but I can pick up accents quite well ;)

Good luck. And don't listen to people.



Nakereba
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13 Jun 2017, 5:22 am

For inspiration. Also thought this would be quite interesting.
The CIOL has an article on their website at the moment called 'The story of a special test taker' about a translator with cerebral palsy - apparently you can post URL's on here.