Volume 13, No. 1 
January 2009


Arlene Kelly


Front Page

Select one of the previous 46 issues.

Index 1997-2009

TJ Interactive: Translation Journal Blog

  Translator Profiles
On the Name of God, Jim Knopf, Passion, the Mind, and Being a Translator
by Jost Zetzsche

  The Profession
The Bottom Line
by Fire Ant & Worker Bee
Statement to the Profession
by Dr. Erik Camayd-Freixas

  Technical Translation
Recursos en línea relacionados con el ámbito marítimo y naval
M.™ Blanca Mayor Serrano, Ph.D.

  Financial Translation
La ironía en el discurso financiero y su traducción
José Ramón Calvo Ferrer

  Medical Translation
The Bellicose Character of Medical Prose
by Rafael A. Rivera, M.D., FACP

  Cultural Aspects of Translation
The Challenges of Translating "I" in Japanese Academic Texts
by Stephen Pihlaja

  Nuts and Bolts of Translation
English Phrasal Verbs in Bilingual English-Arabic Dictionaries
by Dr. Ali Yunis Aldahesh
Twelve Ways to Enhance Translation Quality
by Danilo Nogueira and Kelli Semolini
Der portugiesische persönliche Infinitiv und seine Übersetzungsmöglichkeiten
Katrin Herget, Holger Proschwitz

  Advertising Translation
Translating Publicity Texts in the Light of the Skopos Theory: Problems and Suggestions
by Wang Baorong

  Book Reviews
La evaluación en los estudios de traducción e interpretación por María-José Varela Salinas,
reseñada por Cristina Plaza Lara

His Majesty, The Interpreter: The Fascinating World of Simultaneous Translation by Ewandro Magalh„es Jr.
reviewed by Arlene M. Kelly

  Literary Translation
Reading and Translating Kate Chopin's The Awakening as a Non-Feminist Text
by Yi-ping Wu and Wen-chun Tsai

  Translator Education
How to Avoid Errors in Translation from English
by Nitaya Suksaeresup and Tipa Thep-Ackrapong

  Translators' Tools
Translators’ Emporium
Effective Terminology Management Using Computers
by Sanaa Benmessaoud

  Caught in the Web
Web Surfing for Fun and Profit
by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Translators’ On-Line Resources
by Gabe Bokor
Translators’ Best Websites
by Gabe Bokor

Letters to the Editor

Call for Papers and Editorial Policies
  Translation Journal

Book Review

His Majesty, The Interpreter: The Fascinating World of Simultaneous Translation

by Ewandro Magalh„es Jr.

reviewed by Arlene M. Kelly

Original title:Sua Majestade, O Intérprete
By: Ewandro Magalhães, Jr.
Publisher:Parábola Editorial
ISBN-13: 978-85-88456-59-4
Number of pages: 232
Price (in Brazil): R$19.90


t a meeting of the Portuguese Language Division some time ago, Tereza Braga, a former administrator of the Division, sang the praises of a book written in Portuguese about the translation and interpreting professions. When Gabe Bokor asked me to review a copy of it, I jumped at the chance. Expectations were high for this small volume whose title translates: "His Majesty, the Interpreter: the Fascinating World of Simultaneous Translation." And, overall, my expectations were not disappointed.

The skills required for interpreting and translation are not identical.
Ewandro Magalhães Jr., in his biographical recounting of his entry into this fascinating world, reveals a path taken by the majority of working interpreters in the world today. He fell into it, unaware of the rivalries, the efforts to professionalize the field both through professional organizations and professionals lobbying for and staffing training programs. He soon discovered that there are pitfalls and he has taken steps to become trained through his recent (2008) classes at the Monterey Institute.

Thankfully, in an early chapter aptly called: "Before They Crucify Me," the author, Ewandro Magalhães, Jr., proceeds to explain his interchangeable use of simultaneous translation and simultaneous interpretation to mean the same act. My own preference would be to maintain a somewhat more purist view here since one of the T&I professions' basic problems concerns understanding just what it is we do and how we do it all. And if one of our own perpetuates a basic misconception, our professional image takes another blow for inaccuracy. Perhaps, it is the conflict between the conference interpreter (Mr. Magalhães' works mainly in conference interpreting) and the court interpreter. Many hold the opinion that court interpreting has a higher level of accuracy. Be that as it may, the skills required for interpreting and translation are not identical, and I would have preferred to have the situation explained in a footnote, and of course, change the book title a tad.

From his start as an interpreter, Mr. Magalhães' career illustrates another major hazard of our profession: assumptions. The others (non-T&I professionals) seem to assume that interpreters are available at a moment's notice without any preparation of prior notice. In Mr. Magalhães' case, he truly was baptized by fire: his first major assignment fell out of the sky and put him between the president of (what he calls) the Parliament and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. He (Mr. M) was able to handle the small talk, had a bit of anxiety with the more technical aspect, and was beginning to feel comfortable as the jokes began when the president of the Parliament presented the Prince with the gift of a book about the Amazon Region. Ewandro chose not to relay the Prince's comment concerning what remains of that tropical area. Here, another clear division between conference, or in this case, more correctly diplomatic interpreting, and court interpreting. In court, we do not get to decide what to add and what to omit.

This experience launched him into a trajectory that has given him rare opportunities. Those recounted in his small, but well-written tome show him to be a thoughtful, reflective interpreter. He recognized the need for training, and as he touches upon in his book, the need for collegiality instead of rabid competition in the profession.

Traveling with Evandro through his experiences, philosophical detours and evolution as a professional leaves me looking forward to a second volume which he says he is preparing; this next one deals with training and I can't wait to read it!