Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Interpreting and Translating

Tonight after work, I had the wonderful pleasure of going to the BYU Interpretation and Translation Club for the first time. And yes, it was most definitely a pleasure. There wasn't too much format to the meeting, though. In fact, there was completely no format to the meeting. Basically, each attendee sat at a computer with huge, padded earphones on his (or her) head and practiced interpreting past general conference talks. There was only three of us in attendance tonight and each spoke a different language, but it was a lot of fun (I speak Chinese). I will most assuredly plan on going again in future weeks.

So, what did I learn while practicing interpreting? Let me tell you.
  1. It is not easy, by any means.
  2. Interpreting in Chinese is 100 times harder than interpreting in other languages. (This is because I can barely read the language much less read it at the same pace that the speaker is going.)
  3. It's going to take a whole lot of practice.
  4. Start speaking about 3 seconds after the speaker starts. Try to keep that distance throughout.
So yeah, those are the hints of the day (and the only hints that I got from the president of the club). If you've got any more feel free to share.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

People Like Marshall

By looking at the title of the post and at the same time knowing that I am an economics major, you may suppose that I am about to write about famed economist Alfred Marshall. But, although what I have read of Alfred Marshall is quite admirable, this is not the topic of my post. I'm writing about a guy named Marshall.

Friday as I was sitting down eating lunch and reading The Daily Universe (the BYU student newspaper), another student sat down at the table with me. This quite normal, seeing as the number of students wanting to eat is much larger than the number of tables provided to eat at (which, you may recall, is an issue of supply and demand). Most students that sit down next to each other at these tables don't say much, however. They pull out their lunch, lay out their newspapers, textbooks, or whatever, and stay within their own world. I, in most cases, am one of these people.

However, as Marshall sat down across from me at the table, he said something. In fact, he asked something. He asked, "What's your name?" I responded with Eric, and as most people in this situation would have done, I inquired of his name. His name was Marshall. What proceeded was a very enjoyable conversation. It wasn't an unusual conversation, though. In fact, I suppose it is like most conversations that occur between two students meeting each other for the first time. He asked about each others' majors, about our missions (this might be uncommon at schools besides BYU), and so forth.

So, you may ask, why am I writing about this? Well, simply because it impressed me. As I mentioned above, I am not the type of guy who usually talks to people across from me, but I learned from Marshall that I want to be one of those guys. You know, the guy that is just friendly. The kind of guy who cares about people other than those he already knows. By me saying this, please don't take my words to say that people who remain silent at tables aren't these type of people. This is just a little trait that I want to add to my character. I learned so much talking to Marshall. I learned a little about PD Biology. I learned about Thailand and how it has the largest alphabet of any language. It was great!

So, let's set a goal. Let's say "hi" to those people sitting across from us. Let's get to know them. There's sure to be something that they can teach you, so why not find out? Go ahead, go for it.