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12/05/2016 Interview > Alumni Important News

Title

Exclusive Values of Interpretation

A helping hand in global communication, Choi Hyun-jin (English Language and Culture, ‘05)

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September 27th, 2016 was the first day of the televised presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Their dispute was broadcast and interpreted in different languages all around the world. Choi Hyun-jin (English Language and Culture, ERICA Campus, ‘05) is the interpreter who interpreted the debate for Korean viewers. Choi has not only interpreted all three debates of the US presidential candidates, but also aided famous VIPs, including prime ministers of Australia, Canada, Finland, ASEAN's Security General L. Minh, and various Korean ministers. News H met Choi to hear about the life of an interpreter, and the value of their work.
 
 Choi is a veteran interpreter who has worked in the field for seven years.


The interpreter who translated Presidential Debates


The US presidential debates were sources of great interest for viewers but they were intense battles for Choi, who was the one and only interpreter for every round of debates. “There was no time for preparation in the first round, so I focused on the main points and tried not to misinterpret,” she explained. Unlike normal occasions, there was no booth for the interpreters, nor soundproof walls or microphones available. Even so, Choi succeeded in this nearly impossible setting with utmost concentration, and was praised for her performance.

Choi also participated in the lasting rounds of the debate. This time she could do even better because she had some time to prepare. She searched for pledges of the candidates, every world issue and news related with America and its politics, from economy, business, to climate change and Korea-related issues. After she was finished she herself felt great pride and honor as an interpreter, and she became known for her work to other translators as well.
 

Climbing up to the summit of her dreams


Though Choi is a professional interpreter, strenuous efforts were needed to become one. She first learned that there was an actual job of interpreting in her freshman year. ”I learned the concept of interpreting language in the teenage years I spent in Canada, because I had to aid in communication between my parents and my Canadian teachers. However, I never knew that I could be educated and thus be qualified to interpret in events such as international conferences, ” Choi said. Her professor and mentor, Lee Tae-young, introduced her about how she could enter graduate schools that teach translation and consequently become an interpreter. Since then, she decided on her career path as that.
 
Choi immersed in interpretation work in her booth. 
(Photo courtesy of Choi)
 
Although Choi was determined to become an interpreter, studying to be qualified for the job was very difficult indeed. “I studied two years at a specialized graduate school for interpreting. The work was so tough that I moved to a house near the school, and even studied during meals, ” Choi reminisced. Her endeavors surely paid off, because she passed the graduation exam and earned a Master's degree in interpretation which is necessary to become a professional interpreter. Now, her daily life consists of attending and preparing for big scale conferences and events from Monday to Friday. Before every occasion, she receives a thick packet of papers, containing information about the event that she has to learn beforehand in order to interpret well. “Language is like a baseline for being able to interpret. One should be equipped with the knowledge of what he or she would interpret, as well as being proficient in the native language, so that the content is delivered to the audience in the best way,” explained Choi.
 
Choi (middle) translating during an ASEAN conference.
(Photo courtesy of Choi) 

An aura of sophistication


“Interpreting is not a job that stands out and shines. The work is more like a glow- I’m not the heroine, but more like a light that shines, or an aura behind heroes that always exists to do the job of brightening them,” Choi elaborated. She promised herself in the past to use her talents and skills to volunteer and help people when she becomes an interpreter. “Working as a translator is not easy, but if you like to meet global leaders and create a huge values for yourself and others, it is the job for you. The work really makes you want to improve yourself and pushes you to keep on trying. The work we interpreters do is simply a one-of-a-kind, ” Choi emphasized.
 
Choi’s first dream was to become an interpreter, and the second is to teach students how to change one language from another. Thanks to the dean of her department she graduated from at HYU, she could procure the opportunity to lecture about consecutive interpretation (CI). CI differs from simultaneous interpretation in that the interpreter speaks after the actual speaker has finished speaking a segment. “I want to approach the field of language interpretation academically, such as obtaining a Ph.D. But also, as a lover of HYU, I would be in much delight to teach more of what I know if possible.” 
 
Choi's motto is 'an aura of sophistication', meaning that she wants to become a skilled interpretor who emanates a beneficent glow. 



Jang Soo-hyun        luxkari@hanyang.ac.kr
Photos by Kim Youn-soo
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