A Taiwanese student who won a cross-strait interpreting contest last month recommended reading English novels and memorizing sentences that touch one’s heart as a good way of improving one’s English skills.
Kuo Tien-chun (郭恬君), winner of last year’s second cross-strait interpreting contest, said on Monday she enjoyed reading while improving her language ability.
The graduate student at National Taiwan Normal University’s Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation said interpreters never know what question they might encounter, so they must have a basic knowledge of many fields.
Knowledge of all aspects of life, in addition to advanced language proficiency, is essential for interpreters, Kuo said.
Yueguangzu (月光族), a Chinese term that describes people who spend up all their monthly salary, could be a problem for interpreters, Kuo said.
Another popular Chinese term that is not easy to translate into English is caomeizu (草莓族), she said.
Caomeizu refers to the strawberry, or younger, generation who have been raised in a cozy environment, growing up frail and delicate and unable to stand the pressures of life.
All these new terms and daily happenings can be a challenge to a simultaneous interpreter, Kuo said.
Kuo said she reads newspapers in both languages every day, as well as books on different subjects — including literature, medicine and economics — to expand her knowledge base.
Interpreters should be driven by curiosity, possess logical thinking and have a passion for communication, said Kuo, who finished second in the first cross-strait competition in 2009.
For students who want to improve their English, Kuo said they should look at it not as a school subject, but as a way to understand other cultures and gain new knowledge.