The human dimension of communication: Interpreting

human side of communication

I was sitting in the waiting room of a hospital clinic in Rimini a few days ago, and I was so blessed I was having some spare time (free time for a mother of three? Are you kidding? Woah, such a miracle!) to spend on readings from translation and interpreting blogs.

I was about to close Feedly and move on to some online shopping when this wonderful post by A word in your ear popped up and caught my attention.

This suddenly rang a bell in my head going like “Claude? Wait a minute, I know him!”

Yes, I know Claude. I met him about 12 years ago in Forlì, when he came to visit the SSLMIT and we, as a group of students, had the chance to have lunch and a beautiful chat on interpreting with him.

I will never forget what he told us about being a SCIC interpreter (which he also talks about in the interview), but also what he told us about learning languages: he was constantly learning new languages. This is why he used to carry a notebook with him and write down words in Italian – as he was learning Italian too. I was so impressed.

As to the German language, he told us that learning German is like climbing up a high mountain: it’s very difficult to master the grammar, but once you’ve managed learning the grammar, you’re almost on top of the mountain.

Well, 12 years later I can say it’s true, although I don’t feel like I’m on top of the mountain yet, but rather halfway – yet climbing and climbing up higher every day.

I know I’ll never master German as a native speaker, but Claude gave me great hopes. He really is a good example of what I call “the human dimension of communication”: a passionate soul whose mission is to make communication between countries, people, individuals, possible.

Sometimes translation is considered as a non-human process (think about machine translation), or however a process where a human being is there, yet somehow behind the scenes, invisible.

Being an interpreter means being the person making oral communication possible. The interpreter is a third person involved in a two-side communication process and is usually visible, unlike the translator. This is why I love the definition “human dimension of communication”.

And being the human dimension of communication is also what I consider my own mission.

Have you ever thought about yourselves or interpreters/translators as the human dimension of communication?

I think this is pretty exciting, isn’t it?

Whether you consider yourself as the human dimension of communication or not, I think you will enjoy this wonderful interview with Claude Durand, “a life dedicated to interpreting


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Translator & Interpreter