We both have the pleasure of teaching interpreting at the University of Vienna (Dagy, in-person) and at the University of California-San Diego Extension (Judy, online) and while we share what we know with others, we are also always constant students of our craft and practice and learn every day. We don't have too many hard rules for when we practice interpreting, but we have one that we came up with long ago that we try to stick with no matter what. Now, without further ado, here's our number one rule for practicing interpreting:
Stick with it. When you hit "play" on a recording (YouTube video, Speechpool video, any audio file) or listen to a TV show or radio show that you have chosen to interpret, just do it, even if it seems terribly hard. Soldier on. Try to stick it out, even if you falter early on, and try to recover. Just go on, even if the first sentence was terrible. That's how things will be in real life: you just have to go on, and learning how to do that early on, when the stakes are low, meaning you are sitting at home in front of your computer, is a very important lesson. Trust us, it can be painful -- we've been there too. As a matter of fact, Judy just listened to a recording she did a few weeks ago where the first 30 seconds were really quick terrible, but she did recover and went on to give a strong performance for the next 20 minutes. Be tough on yourself with this rule, and just keep on going once you've started interpreting. The worst that can happen is that you are not too happy with your performance, but the beautiful thing: it's only practice. And don't forget to record yourself.
What about you, dear colleagues and interpreter trainers? Do you have one favorite rule for interpreting practice that you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you.