The mini-conferences are down with the other language streams in the interpreting and translation programme. Around 4-6 people are chosen to be a delegate from a country and they have to represent that country's views on a particular topic. The rest of us are interpreters and we work in groups of three. So the Japanese delegate speaks and one member of the group will interpret Japanese to English. The interpreters from the other languages will be listening to our English intepretation and be interpreting back into their own language for their country's delegate. Then the next country's delegate will speak and the process repeats.
The whole thing sounds a bit stressful to me. We're meant to be aiming to interpret up to 15 minutes at a time but in our simultaneous interpreting lessons we've never done more than 7 minutes so I don't know how that's going to work out :s Oh well! Our first topic is climate change which we've done a lot on so it shouldn't be too bad I hope.
It's weird looking back to when I first started the course. I'm sure I have progressed but it's very hard to tell. The problem is that whilst my interpreting skills may have improved, if I'm faced with a speech where there's a lot of unknown vocabulary there's not very much I can do.
We had a couple of talks, one from the Institute of Interpreting and Translating (IoIT) and another from JAC Recruitment, neither of which were very helpful. The IoIT sounds good but they only really can support you with the UK. If you're abroad you can get the magazine but of course you can't attend any of the workshops, networking events etc. The talk from JAC was aimed at the Japanese students and was basically about how the difficulty in getting a visa varies from country to country, mainly focussing on the UK (pretty much impossible now it seems) and Europe (not too bad but ideally you should speak English, Japanese + another European language). So that talk was a bit of a waste of time really. I don't have any visa problems with working in the EU and I want to work in Japan. It would have been nice if our teachers had explained a bit about the talk the beforehand.