The Origins of Simultaneous Interpretation
The Nuremberg Trial
Publication Year: 1998
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
Cover, Title Page, Copyright
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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The Nuremberg Trial against leading Nazi war criminals, conducted from November 1945 to August 1946, was one of the great and unique events of the twentieth century. The complete record of the trial in daily transcripts and supporting documents was published shortly thereafter in more than 40 volumes. Estimates vary, but it has been referred to as a "six-million-word trial." Yet, unbelievable as this may sound, not one...
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I would like to thank the Nuremberg interpreters and Nuremberg staff that I contacted for providing me with precious material: Mr. Uiberall and Mr. Steer especially, and Ms. Coliver, Ms. Heyward, Mr. and Mrs. Horn, Mr. Horsky, Ms. Jordan, Mr. Ramler, Ms. Skuncke, Mr. Sprecher, Mr. Treidell and Ms. Patricia Vander Elst: without their help and patience in answering my questions, this book would not have been possible.
GLOSSARY AND DEFINITIONS
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The research for this book began as the answer to a simple question: "What is the origin of the profession of simultaneous interpretation?" Surprisingly, very little is known about the origins of the art and profession of simultaneous interpretation, which is now commonly used and even taken for granted at international conferences and gatherings. Of course, interpreters and translators have existed...
CHAPTER 1: BEFORE THE TRIAL
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On November 20,1945, Judge Lawrence opened the War Crimes Trial, the most important trial of the century. The eyes of the world, pointed on the crowded Nuremberg courtroom, for the first time in history marveled at something unknown: simultaneous interpretation, a technique that would allow communication among people speaking four different languages. But what made it possible for interpretation to be carried...
CHAPTER 2: DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERPRETING SYSTEM
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Finally, the day came. On November 20, 1945, the soft, calm voice of Judge Lawrence opened the most important trial of the century. The eyes of the world were pointed on the crowded Nuremberg courtroom, and for the first time in history they marveled at something unknown: simultaneous interpretation. It was "what outsiders noticed and marveled at,"1 and "ce qui a le plus frappé les imaginations."2
CHAPTER 3: RELIABILITY AND IMPACT OF THE INTERPRETATION
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One of the key issues about the interpreting system was its reliability. Could the tribunal wholeheartedly trust the version of the interpreters? In order to ensure a fair trial to the defendants, it was necessary that every statement be translated correctly and accurately, and that no parts be missed or altered. The tribunal believed it could not rely totally on the translations of the interpreters, who might make mistakes. Moreover,...
CHAPTER 4: LIFE OUTSIDE THE COURTROOM
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Obviously, there was much more to interpreters' experience in Nuremberg than their place and performance in the courtroom. In an effort to give a well-rounded picture of the experience of the interpreters in Nuremberg, this chapter explores the more human part of then- Nuremberg stay and their lives off-court: how they spent their time and paycheck, where they lived and what relationships existed among themselves...
CHAPTER 5: PROFILES OF INTERPRETERS
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The interpreters of the Nuremberg Trial were generally well-educated and intelligent people. They came from different countries and their educational and professional experience was diverse: there were college professors, lawyers, medical people, graduate students, radio broadcasters, army officers and professional interpreters. "Displaying much individuality, they were heard and seen more than...
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On October 1,1946, the trial came to an end. For many interpreters this meant a return to their previous profession; others stayed in Nuremberg for the Subsequent Proceedings. For some, Nuremberg was just the beginning of a new international career, as simultaneous interpreting spread around the world and more and more international organizations were created. Regardless of their successive careers, they witnessed...
EPILOGUE: INTERPRETING AFTER THE TRIAL
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As a result of its use at Nuremberg, simultaneous interpretation spread to the United Nations in New York and to every major international conference. Dostert was instrumental for its success at Nuremberg and supervised the installation of the interpreting system at the UN; he was responsible for the collaboration with IBM, who elaborated and improved the equipment; and he founded the School of Language and...
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Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 1998
Series Title: Perspectives on Translation