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Fo Guang Shan (Singapore) was very fortunate to have Venerable Miao Guang, Personal Interpreter of Venerable Master Hsing Yun, conduct the second Workshop on Interpretation on 11 and 12 April 2016. With Singapore’s education being bilingual, it is hoped that more interpreters can be trained from amongst the many bilingual individuals here, assisting in the propagation of the dharma via different languages.

A total of 41 participants attended the workshop over the 2 sessions.

To kick off the workshop, Venerable Miao Guang did a recap of the first workshop, allowing those who did not attend to catch up on some of the basic interpretation techniques. The workshop is focussed on the interpretation of Mandarin to English, and Venerable Miao Guang mentioned the need for the knowledge of a third language, English Buddhist Vocabulary. She then described the various techniques used in interpretation such as sight translation, shadowing and memory, and taught us how to apply the Three Wisdoms, the Threefold Training and the Eightfold Path during interpretation.

The theory part of the workshop was followed by practical exercises during which we listened to Most Venerable Hui Chuan’s talk on The Way of the Buddha and The Way of the Master. We were given the opportunity to present our interpretation of the sentences we heard. These interpretations were then analysed and comments provided on what was good and what could be improved on. Such exercises were very practical and they allowed us to grasp the concepts effectively.

On the second day of the workshop, emphasis was placed on the practical aspects and we were given more time to practise the techniques, such as 'shadowing'. It was through such practices that Venerable Miao Guang imparted other guidelines to us. A good example would be to stay loyal to the speaker. As interpreters, our task is to communicate what the speaker said to the audience, in another language.

During the last phase of the workshop, Venerable Miao Guang asked four volunteers to simulate a live interpretation of a panel. Being put in the position of an interpreter at such short notice was indeed nerve-wrecking for those who did not have experience. It was, however, an enriching experience. The difficulties faced during the interpretation practices were very realistic, and Venerable Miao Guang coached us on the spot, giving us pointers on what course of action to take in those situations.

With an instructor as experienced as Venerable Miao Guang coaching us, everyone had much to gain and were encouraged to work towards becoming an interpreter, in hope that we will be able to play our part in propagating the dharma.

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