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Welcome to the website of

Karin Walker, conference interpreter

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Services


Organisers planning an event with an international character need to pay special attention to communication. I advise clients professionally on the communicative aspects of such events, no matter what type or size – intimate business negotiations, workshops, depositions, training seminars or major events.

Languages:  Besides my own language combination (active English and German) I organise multilingual teams for all common – and exotic – languages on your behalf.

Technical issues:  What mode of interpreting and what kind of technical equipment does your event require? That depends on the type of event, the number of participants, the venue and other factors.

Rental of technical equipment:  I work with reliable equipment providers across the country. I can take care of all aspects relating to rental and billing so you don’t have to.

Cost control:  I’ll do the required calculations and give you full insight into the costs involved.

Interpreting


Unlike the written transfer of words into another language, which is referred to as translation, interpreting involves the transfer of the spoken word from one language into another. I am happy to advise you on the mode of interpreting that is best suited to the event you are planning.

The options are:

 

Simultaneous interpreting
The interpreter speaks virtually at the same time as the speaker, while those requiring interpretation listen via an infrared receiver plus headset. Simultaneous interpreters usually work in a sound-proof booth in teams of two, sometimes three, from a foreign language into their mother tongue and/or the other way around. If additional languages are to be covered, the corresponding number of additional interpreters and booths will be needed. The advantage of simultaneous interpreting is that no time is lost, and all participants can use their mother tongue to communicate provided simultaneous interpretation is offered in their languages. This mode of interpreting is ideal for larger events, conferences, workshops and training sessions.
Whispered interpreting
Also known as chuchotage, with this technique the interpreters work simultaneously, but – unlike in an interpreting booth – do not normally use headsets to listen to the speaker. Instead, they are right in the room listening to the speaker along with the other participants. On the one hand, this makes it harder for the interpreters to hear the speaker; on the other, it requires the participants to observe discipline since the interpreters cannot interpret two conversations at the same time. Also, the noise of too many people talking at the same time makes it harder – or even impossible – for them to do their job. This mode of interpreting typically involves interpreters working in teams of two. Provided the interpreters use portable simultaneous interpreting equipment, whisper interpreting may be an option for smaller groups of up to 15 participants and informal meetings with a limited timeframe of a few hours. Participants listen to the interpretation via headset. Please note that even if the interpreters are doing their best to speak quietly, it is unavoidable that those not requiring interpretation will also hear the voice of the interpreter who, after all, is in the same room. Some may find this background noise irritating.
Without portable simultaneous interpreting equipment, this mode of interpreting is only suitable for two to three individuals who are sitting either right in front of or next to the interpreter.
Consecutive interpreting
The interpreter notes down longer passages presented by the speaker before interpreting them into the foreign language consecutively, i.e., while the speaker pauses to allow the interpreter to speak. You do not need technical equipment but should ensure strict time management as you will have to allow for close to twice the time needed in comparison with simultaneous interpreting. This mode of interpreting is not suitable for events with a high level of interaction between the participants or large numbers of presentations. Possible scenarios include interviews, depositions and after-dinner speeches.
Liaison interpreting
The interpreter consecutively renders the speaker’s words in short units of meaning without taking notes. This is suitable for small-scale meetings, video conferences and conference calls with a high level of interaction between participants.

Profile


Karin Walker | Conference Interpreter

 

Xing Profil Karin Walker Dolmetscherin

 

Training

  1998:  Master of Arts (Honours) in Linguistics, University of Edinburgh

  1999:  Postgraduate Diploma in Conference Interpreting and Translation, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

Career
1999 – 2002:  In-house translator, interpreter and project manager in the Language Services department of a DAX group with worldwide operations. Interpretation provided in all areas of the group, including at board level.
Since 2002:  Freelance conference interpreter for German and English
(double “A“ or mother tongues)
2008-2017:  Lecturer in Conference Interpreting at Cologne University of Technology, Arts, Sciences
Since 2010:  Accredited Conference Interpreting Agent (ACI) for the European institutions (English booth)
Since 2013:  Lecturer in Conference Interpreting at ZHAW University of Applied Sciences in Winterthur, Switzerland
Since 2014:  Certified to interpret for the courts and public prosecutors in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
Preferred subjects

   Business and finance

   Labour relations

   Corporate Governance

   International youth work

   Energy

   EU affairs

   Cultural affairs (especially music)

Memberships

  Member of the International Association of Conference Interpreters aiic (since 2007)

  Member of the German national association of conference interpreters VKD (since 2011)

About me
Rhineland resident, born on the south coast of England, raised in Upper Bavaria
Member of Collegium musicum Bonn and member of the Kreuzkirche choir in Bonn
Chair of the board of the German national association of conference interpreters VKD (responsible for junior interpreters, market monitoring and remote interpreting)
Former mentor for VKD’s junior interpreter support scheme
Chair of GFSM Bonn e.V., an association that provides financial support to student-led music projects in Bonn
What I love: cats, music, cinema and books, wine and food, France and French, the sea and the mountains

 

References


Since entering the profession in 1999 I have collected more than 800 days of experience in the booth and outside, working in a wide variety of subject areas and for a broad range of clients. A number of years ago I also began to organise multilingual teams for various events, some of them large conferences, in Germany and abroad.

Since discretion plays a vital role in our profession I have decided to refrain from disclosing information about my client base and work on this public website. Should you wish to know more, please contact me for my CV and/or a representative overview of my work so far plus a number of client testimonials.

 

FAQ


How do I know if I’m in good hands?
Does your interpreter contact you in person? Does she ask you the right questions? Does she ask any questions at all? Can she tell you, if asked, who she works with? Will she provide you with a comprehensive quote within 48 hours? Do you get a feel for who you are dealing with? Do you feel you’re taken good care of? If you can answer all of these questions in the affirmative, then you’re in good hands.
What’s in an interpreting fee?
We’re often told we’re (too) expensive. To work out whether that’s really the case, it helps to consider what goes into calculating an interpreting fee:

    • Ongoing training in various areas;
    • Building and maintaining a broad network of qualified, professional colleagues;
    • Terminology (glossary production and maintenance);
    • Taxes and insurance premia (including professional liability and financial loss insurance)
    • Membership fees for professional associations;
    • Number-crunching for projects;
    • Producing quotes;
    • Issuing contracts;
    • Selecting and liaising with teams ;
    • Advising clients on all aspects relating to interpretation;
    • Liaising with equipment providers and negotiating reasonable rates, from which our clients benefit indirectly ;
    • Job-specific preparation and research (rule of thumb: day 1 = one day of preparation; days 2, 3 and 4 = one half-day each);
    • Travel time and overnight stays;
    • Time spent in the booth;
    • Invoicing;
    • Debriefing meeting or phone call with team members and clients.
What’s a Consultant Interpreter?
Consultant Interpreters don’t just work in the booth; they also organise larger teams on behalf of their clients and where needed, also rent the required equipment. The cost of this service adequately reflects the work that goes into providing it on the part of both the team and the Consultant Interpreter. In other words, the project has to be financially worthwhile for everyone involved. You, the client, only pay for the services that you actually need – unlike if you were to commission an agency. I make it very clear what you pay for. I am familiar with the interpreters in my network, only assign those who are suitable for the job (in terms of experience, specialisms, language combination and place of residence), and organise the right equipment. You are welcome to ask questions at any time to ensure that you’re not buying the proverbial pig in a poke.
Can one individual interpreter even respond adequately to my inquiry?
Yes. Consultant Interpreters are well connected, also with colleagues with other language combinations, and will be more than happy to respond to all your interpreting needs. They provide a personal service from the very first moment of contact right up to a debriefing meeting or phone call, once the event has come to a successful conclusion. Even if your event only requires a small team, your Consultant Interpreter won’t leave you in the lurch, even if they aren’t available on the day itself – instead they’ll activate their network and remain at your disposal as your only point of contact.
Why do conference interpreters only work in teams of two or three?
The cognitive load during interpretation is so high that interpreters can only keep up the same high level of quality for around 30 to 45 minutes. This is why interpreters take turns every half hour or so and then mentally “switch off” to regenerate, although they will continue to listen in and assist their colleage with notes, for instance, in stressful communicative situations (speeches with lots of figures, complex presentations, or speeches read out at high speed). This is the case for both simultaneous as well as consecutive. This is why a professional service provider will never suggest just one interpreter for an assignment lasting any more than 30 or 45 minutes. A team of three interpreters may be assigned if the meeting is extraordinarily long or exhausting.
Why should you work with me?
I have been in the profession for almost 20 years and I’m part of a strong professional network, thanks to my membership of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (aiic) and of VKD, the German national association of conference interpreters. I started to organise large multilingual teams in 2007 and today maintain a good working relationship with equipment providers in the region and beyond. Besides working as a Consultant Interpreter, I work in the English and German booths and have gathered well over 800 days of experience so far (in all modes: simultaneous, chuchotage and consecutive) in a broad range of fields for clients – from the grassroots level right up to the Federal Government and the EU institutions (mainly the European Commission). My CV and/or a list of reference projects and clients is available on request.

Contact


Karin Walker | Dolmetscher in NRW


I’m best reached on my mobile number:

  • M: +49 151 4075 7072

 

If you’d prefer to e-mail me, please write to
kw@dolmetscher-in-nrw.de

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