The North American BLIA YAD held their 2020 Interpreting Workshops on November 7 and 14 with the virtual platform, Zoom. Venerable Miao Guang led the advanced workshop on November 7, which was targeted towards participants who had prior experiences or attended the previous workshop. Venerable Zhi Tong was the main instructor for the beginners workshop, which took place on November 14.
At the beginning of the workshop, the participants were greeted by Venerable Hui Chuan who explained the impact of interpretation and translation on the development of Buddhism in history and in the present. BLIA WHQ Young Adult Development Committee Director, Jenny also made remarks on the importance of helping others with interpreting.
During the advanced workshop, Venerable Miao Guang first reviewed the seven steps to interpreting. She emphasized the importance of knowing Buddhist stock phrases to the participants so that they could be prepared as Buddhist interpreters. For the activity, Venerable Miao Guang challenged the participants to translate Buddhist stock phrases with the list of resources she provided. The participants all chose words or phrases that they found interesting and gave their best attempt at translating them. Venerable Miao Guang gave live feedback on some of the translations; She emphasized the importance of staying loyal to the meaning. During the Q&A session, Venerable Miao Guang mentioned that as interpreters, we grow with the audience. She also reminded everyone to welcome comments from the others. As closing remarks, Venerable Miao Guang reminded the participants that the most important quality as an interpreter is to have the mindset to continuously improve.
The beginner’s workshop was joined by about fifty people in total. Venerable Miao Guang first made remarks to encourage the participants to become the bridges between Buddhism and the lay population. Venerable Zhi Tong, who was the main instructor, divided the class into three parts. For the first part, Venerable Zhi Tong gave an introduction explaining the differences between translation and interpretation, the importance of Buddhist interpreters, and listed some activities for practice and self-improvement. Venerable Zhi Tong introduced the tools and resources that could be used to improve on one’s interpretation skills during the second part.
The third part was an interpreting activity; Venerable Zhi Tong asked the participants to translate one of Venerable Yung Ku’s recorded speeches. Many participants were enthusiastic to share their responses. During the Q&A session, Venerable Miao Guang and Venerable Zhi Tong gave guidance to the participants. The main takeaways are that: First, Interpreting needs persistent effort; Second, the interpreter must match the tone of the speaker, but above all else, it must be accurate; Third, Interpretation is a way of sharing joy and Dharma to the world.
Venerable Miao Guang made the closing remarks for the beginner’s workshop. She hopes that everyone takes on more opportunities with interpreting. She explained that taking the initiative to interpret will make great changes to oneself and others.
To conclude the workshops, the staff members sorted the participants by different regions to discuss future plans of interpretation within those specific regions.