Precision of Language

The CELTA course at International House Buenos Aires has opened up a new vernacular to engage a diversity of social actors doing many interesting things. One of these people who incarnates the concept ‘think global – act local’ is Deivid Santiago Apez. He brings a youthful spirit to his work as a foreign teacher at a range of institutions like Centro Universitario de Idiomas (current location), Instituto Warrington, Consultoría de Comercio Exterior Ingenious S.R.L., and Instituto AngloSchool. Deivid shares his passion for languages training as an interpreter for the global stage.

JJ Wilson and Deivid Apez (1)
Deivid with author JJ Amaworo Wilson

Deivid’s CV

1995      Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina

2012      Graduated from Nuestra Señora de la Unidad (INSU)

2013      Enrolled for an Interpretation & Translation degree specializing in English Language at Universidad del Museo Social Argentino

2015      Started working as an English teacher at various institutions

2017      Started a Certificado para la Enseñanza de Español como Lengua Segunda o Extranjera (IHC Spanish) at International House Buenos Aires

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1. How did you become an English teacher? What do you enjoy most about your work?

Many people would think it makes more sense for me to be a Spanish teacher before an English teacher. However, I have “ants in my pants” since I cannot be static for too long and enjoy learning through challenges. Of course, I love my home language but teaching English presents the chance to meet people from all across the globe. Exposure to new cultures and worldviews really interests me. In some ways, you get to see the world through the eyes and life experiences of your students.

How I got into teaching English was serendipitous. When I was in my second year of university my neighbor approached me to teach him English for an upcoming travel adventure. Through that experience, I discovered my passion for teaching. From there I worked at various English institutes until finally working for Centro Universitario Idiomas (CUI) where I am at the moment. My work there includes working with adult learners at the center as well as business people at multinationals. I prefer working with adults as opposed to adolescents.

2. You’re not only doing the International House Certificate in Spanish teaching but also an interpreter degree. Where does your love for language come from?

I’ve always been interested in languages so I started looking for programmes in the country and thought of teacher training and translation/interpreting. However, my father discouraged becoming a teacher since they face many challenges in Argentina. As a result, I chose interpretation over translation since it is more dynamic allowing more contact with people. As Simona Negroni indicated in Never Lost in Translation, the life of a translator is far more hidden. The role of interpreter suits my personality best.

3. Why a conference interpreter?

There are different types of interpreting. You have ‘consecutive interpreting’ where the speaker delivers his speech for 1 minute and the interpreter takes down notes after which the interpreter renders the message into another language. Then you have ‘simultaneous interpreting’ into which conference interpreting falls. Someone gives a speech at a conference, for example, and the interpreter mediates the language with the aid of technology like headphones and a soundproof booth behind the audience. You only look at the speaker – the audience cannot see you. You have to make sure you have the precision of language to convey the correct meaning.

4. Where are you gaining experience?

My training is very academic so we only gain experience through the course work, however, in our 4th year, we are hired by clients who organize international conferencing events where they need interpreters. There are other non-degreed interpreting programmes that offer you much more practice. But I wanted to have a firm grounding in the methodologies, techniques, grammar, phonetics, vocabulary, terminology, and language. It prepares you as a professional.

There is, of course, no prohibition on offering your services before you are qualified but that would likely be limited to informal and local congresses. In some countries, the profession is regulated more loosely. In Argentina, we have an undergraduate degree in interpreting and translation, but elsewhere they only offer postgraduate opportunities. If you want to work for the United Nations (UN) or in the EU, for example, you need to take an exam above and beyond the degree. I would like to take these exams but it will require me to learn French since English and French are official requirements to work for the UN as an interpreter. So for instance, you may be listening to a speech in Russian. The Russian interpreter translates it into English or French and you need to take that speech and render it into your mother tongue. You always translate into your mother tongue. However, I was trained to translate from Spanish to English as well, but this isn’t usual.

5. It seems hard to split your brain between receptive and productive skills. How do you train to do that?

This is certainly a challenge for interpreters but we are trained to listen with laser precision to render meaning/ideas over words. It’s about listening, analyzing and reformulating the language. All of this happens at the same time. This can seem impossible and I certainly think so when I am frustrated, but I am encouraged when things go well and see professional interpreters doing an amazing job. Anything is possible with discipline.

IMG_55566. What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I run from institution to institution but I like it since I have contact with different people. Every student is a new story; you learn from them all the time, and sometimes you laugh a lot. The interaction with them is magnificent since I like having a coffee with them during the break and even speak about life. Students love my passion and commitment, many times they want me to continue being their teacher in the next level.

Are you interested in a career in interpreting? Check out these resources:

Connect with Deivid on LinkedIn.

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