[JITF2021] The Skills Of An Actor In Interpreting

Matthew Perret

Matthew Perret has been writing and performing drama and comedy since childhood, first appearing in a one-man-show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe aged 19. He studied languages at university, and trained as a conference interpreter at the European Commission in Brussels, where he worked as a staff interpreter for 6 years.

As a freelance, he initially kept his interpreting and theatrical lives separate. But as he gained experience as an interpreter-trainer, specialising in English “retour”, he discovered many overlaps between the two fields, drawing inspiration from actors’ training techniques. His training videos for interpreters include sketch comedy, and his classroom exercises include rhetorical skills and the strategic use of intonation.

He works as a conference interpreter with English “A”, Spanish “B”, and French, Italian, Portuguese “C”, and has toured professional theatrical performances in the UK and internationally.

The Skills Of An Actor In Interpreting

In this presentation, Matthew will look at the overlaps between the skill-sets of interpreters and actors, and the relevance of an actor’s training to interpreters. The Stanislavski system, using emotional memory, empathy, and “motivation”, originated in St Petersburg in the 1900s, and is still used in Hollywood today. In spoken communication, the medium is the voice, and the message conveyed depends upon its use. For this reason, it is vital for interpreters to pay attention to non-verbal communication, as well as strategically employing inflection patterns to get “under the skin” of their speakers, and convincingly convey their intentions. “Unconvincing” interpreting is as instantly recognisable as “bad” acting- but what do we mean by these, and how can we avoid them? Matthew will share some insights and tips from his experience as both actor and interpreter-trainer.

JITF2021 tickets (Japanese only)