The Vocabulary List, and a Setback

Monday, 10 November, 2014

Hello Dear Reader,

I do try to keep you informed, but lately I have been occupied with other tasks. First it was a mild sore throat, which, days later after subsiding, suddenly returned after working my usual graveyard shift. The symptoms of viral infection gradually developed, and mid-way through the next week I was coughing incessantly, and, consequently, unable to sleep. Almost coinciding with the advent of this staunch defence that my body was fielding against this poor virus, was the arrival of a guest taking refuge in my home, uninvited. The small brown fury creature was spotted in the kitchen on several fleeting instances. Within a manner of days the little rodent – that being the appropriate classification for an mammal which gnaws – began to make it’s home in the wall separating the kitchen from the main living room. As I grew more and more deranged, on account of not sleeping, and while revelling in the symptoms of my ailment, I spent what little moments of lucidity and strength I had contriving how best to make my new guest uncomfortable.

As my body settled down, and I was able to sleep, I began to spend as much time as I could studying for interpreting. The appointment for my next oral exam is in nearly a month, and I’ve hardly embarked on the itinerary of study which I had laid out. The first item on my list was vocabulary. This seemed to me the easiest way to begin, and would provide a groundwork from which to build. From there I would move on to sight translations, practice dialogues, and the practice of consecutive interpreting – that is, vocally translating what is said after it is said, rather than simultaneously.

My plan for practicing vocabulary involved memorizing the entire vocabulary list found on the Washington State Department of Health and Social Services (WA DSHS) website. The list provided, however, contains only English. Therefore, I began the painstaking task of translating the entire thing into Mandarin Chinese. My burden was greatly lifted upon acquiring some capable dictionaries for the task. Prior to that I had been often resorting to searching the web, and reading Chinese medical wikipedia articles, which I can assure you, was very slow going. Still, after acquiring my dictionaries, I spent several weeks compiling the list and converting it into flash cards. The bulk of this task was completed the evening before my illness set in, after which I set my work on this project aside for some time.

Now, I am engaged in the initial stages of actually memorizing these words. As I learn the various terms I set the easy ones aside and regularly review the difficult ones. This process is automated by a computer program. As I have just begun this process, the work load is very great, as I must preview the entire list, more than once, before cards can be set aside. My hope is to complete this initial stage within the week. As a matter of reference, I am currently studying approximately one-hundred flash cards a day (however, many words are intuitive or not so new).

Keep me in your thoughts.

The Solitary Interpreter

About m_syme

A lost mind and a rogue scholar.
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