One of the definitions of the word “culture” given in the dictionaries goes as follows: “culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts”. Indeed, every nation conceives the world form different perspective. In our daily life we follow certain rules while we socialize, behave ourselves and even when we eat. These “invisible” rules vary from nation to nation. These rules are not made up within a year or a decade, it took centuries to form up and to become an ineluctable part of our life.
Considering culture in the framework of interpreting we come to the conclusion that any speaker consequently, led by human nature, is driven by the culture. The impact of the latest can be seen in behaviour, gestures, the way of speech delivery and the language.
As we know culture is also reflected in the language. When addressing speeches to the audience orators not only convince listeners of what they deliver but also represent their culture, proven experience gathered through centuries. We may easily come across in any speech at least a small tint of culture to which the orator belongs.
If you listen to a Russian speaker, you can notice that the speech is full of patriotic feelings and commitments, if you listen to an Uzbek speaker’s statements then you may find out the huge respect to ancestors’ achievements.
In this speech we would like to dwell on Russian and Uzbek speakers in the light of common behaviour of the speakers.
The behavior of Uzbek orator changes according to the styles of speech. For instance, if there is a congratulatory speech you might hear the common clichés like “Sizga sihat-salomatlik, oilaviy baxt, ishingizga rivoj va muvaffaqiyatlar tilayman!”. Clichés of this sort sometimes may cause interpreter to get distracted from the main idea. However, we should not forget that interpreters’ main target is the “idea” of any statement which must be delivered distinctly. Furthermore, Uzbek speakers seem to inadvertently make their speech long using ornate expressions, long and convoluted sentences whereas they could have conveyed the essence of their message through pair of short sentences. Of course we do not want to restrict them to express themselves in an impressive way. It is their discretion to decide how to write and deliver speech as they are orators whose aim is, as was mentioned above, to convince the audience.
As for the behavior of Russian speakers they tend to be serious from the very outset and try first to pay tribute to “ceremonial functions”. Still in the middle of their speeches very often a frivolous joke or funny saying can clear the air. They also like to address the acquaintances during the speeches with phrases like “Ну вот, Иван Петрович подтвердит…”, “Мы с Лидией Васильевной прошли огонь, воду и медные трубы…она не обманет”.
Russian speakers usually feel free to use critical comments, but having learnt well the experience of Russian poets and novelists of the past consciously or not try to use masked hints, comparisons as in fables and so on.
Usually, when an Uzbek orator criticizes something in his speech he is not straightforward as western speakers, instead you hear subtle criticism in the form of proverbs, metaphors, sarcasm, irony etc. for instance: “Qarang-a, oramizda shunday “aqilli” insonlar bor ekanda”, or “Bir balosi bo‘lmasa shudgorda quyruq na qilur”. It is of greatest importance for the interpreter to be able to feel this kind of wrapped criticism and get the gist of it across to the audience without doing violence to the meaning.
Gestures as we know can give us up to 30% of the information the person wants to share. In the framework of usual conversation people listen to the words and sentences which are subject to be subconsciously analyzed by the interlocutors. Intonation, pauses, emotions and facial expression provide them with additional information. As for interpreters, they do it consciously and try to get as much information as they can from any auxiliary source. The Russians do not use gestures much. (The biggest exception is Vladimir Zhirinovsky).
The last point to be thoroughly considered is the language and the way of its delivery.
It is a rare thing to see an Uzbek orator to be excessively emotional. “Evenly-tempered”, “serious” this is the common definition given to most of them. Another feature to be mentioned here is deviation from the speech structure which consequently make this type of delivery long and excessive. For instance, they might use an example to leave an indelible impression but then they tend to focus on that too much which can cause listeners to get confused.
The Russians use proverbs, sayings and phrases from novels, fables, popular Russian films, poetry, sweeping comparisons etc. Interpreter should be ready to interpret combinations of the following kind: “Никогда не зарекайся” or «Сначала деньги, потом стулья»
For example, a couple of months ago I had been engaged into simultaneous interpreting of a serious international round-table held in Tashkent. There were experts and specialists from a big number of different countries. There were several specialists from the Russian Federation. While interpreting them I stumbled across some difficulties connected with their way of expressing themselves. One of the Russian experts suddenly while delivering the speech decided to compare using the phrase: “Вот попробуйте сломать карандаш о колено? Ну, вот так же и в данной ситуации”. It was difficult to understand whether he meant easiness or a complication of the process. Of course, in this case a great help comes from the background knowledge and the context which accompany a statement of this sort.
Proverbs, quotes of the greatest poets of the East are widely used by Uzbek orators as a tool for easy delivery of the content of the speech. Proverbs are not only used in speeches but also in everyday life: “Bu masalani hal qilishdan oldin yetti o‘lchab bir kesish kerak”, “Yugurganniki emas, buyurganniki”.
We would like to reiterate that cultural awareness paves the way for the successful interpretation. It helps to discharge the duty of the interpreter as a bridge between cultures.
Maybe Culture is not seen but is very well felt. Not knowing the cultural intricacies means to become vulnerable to the unexpected outcomes during the interpretation.
Thus continuous enrichment of cultural background, doing justice to cultural values provides the desired accomplishment of interpreters’ job.