I was interpreting in a brewery a couple of weeks ago (yes, it was as fun as it sounds), and the person who was showing us around said: “The reason why this type of beer is produced in Kent is that, among other things, this region is excellent for growing barley.” So I started conveying this to the French visitors, and while one half of my brain was busy with the converting/talking process (Ce type de bière est produit dans le Kent car etc.), this is what was going on in the other half:
BARLEYBARLEYBARLEYBARLEY OH NO WHAT’S BARLEY IN FRENCH AAAAAAAAARGH
Thankfully, both parts of my brain came together exactly when needed, right at the end of the sentence… How is this possible? What actually goes on in an interpreter’s brain? Does anyone know if “The Idiot’s guide to the brain and language” has been written?
Personally, I’m much more interested in stories like this than in current theories about what might be happening in the brain, but if anyone knows of such a book, please let her know.