The second best thing, game planning for a mission impossible or just for enjoying the process of work

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This paper discusses the use of game theory in thinking about and the practice of interpreting, especially in the often impossible context of simultaneous interpreting (SI). By introducing game theory together with the basic concepts and accompanying reasoning, the author intends to explore and present a rationalised way of preparing and undertaking a difficult SI assignment. So, in the development of his ideas, partly through telling a Chinese legend and partly through presenting a case study of a real life SI assignment, he will make the following points. First, the interpreter must have a good knowledge of his/her own strengths and of the nature and difficulty of assignment and must undertake research to enhance that knowledge. Secondly, on the basis of this knowledge, he/she must set an optimal and realistic objective for the assignment. Thirdly, through research, he/she must develop strategies to achieve the selected objectives and, at the same time, through research, he/she must assess the costs and risks and then design specific strategies to to contain/reduce the costs and manage/minimise the risks in order to optimise the results of the assignment. Last but not least, he/she must evaluate the game plan designed for the job to facilitate future game planning. In the spirit of game theory, SI becomes a very brainy, intellectual activity and is no longer a process of mechanic reproduction, pedantic compilation of glossary and an unmanageable chancy behaviour.
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Zhong, Yong
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