So I just finished my first interpreting job over several days for a direct business client. That’s two firsts in one go! And it went really well, which makes me very happy! 🙂
It was the first direct client for me that was not a private person needing some documents translated or someone to interpret at their wedding. How I found this client? Through a colleague who called me before Christmas asking whether I would be available the end of January to interpret a “Train the Trainer Training” held by an English trainer at one of her clients’. She knew me from the BDÜ – goes to show that being involved in associations and groups does make a difference!
It was also the first time for me to interpret not just a few hours but several days in a row. I must admit, I was a bit worried about how my concentration would hold up, but it turned out to be fine. The trainer involved the participants quite a bit, so there were times when they had to do things on their own and I could relax. There were also breaks in between and even lunch! It was still exhausting, especially the last two days, and having to drive there and back every day with the weather turning back to winter (read: snow storm, icy roads, poor visibility, fog etc.) didn’t make it any easier. I was totally powered out in the end and treated myself to a nice 1-hour massage… something I will make part of any interpreting assignment lasting more than 2 days from now on!
I got such great positive feedback from both the participants and the trainer – including in front of the bosses during the closing feedback session! – that it was totally worth it though! At times I felt like I was stammering, but I guess an interpreter’s worst critic is always her own self, since I was repeatedly commended for delivering very fast, technically accurate and highly professional interpretation services! Several persons also thanked me for helping them understand. Management apparently had at first considered not hiring an interpreter, since “everyone knows English well enough”. One person actually said to me: “I am so glad you were there, otherwise I would have been totally lost” – so much for those presupposed English skills…
Of course it also helped that I got to translate the material beforehand (the translation was also lauded, btw), which was a really great way to prepare.
There will be three more sessions with different groups, so it should be easier then. The trainer and I are a good team, and knowing how the other one talks and acts definitely helps!