The best compliment ever

Last week I was on an interpreting assignment with a colleague regarding finance matters for a German company. The clients were two Americans, the rest (about 20 people) were Germans.
The interpretation into English was simultaneous through earphones, when the Americans spoke, consecutive out loud, with no microphones used by anyone. The acoustics were less than ideal, and the German speakers often forgot to make sure we could hear them, but ultimately all went well and everyone was happy with our service.
The best thing came, however, when it was already over. We happened to ride the elevator down with one of the Americans and got to talking about the difficulties of interpreting in this particular setting. Although the client had heard me speak German as I had done all the interpreting into German, he turned to me and asked me what my native language was. On a whim, I asked him to guess, and he said, “It’s not German.” He thought I was an English native speaker! What better compliment could there be for a language professional?!  ^_^

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