Day 02 My first interpreting job

I think this is something EVERY interpreter will remember. The first time I opened the microphone live, when the listeners were real clients, not just my teachers or fellow students, was at a conference on the pension system. Extremely technical, very difficult.

I was terrified a week before, when I started preparing. I made word lists long as Rapunzel’s braid, I brought all my dictionaries and all the bits of documentation I could possibly find. Luckily, I worked with very nice and supportive colleagues (fortunately, most colleagues in my booth are), who reassured me and helped me out.

There are many first times though and some of them are just as daunting. First time I interpreted for the European institutions was just as terrifying. Despite of preparations and word lists and even a period of internship with the institutions, I still managed to mix up the different groups, committees and institutions.

My first community interpreting job, was overwhelming. I felt that everything was my responsibility only (compared to a conference where there is at least one colleague present all the time), I did not understand that both the doctor and the patient had their responsibility in the conversation as well. More than once during the discussion I felt insufficient.

Now, you may wonder why I struggled on, despite all these difficult experiences. The truth is that it was more fascinating and rewarding than scaring. I left the booth or the medical office with a sentiment of satisfaction and a feeling that I made a difference.

There are still “first times”, but less scaring nowadays than it was fifteen years ago.

This post is part of a list, 30 days of interpreting. You can see the whole list here.


30 days on interpreting

I have decided to adapt one of those lists that you find on so many blogs to interpreting, and see if I can come up with something new and (hopefully) interesting. 30 days and 30 quite personal things on interpreting.

Day 01 About me
Day 02 My first interpreting job
Day 03 Interpreting teachers I remember
Day 04 Daily interpreting practice
Day 05 What is good interpreting
Day 06 A day at work
Day 07 My best colleague
Day 08 A moment in the booth
Day 09 I really believe that…
Day 10 This is what I bring to the booth
Day 11 My colleagues
Day 12 In my suitcase
Day 13 An interpreting week
Day 14 One thing you didn’t know about interpreting
Day 15 My goals as an interpreter
Day 16 Don’t you ever make mistakes?
Day 17 My best interpreting memory
Day 18 My favourite type of interpreting
Day 19 Something I regret
Day 20 This month
Day 21 The most interesting person I’ve interpreted
Day 22 Things that upset me when I interpret
Day 23 Things that make me happy when I interpret
Day 24 Can you show your feelings when you interpret
Day 25 The first time I heard about interpreting
Day 26 Things I like less with my job
Day 27 My favourite booth
Day 28 If I could improve the interpreting profession I would…
Day 29 My ambitions
Day 30 And lastly…