Hi there, friends, colleagues, travelers, so now you know, where I am headed! Haven’t been in Ontario for a while – will be interesting to see, what has changed since my last assignment in Toronto. I vaguely remember that it was some kind of ministerial delegation with a head of protocol who tried to trip me up by telling harrowing stories about other interpreters and the end of their careers. Perhaps he was a little jealous, because the minister wanted me to sit in the ministerial limousine instead of several cars back, where Mr. Head of Protocol had placed me. I tell you, the human element can add spice to any interpretation assignment – not that the work isn’t already varied and interesting enough, if you know what I mean….
Then again, the various personalities that come together when delegations travel abroad always make for some interesting stories – especially when the subject matter isn’t the most entertaining. An Italian colleague once confessed to adding a joke here or there during especially monotonous presentations. Not something I would advise you to do, although I do remember his audience always being especially congratulatory and showing up at the Italian booth with bottles of champagne and heartfelt praise.
Cultural differences may also play a role here, as I am sure conference interpreters with German or French or Spanish language combinations might attest to. And while we are on the topic of culture, that’s something I really do appreciate about Toronto – the total mix of cultures all over the city. You can be riding on the streetcar and listening to 10 different languages, and most of the time, people get along quite nicely. Pretty amazing I think!
Claudi’s tip: When dealing with challenging clients or colleagues take a deep breath and concentrate even more on your work. Remember: You have a choice in how you react.
Until next time, travel safely!
Your Traveling Translator