Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Off topic: What\'s the most unusual interpreting/translation job you\'ve done?
Thread poster: Libero_Lang_Lab

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:22
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
Dec 4, 2002

How about a discussion board devoted to the most unusual interpreting/translation job you\'ve ever had to do.



Based on my own experience, I know that you can end up doing some pretty oddball and obscure jobs in the name of the linguistic profession. This is on my mind as I have just returned from a 24 hour stint in the company of a women\'s football (that\'s soccer to you across the pond) team who were playing an English team in the European cup. It was different.



Obviously confidentiality and the statute of limitations applies in many cases, but I\'m sure many of you have some memories that would be worth sharing and help to make us laugh. What do you say Henry et al?



Most embarrassing moments? I\'ve described one of mine below.



Most unusual topic translated (I don\'t mean the most boring - we\'ve all done pig iron production statistics or washing machine instructions at some point I guess).



Most unusual place that you have found yourself interpreting? Up a ladder, down a mine? In a nudist colony?



We\'re doing well so far, keep em\' coming.





[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-06 23:25 ]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rubén de la Fuente  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
I'll give it a shot... Dec 4, 2002

Once I had to work as interpreter in a visit to a factory of cured ham and stuff like that. My group comprised a bunch of guys from Slovenia who owned slaughterhouses and factories of meat products. They wanted to visit different factories of this kind in the European Union to check what kind of standards they would have to comply with, what the most usual practices were and the like. I don\'t speak Slovenian (and the translation agency couldn\'t find anybody who did), so I translated into English and the leader of the group translated into Slovenian. These guys were not paying any attention at all during the visit, nor did they show any interest. I felt the whole visit was just a private conversation between the leader of the group, the person showing us the factory and me. Anyway, at the end of the visit, we got the chance to try the stuff they produce in the factory. Did I say \"we\"? Well, actually, the truth is that they did. They suddenly came up with a lot of questions and while I was doing my job, they finished all the snacks. I don\'t know if they did it on purpose, the truth is that, in the end, there was no ham for the interpreter (and that was pretty good stuff, dammit!). Hope you guys liked the story. Thanks for the idea, Dan.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-04 18:07 ]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 14:22
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
I liked it, Rubén. Dec 4, 2002

Thanks.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:22
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
wine competition Dec 4, 2002

This past Saturday night (actually the wee hours of Sunday), I got back from an interpreting job at an annual Italian wine competition. I\'ve gotten used to it, as I\'ve been doing it for about 7 years now, but basically my job entails telling the foreign wine experts/journalists what\'s on the schedule. And then for two days I spend all morning (reds at 9 am!) and afternoon watching people swirl, sip and spit into a bucket of sawdust!

Luckily, at lunch and dinner they\'re allowed to swallow -- and do!

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-04 18:40 ]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marco Vrieling  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:22
English to Dutch
+ ...
Marketing job and name evaluation Dec 4, 2002

I don\'t know if these jobs qualify for this topic, but for me they do..



A week ago I received a call from an English agency asking me to phone some 25 companies in the Netherlands and Belgium. the objective of this Europe-wide survey of their most important and valuable customers was to obtain feedback and opinions with regard to levels of satisfaction among the customer base. I was to receive a certain amount with every positive reaction. 20 out of 25 persons were willing to participate, so I was very pleased.



Another job which I had never done before was a product name evaluation. I received a file with possible product names and had to answer questions like:

Can this name be associated with any slang, colloquialisms, negative word or obscenities in your language? If so what are they?

Or

Does it feel awkward to pronounce this name? Please explain what makes it natural or awkward.

It was paid per hour



All the best,



Marco


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:22
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
the funnest job i ever had... Dec 4, 2002

was interpreting for about 15 child actors in a big toy store in downtown Moscow during a tv commercial shoot



we got to run around the store and check out all the toys! (don\'t touch!)



they were definitely the most fun \"clients\" I ever had - I bought them ice creams and they were happy


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:22
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
What they say on tape... Dec 5, 2002

I used to work for congresses and conventions, in a state-owned PCO that sometimes organized package deals (it also printed and mailed out the proceedings). You\'d be surprised how truly incoherent some of the world\'s best speakers look like on paper (for that matter, the definitive translation could be based on the tapes). One of the reasons for this is the incapacity of the written word to represent pauses, meaningful silences, and the impossibility of correcting the spoken word once it is uttered. Such texts took a lot of editing, but when you work with a culture where SILENCE has a meaning...



30 minutes of Japanese tape in 2 pages???





Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ioana Bostan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:22
English to Romanian
+ ...
A funny experience I had... Dec 5, 2002

I worked as an in-house interpreter for a knitwear company. They got a training specialists for some new knitting equipments bought from a factory that provided also the training for the engineers of our factory.The trainer was a Dutch young man,a stern bachelor...he said solemnly...After a few days of working together, he begged me to be his personal interpreter as he fell in love with a young lady working in that section, a worker. As he didn\'t know any English. It was the most embarassing and funniest \"mission\" I ever had to translate. They arranged their dates with my help!The next year, we received a letter from them: happily married and ..their kid!
[addsig]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:22
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
What they mumble on tape... Dec 5, 2002

At BBC Monitoring, we transcribed speeches from tape. Some speakers were practically impossible, especially if they chose to speak in other than their native tongue. The Polish communist leader Gomulka, when visiting the Soviet Union, insisted on speaking in \"Russian\", but though we had monitors who were fluent in both Polish and Russian, they couldn\'t make out what he meant in many cases. Brezhnev mumbled rather incoherently in his last year or two. Chernenko was permanently out of breath and his speeches were full of puffing and gasping, so he was a problem too. Khrushchev used to depart from his script (as published in Pravda next day), introducing weird proverbs which nobody knew and which we suspected he made up himself.

At one time, Mikoyan, an Armenian, was Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. His Armenian accent was so strong that he was practically undecipherable too.

I hope this posting is not so incoherent as any of the above.

(¡Cecilia, prefiero al loro colorado!)

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-05 12:26 ]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:22
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
As I started all this... Dec 5, 2002

My very first job after graduating in 1992 was a week-long freelance interpreting stint with a Scottish property development agency, who needed someone for the visit of a Russian bigwig. The chap in question - I\'ll call him Yuri (because that was his name) - was a hulk of a man in his fifties, weighing in at about 20 stone. He was head of Lenstroi - the Leningrad Region Construction Corporation, and a minister in the government, and a former Olympic swimmer to boot. An imposing figure to say the least. Various Scottish businessmen who we met, were trying to seduce him into signing property development contracts and were all desperate to impress him. One decided to schmooze him by flying him for the weekend up to Isla, one of the Hebridean islands. I, of course, was part of the package. The weather was, well, Scottish. As myself, Yuri, the head of the Scottish Development Agency and one of his cronies packed into a four seater light aircraft, a wicked storm set in. The plane was literally keeling to one side under Yuri\'s weight (I was the counterbalance at a weight of about 9 stone). One stomach-churning and nerve-wracking hour later we eventually landed... but this was where the hard part began. Donald the head Scottish honcho had lined up a visit to his friend... who ran the local Bowmore whisky distillery. It was a Saturday, so the place was closed, but they opened it specially for us. For the next seven hours we sat there sampling various whiskies... in large quantities. Yuri could take his drink. He also insisted that I try everything that they drank. The Scots struggled to keep up... I struggled to stay sober... and failed. Translation at this stage was an irrelevance as everyone was speaking the international language of the inebriated. At one point I stopped remembering anything....blackout - until, that is, I was woken up... in the men\'s room (I had presumably managed to crawl that far), crashed out on the floor. Standing above me was Yuri - the Russian government\'s deputy minister of construction - who proceeded to sling me over his shoulder and transport me to my room, where I duly crashed out. As I have continued to say, with alarming regularity, over the subsequent decade - life is never boring when you work with Russians.



Keep \'em coming guys.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:22
Member (2004)
English to Italian
It must be... Dec 5, 2002

translating the rules on how to use the big swinging arm attached to the ice cream vans owned by Italian immigrants in the States...



Giovanni


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Atenea Acevedo  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
An unusual and amazing interpreting assignment Dec 5, 2002

This is a great idea, thanks!!!



I was hired to be the personal interpreter of Rosemary Altea, psychic. She came to Mexico City to launch her then most recent book translated into Spanish. Live TV and radio, lectures, interviews, meditating, psychic readings were on the agenda. I used to be extremely skeptical of this kind of issues, so I said to myself \"Take it easy, it\'ll be a loooooon week. And enjoy yourself.\"



After the very first session with her I realized she was indeed gifted, for she would tell people \"messages\" that seemed to move everyone. We were driven all accross town and she kept communicating messages from \"the other side.\" I told my boyfriend about her and asked him if he\'d be interested in getting in touch with this amazing woman -his father had recently died of cancer and if there were anything left unsaid, well... We decided not to ask her to keep my professionalism untouched (Mrs. Altea is very nice, but also quite sensitive with her work). The next day she asked me: \"So, dear, is there anything you want to ask me?\" Wow, so I told her. She agreed and the three of us met at the lobby after work. We ordered drinks and out of the blue she started telling my boyfriend all these true things about his father. It felt exactly as if his father were right there, talking to us. The session was about an hour long. Amazing. It was a moving, sixth sense experience that brought the two of us much closer (my boyfriend doesn\'t speak English and I had to translate everything for him and for Rosemary) and helped me \"meet\" my father-in-law (he passed right after we started dating). A life-changing job, for sure.



Cheers,

Atenea


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:22
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mumbling? Dec 5, 2002

Jack, there are guys who actually BELIEVE they will be understood in the target language if they yell loud enough! I heard this story about a newbie in the European Commission who broke everybody\'s eardrums in the interpreting booth...



OK, Friday the Parrot came back for you!

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-12-06 00:00 ]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:22
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Och aye ... Dec 6, 2002

Had to think about this one as I\'ve done a few crackers in my time but the prize has to got to the Scots Pipe and Drum Band who came to take part in a very upmarket Italian musical history event held in my town every two years.

The last visitors were Aborigines and they just played their didgeridoes then went off to bed.

Not so our noble pipers and drummers.

They were pie-eyed from day 1 and very amenable to showing curious Italians what is really worn under a kilt (nothing - it\'s all in perfect working order).

After a chic evening in the regional winery where the sommelier fainted when they asked for sweet white with everything on the buffet table, they then moved on to the local pub to get a \"real drink\"....

However, the linguistic masterpiece was when an Italian ethnographer and university professor who spoke relatively good English came to ask me if I could actually understand our young Bravehearts. As I had been doing interpreting (without difficulty) for them for 3 days I was a bit put out ... so I said \"no, I\'m making it up as I go along...\", smiled sweetly and went off to the pub for a pint....and added Scottish to my list of language combinations...

Angela





Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:22
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
The 'airier' perspective... Dec 6, 2002

...could be seen in the fact that I once had to climb all the way up a scaffolding erected alongside a historic façade while \'simultaneously\' (in the two apparent meanings of the word) interpreting for a British architect in Berlin. Finally we ended up at a height of approx. 25 metres - and you can be assured that it took me quite a while to \'see things in perspective\'. That is where the magic \'attention to detail\' is suddenly filled with an entirely new meaning (\'mind the gap\').



Steffen


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

What\'s the most unusual interpreting/translation job you\'ve done?

Advanced search






SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs