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Off topic: Things doesn't happen to me like to everybody else. (interpreting story)
Thread poster: Edwal Rospigliosi

Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 1, 2005

Hi everybody.

You know, there are things that only happen to me. Today, I was simultaneous interpreter in a conference for top executives. 5 stars hotel, multimedia, and cordon bleu, the whole works. First time in a setup like this one, so I'm decided to show my skill, and perhaps make some marketing contacts.

In the morning: My booth partner didn't arrive. Nobody else available. 4 hours interpreting alone. I end with smoke pouring out of my ears, tired and seeing double.

Lunch: Top of the line, I-don't-know-what à la creme, whatchamitiscalled a la pomes de terre, crépes a la can't-spell-it. Of course, I was so tired that I didn't want to talk to those executives, so my marketing plan flies out of the window.

After lunch, alone in the booth, I start to feel my feet itching (No, I'm a really clean guy). Seconds later, my armpits. Then, my chest and behind the ears. I feel my face getting hot.

The lecturer is talking, and he's talking as if his tongue were tied to his palate. I take off my jacket (not small deal if you are trying at the same time to interpret for somebody talking in a toneless voice guaranteed to send you to sleep).

My arms are red, and I see the swellings spreading. "food poisoning!" I think. I wanted to leave, but hey, I'm the only interpreter here, and this guy is being paid big bucks by his lecture. So I decide that, unless I start to feel really bad, I won't quit. And it's only an itching (but really bad), and nobody died of itch ever (silly me).

It was like trying to land a 747 while having all your pestering nephews torturing you with feathers. At first, I try to scratch discretely. No joy. Itch grows. Desperate, I take off my shoes and socks and start to scratch. I use the other guy's headphone to scratch my back. I open my shirt to scratch my belly. All of this, while interpreting for this guy and trying not to ruin my reputation.

At the end, the tall guy in a suit that entered the booth has been replaced by a guy shoeless and sockless, with the pants up to the knees, with an open shirt (thanks god I brought my wide tie), scratching so hard that sometimes I draw blood.

My scalp isn't spared either, so my head looks like a mix between Einstein and Don King. All of this, while interpreting. (I suppose the people that saw me wondered why I was doing so many pirouettes in my booth. In fact, the guy in the sound gear thought I had a girl inside with me).

After one and a half hours, the conference ends. The lecturer wants to thank me, he says I was great. I say thanks from the booth, I stand up and make a you're welcome gesture. Thanks god these things have the glass from the waist up.

So, I finished this conference blooded, scratched, itched, wet (I poured the whole water flagon on my feet to try to stop that ***** itch).

Suffering, I put all my clothes in some kind of order to get out of the booth. I go directly to the hotel desk and, shakily, explain the problem, they immediately (well, "immediately" after they finished laughing their *sses off) call a doctor with a fetish for injections, who deftly puts a Dexametazone in my 10-ring and insists that, since I was the only affected, it was an allergy and not food poisoning, so the hotel has no accountability at all.

Now I'm writing from my bed, tired, pained and scratched as if I had fought with a racoon. My only satisfaction is that my interpreting was good, and my reputation is intact.

But tomorrow... tomorrow will be other day. I'm afraid of leaving my bed.

[Edited at 2005-03-01 01:06]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-03-01 09:48]

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Local time: 16:13
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

Bon courage, Edwal! Mar 1, 2005

...maybe your partner heard that a flea-infested animal had been caught in the booth and was reluctant to scratch himself to death bring some flea powder to work with you tomorrow

Really, Edwal, you were very brave and you'll be even braver if you return! sure you can take the teasing, why else would you post here? (because you'll soon be inundated with posts from interpreters with similarly funny anecdotes).

Meanwhile, try Lanacane or calamine lotion, and good luck, Edwal!

All the best,

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Local time: 13:13
English to French
+ ...
Murphy's law! Mar 1, 2005

at its best! -or worst-

[Edited at 2005-03-01 19:34]

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Kathinka van de Griendt  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:13
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
Thank you! Mar 1, 2005

Thanks Edwal,
that was one of the funniest, bravest, most endearing things I have ever come across - you're a star!!


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Martine Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:13
Member (2003)
English to French
+ ...
Thanks to share... Mar 1, 2005

I thought i was the only one to get "strange things" at unappropriate moments.

Thanks to share... but i really care for you...

It is so messy some day, when you are not born under the good star...

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NataliaElo  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:13
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
What a story! Mar 1, 2005


I hold my fingers crossed for you tomorrow. Please come back and tell how did it end.


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Silvina Beatriz Codina  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:13
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ah, the charms of the interpreting profession... Mar 1, 2005

Seen from the outside interpreting is quite glamorous: rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, working in five-stars hotels, lots of travel, abroad even. Alas, all that is glamorous also has an underbelly no one tells you about: the no-show (or completely useless) booth partner, the droning, or completely unintelligible speaker. I admit I had never heard of an allergic fit in the booth, but hey, it's all within the possibilities.

You must see the bright side, however: at least you were up in the fishbowl... you could have been doing consecutive instead, in front of an unsympathetic (or worse, amused) audience...

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:13
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I always admired interpreters, but this is really impressive! Mar 1, 2005

I make mistakes. That's how I learned to proof read.

I have to go over everything three times, preferably five, so if there were no deadlines I'd still be perfecting the first jobs I was ever given. (And with me interpreting, the speaker would have finished his speech before I had got past the 'Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for inviting me to your beautiful city ' bit.)

If I get a migraine attack (mercifully they're seldom... ) I simply ring the agency and tell them they have to wait until the pills work. Otherwise I mix up all my languages in my translation and the end client never sees the joke.

I'm allergic to certain perfumes and get sick on VERY small quantities of alcohol! So I love translating menus, but eating them... Only when I trust the cook, even if I can spell it!!

Well, it takes all sorts t make a world, but if I had a morning like that I'd have given up before I got as far as lunch. Interpreters are made of much sterner stuff, and I loved the story.

It really made me see how lucky I am! You must be really brilliant, Edwal, when your partner turns up and things run smoothly. I hope they do most of the time - you deserve it!

Christine (Mimosa)

[Edited at 2005-03-01 20:50]

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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:13
English to Spanish
+ ...
And today... Mar 2, 2005

Well, it was an allergy, that's definite. I'm ok now, just a bit aching in the joints, and all my scratches. I think it was the dessert, because it had some kind of cheese I had never eaten before.

Today I went back to the hotel, for today's conference. Looks like I'm famous, because when I arrived the female receptionist made me eyes and smiled, and the waiter brought me to the booth a tray not only with the customary water flagon and glass, but a dish with a lone antiallergic pill in it, and a Chinese scratcher (one of those small canes with a hand carved at the end). Of course, the effing joker came the long way, through the whole conference hall, so everybody saw it. I'm sure I only imagined the giggling sound.

The good part is that my employer (who wasn't yesterday when I left) not only congratulated me by my bravery above and beyond the call of duty, but he footed the doc's bill.

The bad part is that at lunch, all the others received the fancy, expensive menu... and I received a bowl of chicken soup.

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Local time: 06:13
Italian to English
+ ...
Edwal - you should change your profile..... Mar 2, 2005

to read:


Your marketing idea took on a different angle but you'll have done some marketing for sure my Dear!


p.s.: how was the soup???

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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:13
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
What a remarkable story! Like in the movies... Mar 2, 2005

Dear Edwal,
Thank you for sharing this remarkable story. I will always remember you as a hero interpreter. Yes, you definitely should put this story in your website and link it to your profile.


[Edited at 2005-03-02 17:25]

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Things doesn't happen to me like to everybody else. (interpreting story)

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