How much can an interpreter take?
Thread poster: makary

Local time: 00:38
English to Polish
+ ...
Apr 30, 2002

I am organizing interpreting assisintance for a system start-up team. There will be a few areas where round-the-clock support is needed for a few days. Now, can I safely assume that an interpreter/assistant can work 12 hours a day for three days and then a 24 hour break will be enough to expect

him/her work again thee 12 hr working days?

Working environment is not very friendly (machines, noise etc.) but again it is just for a few days...

If you have any knowhow related to this sort of projects (possible traps etc.) I would be happy to hear from you.




Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO) (X)
Local time: 18:38
German to English
+ ...
Not quite sure I understand you Apr 30, 2002

Are you referring to technicians watching over the simultaneous equipment or the actual interpreters?

As for interpreters, I can tell you that, under AIIC rules (as well as others), interpreters are expected to take turns after about 25 minutes, and the usual interpreting day lasts for about 8 hours (e.g., from 9AM to 5PM).


Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:38
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
We are not machines. May 1, 2002

I don\'t think you can safely assume that anybody will talk for 12 hours.

First of all, you need TWO interpreters for each \"shift\". Their working time should not exceed 8 hours, if you expect any quality.

You may reasonably expect that one interpreter will do the job (8 hours) only if:

* you do not expect simultaneous interpreting

* you arrange for 20 min. breaks every 1-1,5 hour, plus 1,5 hour break in the middle,

* the nature of the job is the interpreter will be needed to be there all the time, but actually interpret only from time to time.

As for possible traps:

* Make sure that interpreters receive enough information and possibly written materials on this new system well before the actual job. They need to read it and prepare. This apllies in ALL cases, no matter how experienced they are.

* If during the assignment the parties discuss any documents - make sure you have copies for the interpreters, and if available - give it to them BEFORE the actual meeting.

* Last, but not least - do not forget about water and cofee for interpreters, gallons of it icon_smile.gif.


PS your statement: noise, machines, etc. but it\'s just for few days. Wrong: professional interpreters do it everyday, not just for few days only so the work conditions are very important for them. Furthermore, if they will have to shout, you will need a new interpreter every 6 hours or so. My advice is tell them from the start that work conditions are like that and make sure they accept it.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-05-01 19:49 ]


Local time: 00:38
English to Polish
+ ...
Just looking for some first-hand advice May 9, 2002

Magda, thanks for a nice recap of dos and donts. I really appreciate it.


On 2002-04-30 23:52, AbacusTrans wrote:

Are you referring to technicians watching over the simultaneous equipment or the actual interpreters?

Well, I am referring to neither.

I do not expect anyone to talk or interpret 12 hours a day. System implementation or machine start-ups are not to be compared with regular interpreting work. Most of the time is waiting and watching others work and \"be available\" just in case you are needed. Not much fun but someone has to do it.

I have taken part in events like this but never really organized one, so I asked my question. It is always good to hear from people who are more experienced, isn\'t it?

Thanks anyway.



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How much can an interpreter take?

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