First time working as part of a team of interpreters..any suggestions?
Thread poster: Sara Senft

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 28, 2009

I have an assignment on Monday. The PM in charge mentioned in an email yesterday that I will be working with another interpreter from the agency. (The customer requested two interpreters.)

This is my first time collaborating with another interpreter on an assignment. Do you have any suggestions to help make this appointment successful?

By the way....we will interpret consecutively, not simultaneously.


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Maksym Kozub  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:55
Member (2008)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Event type Aug 28, 2009

I think it may be easier for some of us to provide you with some sort of advice if you tell us more about the event itself. Will it be a workshop, or negotiations, or something else? There may be all sorts of timing arrangements, etc.

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Paola Dossan
Italy
Local time: 00:55
English to Italian
+ ...
A few tips Aug 28, 2009

Hi Sara,
in my experience (almost 15 years now) I have come to understand that working in a team or alone does not actually make any difference from a strictly professional point of view: you are there to interpret and you will perform your best any way.

However, I would give you a couple of tips: 1. be yourself with your colleague. Don't try to boast any peculiar experience you may have and simply tell your colleague this is the first time you are part of a team. 2. keep quiet. Working in a team means that you are supposed to help each other in case of any problem: this is the best way to work.

You are not competing and you are not fighting for anything in the future: you are there to work together and enjoy that.

Hope I have been of some help.
Good luck for your assignment and let us know how it goes.
Paola


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Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More details Aug 28, 2009

Maksym Kozub wrote:

I think it may be easier for some of us to provide you with some sort of advice if you tell us more about the event itself. Will it be a workshop, or negotiations, or something else? There may be all sorts of timing arrangements, etc.


The audience is senior citizens and the event itself appears to be an informational event.


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Maksym Kozub  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:55
Member (2008)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Technical details Aug 28, 2009

Paola Dossan wrote:

in my experience (almost 15 years now) I have come to understand that working in a team or alone does not actually make any difference from a strictly professional point of view: you are there to interpret and you will perform your best any way.
I agree here. However, there are some things to think about and plan in advance, e.g. when to replace each other, whether to sit next to each other or in different parts of the room, etc. Suppose, for example, that the event is a meeting with participants speak English and Spanish, and both interpreters are native speakers of English. They can work in both directions, but X is more fluent in Spanish than Y. In this case, if time will be distributed roughly 50/50 between English and Spanish speakers, it may be logical for those two colleagues to agree that X will become the "voice" of English speakers, while Y will be interpreting from Spanish into English.
You are not competing and you are not fighting for anything in the future: you are there to work together and enjoy that.
Seconded.
To enjoy it, however, it is always better to know in advance the professional level of that other colleague, in order to know what to expect.


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Magdalena Macinska  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:55
English to Polish
+ ...
some more tips Aug 28, 2009

You might want to also spend a few minutes before the event starts to talk a little bit with your partner, to get to know her/him- that will put you both at ease and create a friendly atmosphere.

Even if it is not your turn to interpret try to stay close to your partner so that if he/she gives you a signal that she needs to change you can make the shift smoothly. Be attentive to your colleague's needs and if you see he/she needs a glass of water or an extra pen assist them. You can expect the same thing from them!

These are the benefits of working in a team- we can count on our partner's support, we just need to find a common rhythm, and it's slightly more tricky when doing a consecutive because you are so much more visible to the audience than in a booth, but it can be done discreetly and efficiently.

Personally, at the end of the assignment I like to exchange comments with my partner. We give each other constructive feedback on eachother's performance. However, I must
admit I have always worked with people I know, so I knew they would be comfortable with it.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:55
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Uhm... Aug 28, 2009

Sara, I think you need more information on the distribution of labor. Are you going to be two to ensure two one-way channels (En>Sp/Sp>En), in order to cover the expected number of attendees (informal stand-around event), or in order to be able to alternate in the course of a long day? (As in speeches).

Once you get this information right, I think it's straight sailing. Clients don't usually ask for two interpreters when one will suffice.


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First time working as part of a team of interpreters..any suggestions?

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