Your estimate of difficulty in this job?
Thread poster: Constanza Fest

Constanza Fest
Local time: 08:05
French to German
+ ...
Sep 28, 2009

Hi everyone,

this is my first post here. I was very impressed by the congenial tone of the postings, so I dare post, too.

Though I'm not a professional I recently did my very first interpetation job. It was for an American bodywork teacher specialising in trauma treatment. He was giving a seminar in his method in Germany. My native language is German and I'm fluent in English. Since I was very broke and interested in the subject matter, I took the job - wouldn't have dared to otherwise. Having read a lot of boards by now, I think if the organizer even thought about hiring a professional he wanted to save the money, I'll get paid something like 300 €.

I'd like your estimate on how difficult the situation was in order to get a better feeling of my own talent and of how difficult the job was. So here's what the situation was like.

I worked on three days. First day, three hours. Second day, six and a half hours (3hrs/lunch break of 2hrs/3hrs). Third day, five hours (3,5hrs/lunch break 1hr/1,5hrs). Sometimes there were breaks for me when they were doing hands-on exercises. There were 18 participants and the teacher. I interpreted English to German when the teacher spoke (or when the rare English speaking participant adressed the teacher in English, because there were people in the audience who didn't speak English at all). Is that consecutive? I also interpreted German to English (simultaneous, whispering to him) when the teacher opened a question session or asked for feedback on exercises. The situation often was very emotional when people dealt with their personal trauma or when group dynamics played a part.

The teacher did send me two papers about his work but didn't specifically tell me he'd be reading them to his class and wanting me to translate. Same thing happened with a PP-presentation full of medical terms. I'd asked the organizer whether I needed to prepare for such an eventuality, he'd said no.

On the third day, when after three hours I told the speaker I was pretty tired and that an hour's lunch break seemed too short to me, he told me "That's your problem, that's part of the job!", I was a bit taken aback. Was he right?

Everybody was very pleased with my work and I have to say, after the nerves had cooled down, on the second day it started to be fun and seemed easy, although I felt drained on the day following the event. I don't remember much of what was said because most of the time my mind was blank. Any of this indicate any talent, me being a "natural", as some claimed?

Thank you.

Constanza


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not too bad Sep 29, 2009

Both the job and your performance. Keep going, it can get much worse, but each time you'll get better.

You'll make it.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:05
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
To try to help out Sep 29, 2009

First of all, welcome to the interpreting forum.

Misscarpone wrote:

Hi everyone,

this is my first post here. I was very impressed by the congenial tone of the postings, so I dare post, too.

Though I'm not a professional I recently did my very first interpetation job. It was for an American bodywork teacher specialising in trauma treatment. He was giving a seminar in his method in Germany. My native language is German and I'm fluent in English. Since I was very broke and interested in the subject matter, I took the job - wouldn't have dared to otherwise. Having read a lot of boards by now, I think if the organizer even thought about hiring a professional he wanted to save the money, I'll get paid something like 300 €.


We have day rates and half-day rates. This is the most convenient way to look at it. We also have hour rates - as in court - but they're not all that practical, considering the research that has to be done in each case (null in the case of courts, which always call you in cold turkey and presume you have done all the research or hold, at the least, the qualifications).

In this sense, € 300 could be a minimum half-day rate.

I worked on three days. First day, three hours. Second day, six and a half hours (3hrs/lunch break of 2hrs/3hrs). Third day, five hours (3,5hrs/lunch break 1hr/1,5hrs). Sometimes there were breaks for me when they were doing hands-on exercises. There were 18 participants and the teacher. I interpreted English to German when the teacher spoke (or when the rare English speaking participant adressed the teacher in English, because there were people in the audience who didn't speak English at all).


Three hours accounts for a half day, on a one-interpreter basis. Meaning, you should have had some break during those three hours, else they should have hired two interpreters.

Is that consecutive?


Whoa, consecutive is when you are called upon to deliver an interpretation after a certain amount of time and a certain amount of note-taking, no talk about décalage (that space of 6-10 words between speaker delivery and interpreter delivery).

I also interpreted German to English (simultaneous, whispering to him) when the teacher opened a question session or asked for feedback on exercises. The situation often was very emotional when people dealt with their personal trauma or when group dynamics played a part.


Simultaneous interpreting is a different mode from chuchotage (whispering).

The teacher did send me two papers about his work but didn't specifically tell me he'd be reading them to his class and wanting me to translate. Same thing happened with a PP-presentation full of medical terms. I'd asked the organizer whether I needed to prepare for such an eventuality, he'd said no.


Never take for granted that the organizer is a practising interpreter. OF COURSE you'll have to prepare.

On the third day, when after three hours I told the speaker I was pretty tired and that an hour's lunch break seemed too short to me, he told me "That's your problem, that's part of the job!", I was a bit taken aback. Was he right?


There's a difference in rate between an interpreter who knows s/he takes on a job with breaks every 30-45 minutes, either because s/he is partnered with another interpreter or because the conference was prepared that way, and an interpreter who assumes a high-stress job alone because he knows he can do it. The latter collects more than the former. I believe the minimum day rate has been set at € 550 for the former, as of now, anyway.

Everybody was very pleased with my work and I have to say, after the nerves had cooled down, on the second day it started to be fun and seemed easy, although I felt drained on the day following the event. I don't remember much of what was said because most of the time my mind was blank. Any of this indicate any talent, me being a "natural", as some claimed?


Congratulations, then. The drain on the last day is normal, I personally call it post-partum. Nothing like three days on the beach or on holiday to recover. That's why interpreters have to charge somewhat high

Much of what is done in simo interpreting functions over short-term memory. I wouldn't worry about not remembering what happened.

PS: Anyone who thinks interpreting is an 8-hour day job is a bit off-track. In fact, the maximum you should load an interpreter (with or without partners) is six hours. Interpreter breaks count towards maintaining the efficiency of the interpreter. Undeniably, there are people who can stand more - but they also ask for more.

[Edited at 2009-09-29 02:47 GMT]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Maybe I'm in the wrong place Sep 29, 2009

€ 550 comes out to close to US$800 per day, and € 300, maybe US435 per half day, and that is not for killing oneself solo all day long.

Here if we are very lucky if we can get someone to pay us half that much for interpreting, many only get a third or less. So rather being in the wrong place, I stay home and translate, the pay is much better.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:05
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The development could be recent Sep 29, 2009

Henry Hinds wrote:

€ 550 comes out to close to US$800 per day, and € 300, maybe US435 per half day, and that is not for killing oneself solo all day long.

Here if we are very lucky if we can get someone to pay us half that much for interpreting, many only get a third or less. So rather being in the wrong place, I stay home and translate, the pay is much better.


I recall when €550 was the equivalent of $USD 400-450. Which is not to say that the European market backtracked and rolled back. In effect, particularly in the Germanic combinations, it didn't.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Rate Sep 29, 2009

Latest rate, 1.00 EUR = 1.46279 USD.

The dollar has been going down the tubes for some time. Well, we are in the third world, but we also have a third world cost of living. That's our secret.


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Mandy Williams  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:05
German to English
German market Sep 29, 2009

Henry,

Not sure your language combination would get you very far here but 550 EUR is much lower than the average interpreting rate on the German market.

If you want any more information, the BDÜ association of interpreters and translators published a report last year (I think) based on a rate survey.

Regards,
Mandy


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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
100 USD per day? Sep 29, 2009

or 100 for the whole thing?
In any case, that is a very, very low rate.
Even in Australia, where the rates not always as high as in Europe, that is the minimum I would get paid for one hour (and that would be government work, otherwise I charge per half day or per day, even if the actual jobs takes only one hour).
Don't forget the long hours you spent preparing the assigments, which are unpaid. It also justifies the final rate.

....................................
http://france-japon.my.proz.com


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
And the terminology? Sep 29, 2009

So what did you do the all the medical terminology? It would seem a little hard to avoid. Did the speak just deliver a couple of sentences and then you had to offer the translation? It sounds like it was liason interpreting. You don't have to be specifically trained to do liason interpreting, but even so €100 a day is mean.

[Editado a las 2009-09-29 10:08 GMT]


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Constanza Fest
Local time: 08:05
French to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your feedback Sep 29, 2009

Hello everyone,

thank you for your posts, with all the supporting, interesting and humorous advice.

I enjoyed reading my emails this morning! It just feels different to get feedback from others who are fluent in (at least) two languages then from the participants and teachers who (mostly) were not.

So I feel even more satisfied because after reading, I understand it was a challenging situation (I did have to interpret for one and a half hours straigth several times, no breaks) and my first time.

To clarify about payment: The deal was 300€ for the two last days of the job (Saturday & Sunday). I was asked to do the Friday (3,5hrs) on short notice, as the organizer is a friend, I said yes without clarifying how much more I'd then be earning. But I guess it won't be more than 400€ total in the end. Judging by your discussions, provided I understood correctly, that's peanuts.

I'm still not sure what the technical term for what I was doing is. Was it liaison interpreting? But the group was pretty big, 18 people. Does liaison interpreting relate to the situation and number of people present? When I was whispering to the teacher, that would have been chuchotage - but that's like real quiet simultaneous interpreting, isn't it? I had a décalage of like 6-8 word to the participant speaking German. Sorry, I guess this is all really clear to you professionals, but isn't to me.

I probably won't be making a fulltime job out of interpreting, but if something like that crops up again, English to German, bodywork or spiritual teaching, I'll probably do it and get more money and better conditions. And I'll also know more about how to prepare!

Thanks again!

Constanza

[Edited at 2009-09-29 12:11 GMT]


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Constanza Fest
Local time: 08:05
French to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
medical terminology Sep 29, 2009

Hi Tatty,

Tatty wrote:

So what did you do the all the medical terminology? It would seem a little hard to avoid. Did the speak just deliver a couple of sentences and then you had to offer the translation? It sounds like it was liason interpreting. You don't have to be specifically trained to do liason interpreting, but even so €100 a day is mean.

[Editado a las 2009-09-29 10:08 GMT]



I am trained in bodywork and so have learnt some (German) medical terminology, at least muscles and bones. I also did some self-study with a great book in English, so I knew some English words, too. I think sometimes I just kept the latin terms in my German translation of the speaker's text. It was helpful that he himself had already tried to keep it simple. And some participants helped out with their knowledge, too. When I really didn't know something, I just said so, and the teacher tried to explain until someone understood and found the German word. It was all very easy going.

Greetings,

Constanza

[Edited at 2009-09-29 12:05 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:05
French to German
+ ...
Explore further Sep 29, 2009

Misscarpone wrote:


I probably won't be making a fulltime job out of interpreting, but if something like that crops up again, English to German, bodywork or spiritual teaching, I'll probably do it and get more money and better conditions. And I'll also know more about how to prepare!

Thanks again!

Constanza

[Edited at 2009-09-29 12:11 GMT]

Hi Constanza,
my congrats on your first interpreting job!
As per the "specialties" you mention in the post I quote, I would advise you to explore the potential further - you may be surprised!


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Constanza Fest
Local time: 08:05
French to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Sep 29, 2009

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

Hi Constanza,
my congrats on your first interpreting job!
As per the "specialties" you mention in the post I quote, I would advise you to explore the potential further - you may be surprised!


Hi Laurent,

thank you! I think I'll take your advice. If I need help in how exactly to explore the potential, I now feel I can turn to the forum again. Really, how come everyone seems so kind and generous?

Take care, everyone.

Constanza


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:05
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It didn't sound like liaison to me Sep 29, 2009

Misscarpone wrote:

I'm still not sure what the technical term for what I was doing is. Was it liaison interpreting? But the group was pretty big, 18 people. Does liaison interpreting relate to the situation and number of people present? When I was whispering to the teacher, that would have been chuchotage - but that's like real quiet simultaneous interpreting, isn't it? I had a décalage of like 6-8 word to the participant speaking German. Sorry, I guess this is all really clear to you professionals, but isn't to me.


Liaison is a facilitation kind of interpreting. It could be a small meeting, or taking the boss' wife shopping and -- you're right, the number of people and how they are organized is determinant. It's easy to control a busload of incentive tourists when working alongside an experienced guide, for example, but one does draw the line when the bus is filled with technicians out for a factory tour, and the "guide" is a expert in turbines.

It sounds more like a regular job, methinks. So more's the credit. Not all our "regular jobs" are classifiable, and one can end up working under VERY flexible conditions. I've seen booths like gas chambers, speakers only visible on mini-screens, briefcase devices and no booths at all.

You can't really single out chuchotage as a separate technique, but this may be the only possibility in a liaison situation where the client is sitting in at a meeting. Historically, it's a mode that sort of "went out" with the League of Nations, when the poor man had to remain standing behind or bent over the person he was interpreting for. (I believe women became more acceptable with the advent of simo; at any rate, there has been an elevated ratio of women in the field ever since).


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