Need advice from experienced interpreters
Thread poster: vivni
Oct 21, 2010

Hi everyone
I am a fresh person in this industry and really keen to offer my service. Could you please advise me of

1) What details do I ask of the contact person in order to prepare myself for this job from a language and terminology perspective? eg interpreting for custom or hospital.

2)What details do I ask of or say to the contact person in order to prepare myself for this job from the perspective of arriving at the job on time? If I already know that I can't be on time for the job, what should I do ?

Thanks a lot

Viv


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 16:02
English to Russian
+ ...
from my experience Oct 22, 2010


1) What details do I ask of the contact person in order to prepare myself for this job from a language and terminology perspective? eg interpreting for custom or hospital.


Not sure what you mean by "interpreting for custom", but can answer your question about interpreting for a hospital, based on my experience. You will not always have the complete information. Just do the best with whatever information is given to you. For example, when I was told I would be interpreting for a pre-liver transplant consultation, I went on line, researched liver transplant, learned a lot about it and prepared a glossary of related terms.

You will not always be able to do so, however. If you think you'll be interpreting in hospitals a lot, it makes sense to really study medical terminology in your language pair (by the way, what is it?)

2)What details do I ask of or say to the contact person in order to prepare myself for this job from the perspective of arriving at the job on time? If I already know that I can't be on time for the job, what should I do ?


I'm not sure my experience in Los Angeles is applicable in New Zeland, but I'll share it anyway. I always assume that traffic will be worst imaginable and give myself plenty of time to get there. I also always carry some reading material with me, because usually I arrive way too early.

With google maps and GPS, asking for exact directions is no longer necessary, but if it's a big hospital, you might want to ask where exactly do you have to go inside the hospital. Some hospitals are so huge, it's easy to get lost inside!

And if you are already late... well, first of all, make sure it happens extremely infrequently! But if it happens, just call the client, tell them you are running late, tell them WHY (and you better have a very good reason!), and give them the estimate of how soon do you think you'll arrive.

And if you had a misfortune of arriving late, I'd strongly recommend to give the client a discount on your invoice, even if it was completely beyond your control. It happened to me twice in the last three years, and gave the client a discount in both cases. It was a small price to pay to keep a good client!

Good luck to you.


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akots  Identity Verified
Greek to English
+ ...
Be prepared! Oct 22, 2010

First of all, welcome to the field!

I agree with everything our US colleague has already said, and only have a couple of points to make.

It is imperative that you learn from your client as much about what is to be discussed as possible. The Internet is a very powerful tool our days and can help you come up with a very helpful glossary even when all you have to go with is a couple of words.

If you're going to be interpreting at a conference, try to get hold of the program. The titles of the lectures and even the names of the lecturers can become invaluable sources of information via the Internet. Also, get in touch with your booth-body and try to exchange glossaries or (since that may be difficult as some interpreters don't like to share) try to come to an agreement on the tools to be used (hard-copy dictionnaries, notebooks, notes, etc - though I strongly recommend that you always carry a notebook with you at conferences, as it may be helpful with .ppt lectures). If you're lucky, you'll also get abstracts of the presentations...

Which brings us again to the point of being prepared: study hard before each and every interpreting assignment. Not only will that provide you with terminology, it will also provide you with an overall feeling of the topic in both languages.

Try to make a list of common acronyms and their translations: in many cases, such lists have truly saved the day for me.

Also, try NOT to run late. If you do, follow Alexandra's adviceQ it is excellent. If you turn up sooner rather than later a) you make a good impression, b) you might get a chance to talk to the speakers and clarify things (but do so discreetly) and c) you get to run an audio check, in order to avoid nasty surprises later on.

Best of luck!


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vivni
TOPIC STARTER
thanks for your advices Oct 22, 2010

Hi Alexandra and Akots

You two are really helpful. Thanks for your advices and really appreciate it.
By the way, my languages are English and Mandarin.


warm regards

Viv


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:02
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Welcome, vivni! Oct 22, 2010

I can only add to what's already been said that arriving early gives you advantages in certain settings: you can talk to the client and get briefed (not all clients understand the importance of a briefing to us), and if working at a conference, you can get a technical briefing on the equipment or even test it, as well as get your bearings as regards the venue.

However, in court, talking to the client might not be a good idea (if the court hired you, for instance, consorting with either of the parties in a case may be taken against you, even if you're doing it in the interest of language).


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vivni
TOPIC STARTER
thanks for all the advices Oct 23, 2010

Hi Parrot

Thanks for your advice. Nice one.
Really can learn a lot from your guys.

Cheers

Viv


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xxxatarget
Local time: 19:02
Polish to English
In medical interpretation Dec 13, 2010

Parrot wrote:

I can only add to what's already been said that arriving early gives you advantages in certain settings: you can talk to the client and get briefed (not all clients understand the importance of a briefing to us), and if working at a conference, you can get a technical briefing on the equipment or even test it, as well as get your bearings as regards the venue.

However, in court, talking to the client might not be a good idea (if the court hired you, for instance, consorting with either of the parties in a case may be taken against you, even if you're doing it in the interest of language).

briefing by the client is crucial. That's the reason why "face to face" interpreting is in itself the better setting for that kind of work. 100% of my assignments are OPI and only ca. 5% of providers brief me prior to rendition. In order to render flawlessly over-the-phone in medical environment one needs to have many years of interpreting experience in other, less demanding areas. Additionally OPI has to be able to seamlessly enter the process because, as I mentioned above, briefings take place only sporadically.
best luck in your endeavour !

[Edited at 2010-12-13 17:54 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-12-13 17:54 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-12-13 18:45 GMT]


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