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How to interpret during lunch or dinner?
Thread poster: Claudia Iglesias

Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 07:30
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Mar 25, 2004

This forum has been created just on time for my question

Next week I'll have assignements during lunch and dinners. What am I supposed to do? Not to eat?


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Antonella Andreella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:30
German to Italian
+ ...
yes and no Mar 25, 2004

Dear Claudia,

it all depends from the peolpe you interprete... some people really think intepreters don't need to eat!


Antonella


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
You may go hungry Mar 25, 2004

I've had it happen a lot, just as dinner is served, the program starts.

It's also good to tell the waiters your situation and get them to serve you first; either that or to save you something for after you are finished.

Just don't interpret with your mouth full!

And if all else fails, there's always Lomitón.


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Uwe Kirmse  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:30
Polish to German
+ ...
I hate dinners :-) Mar 25, 2004

If you can organise it so, that you eat something before the dinner and to avoid to get a meal served, than do it. If you have a plate on your place, there will always be some people, who say "Lets have a break in our conversation, the interpreter wants to eat." And when you then start to eat, the same man says "I've still only TWO words to say, jut translate it, please." And you have your mouth full of caviar...

Another thing: You'll have to learn some jokes. People start to tell jokes, which you won't be able to translate, so tell your joke. But if somebody understands it...
I don't translate such jokes. I usually say, that such a joke can't be translated, because it's specifically related to just one language. A good interpreter would tell now his joke, but I'm not a good one, so I won't. Some people even laugh, and the person, who's told the joke, will be happy.



[Edited at 2004-03-25 19:36]


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Kathi Stock  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:30
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Order a soup Mar 25, 2004

This usually works for me. Or...I don't eat at all. There is nothing worse than everyone staring at you..waiting that you start speaking.
Also, avoid any carbonated water


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Jairo Dorado
Local time: 12:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Eating out about Mar 25, 2004

Oh, a small piece of advice to be added to what all said. Do not eat something heavy before interpreting... sometimes it is really nasty to see how people eat.
BTW. meal times are not included in your duty if you are interpreting the rest of the event (i.e. a conference from 9a.m till 14p.m. and from 16p.m till 21p.m) From 14p.m till 16p.m you are free!


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:30
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Hmmm, did not think this would be a problem Mar 25, 2004

Claudia Iglesias wrote:
Next week I'll have assignements during lunch and dinners. What am I supposed to do? Not to eat?


Dear Claudia,
usually, the people you interpreter for have to eat too

I have never had any problems with eating schedules, since those who I have been interpreting for have always set a lunch or dinner break.

Just one advice: do not eat too much before interpreting. I am serious now, since in my case at least, if I eat too much lunch or dinner I feel like sleeping after a long day of interpreting and a full stomach.

I have also found out that whenever possible, taking a walk outside or even just going outside for a few minutes helps a lot. It helps a lot especially when you are in dark conference or court rooms.

Hope this helps and do to stay hungry

Monika


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:30
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
A happy experience :) Mar 25, 2004

uwe wrote:
I usually say, that such a joke can't be translated, because it's specifically related to just one language. A good interpreter would tell now his joke, but I'm not a good one, so I won't. Some people even laugh, and the person, who's told the joke, will be happy.


Dear Uwe,
I heard a similar case just a couple of months ago. There was a joke that the interpreter was not able to interpret it, and he told the audience:

Would you please do me a favour now? The speaker is telling a joke, so would you please start laughing to make him happy?

The results were great: everyone was happy, the audience who was laughing like crazy and the speaker who was so happy with his great joke!

Happy interpreting,
Monika

[Edited at 2004-03-25 19:48]


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Uwe Kirmse  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:30
Polish to German
+ ...
Too short! Mar 25, 2004

Monika Coulson wrote:
...and he told the audience:
Would you please do me a favour now? The speaker is telling a joke, so would you please start laughing to make him happy?


It's nice, but too short. My explanation is longer, so the chance is greater, that the speaker thinks, his joke has been translated.


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:30
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Can I copy you then Uwe? Mar 25, 2004

uwe wrote:
It's nice, but too short. My explanation is longer, so the chance is greater, that the speaker thinks, his joke has been translated.


Then, with your permission, I will copy your version Uwe. Please let me know if this is OK.

Have a great day!
Monika


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Uwe Kirmse  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:30
Polish to German
+ ...
Oh, Monika, you're soooo right... Mar 25, 2004

Monika Coulson wrote:
...Dear Claudia,
usually, the people you interprete for have to eat too.


...but from eg. 20 people at least one will always be speaking. They change every two minutes, so 19 people eat, and one speaks. And the interpreter?

I have never had any problems with eating schedules, since those who I have been interpreting for have always set a lunch or dinner break.


Congratulations!

Just one advice: do not eat too much before interpreting. I am serious now, since in my case at least, if I eat too much lunch or dinner I feel like sleeping after a long day of interpreting and a full stomach.


Oh, yes! Twice, when I've had interpreting jobs in the local court with long breakes, I went to a Chinese restaurant, where you can eat as much as you want just for 6 euros. It was a question of honour for me, to eat more than I had to pay for I'd never do it again!

Edited#1:
Monika, I have no copyrights, you don't need my permission, but you have it, of course

Edited#2:
We make jokes about jokes, but to those of us, who haven't translated at dinners yet: I's a really serious problem!

[Edited at 2004-03-25 20:10]

[Edited at 2004-03-25 20:12]


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Nedzad Selmanovic
Local time: 12:30
English to Bosnian
+ ...
eat before lunch or dinner Mar 25, 2004

I found myself in difficult situation so many times when I was asked to interpret while, at the same time, I expected to have my meal. So many times I did my best on satisfying the people I worked for, but could not satisfy myself. Some times I tried to eat faster and catch on the conversation. Does it make sense? Of course not. Some times I refrained from eating knowing that I will be asked to interpret, and I was still lucky with drinks. And what did I get with a drink or two? Nothing. My stomach remained empty. You see, I consider that I am working while interpreting during lunch. It's so stupid to ask the customer to compensate you with another lunch or its fair price after the meeting is over. It is maybe stupid to raise such question at all. The best answer is:
Be smarter and try to predict what can happen during lunch or dinner. The chance of you staying hungry is 99,9 %. Therefore, eat before, and exclude yourself from eating while they eat and talk. If you think you could lose some money by losing a meal, include a fair meal price into your charge, but do not specify it (sounds awful, but you may find this piece of advice useful, especially if you are offered a low rate per hour). And yes. Charge them always for your time. Be careful. Business lunch does not necessarily last as long as usual lunch break. It may last for two, sometimes three hours. Think of your job, your time, and your profession. Think ahead, think twice.

Best of luck and do not forget to eat before you go to the "flavourful" meeting.


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 07:30
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Mar 25, 2004

Many, many thanks...

Tomorrow I have a previous meeting, I'm going to ask many details, because at first I was told that I wouldn't need to prepare myself with technical stuff because I'd be in charge during meals only, for "social life", but then I was given the schedule of the whole day.
Thanks to your input I see what are going to be my questions tomorrow, because a 5 days diet would be too hard.
I'm not funny at all when I remember the jokes, it's going to be difficult too, I'll do my best (and no carbonated water).
Thank you!


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Fabiana Papastefani-Pezzoni  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 13:30
Member (2003)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Kethi is right... Mar 25, 2004

I have now learned to order just soups in dinners like that: first, it's easy to swallow, so gives you some time while you hear for a few second the speaker, and second you get something in your stomach any way. I usually go simultaneously, but when I start to slow down, they have always understood that they have to do so, too, or just have a break. It is harder when they are more then 6-7 of them.

It is not a seen to ask for a break and instead of eating, just go out for a couple of minutes (just like Monika said) and refresh your mind. In most of the cases, they understand. The only times I haven't done that is when I have been with the Prime Minister or with the President of the Republic (of my country, Albania). The talking has been rather hectic and there is nothing you can do. You can even touch your spoon in such cases.

For this reason is also good what other colleagues have suggested: have something before, but not too much.

Have fun,

Fabi


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 03:30
English to French
+ ...
Sorry, no chow for you! Mar 26, 2004

The way it usually goes, they eat while you speak, and while the other guy speaks. You never get a chance to eat.
A practical piece of advice: don't eat onion or garlic before your assignment, you'll probably have to sit near/across from your clients and those little things can spoil a business lunch -and your reputation as a professional.
Bon ap


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