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Off topic: You're interpreting then your allergies kick in and you start sneezing. Protocol?
Thread poster: Ana da Silva
Ana da Silva
Netherlands
Local time: 03:46
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Aug 30, 2011

Hi there,

Feel a bit silly asking but... I'm a novice interpreter. I've allergies and I'm worried that I'll start sneezing in the middle of my whispering interpreting assignment. And I don't just sneeze once, I sneeze some 6 or 7 times every time. I'm afraid that the woman I'll be interpreting for will be wearing perfume I'm allergic to and then what the heck do I do! I have pills but they don't work with everything.

Have you started sneezing/coughing/doing other involuntary body function during an assignment? How did you work with it?



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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:46
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Explain to those around you Aug 30, 2011

I am not aware of any protocol, but whether it exists or not, you would do well to explain your predicament, by saying in both languages

"Excuse me but I have an allergy and cannot stop myself from sneezing - kindly wait until I have recovered so that I may continue to interpret for you".

We interpreters are human after all!

Liz Askew


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:46
English to Polish
+ ...
Allergies and coughing Aug 30, 2011

1) If you have an allergy, you should take the appropriate medicine well in advance so that it starts working by the time you start the gig.
I have a mild spring allergy to some sort of pollen and if I expect it to start acting up (sneezing, runny nose), I just take a pill which keeps me "dry" for the rest of the day.

2) I have once had a situation where something got "caught in my throat" - nothing physical, but every time I started to speak I would start to cough uncontrollably.
I said to everyone in the room that I can't continue like this, so everyone took a 5 minute break, I drank a glass of water, coughed my lungs out in the bathroom and returned to finish the job.
There will, of course, be situations, where you really cannot interrupt, but you should not be afraid to say something that is not actual translation (ask for clarification, whatever).
After all, you're not a mindless machine.

HTH
Pawel Skalinski


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Ana da Silva
Netherlands
Local time: 03:46
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Liz! Aug 30, 2011

liz askew wrote:

I am not aware of any protocol, but whether it exists or not, you would do well to explain your predicament, by saying in both languages

"Excuse me but I have an allergy and cannot stop myself from sneezing - kindly wait until I have recovered so that I may continue to interpret for you".

We interpreters are human after all!

Liz Askew


haha, I'm just imagining trying to speak while sneezing! Really, thanks for the tip. I'm so nervous that I'd forgotten I'm human


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Ana da Silva
Netherlands
Local time: 03:46
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Pawel! Aug 30, 2011

PAS wrote:

1) If you have an allergy, you should take the appropriate medicine well in advance so that it starts working by the time you start the gig.
I have a mild spring allergy to some sort of pollen and if I expect it to start acting up (sneezing, runny nose), I just take a pill which keeps me "dry" for the rest of the day.

2) I have once had a situation where something got "caught in my throat" - nothing physical, but every time I started to speak I would start to cough uncontrollably.
I said to everyone in the room that I can't continue like this, so everyone took a 5 minute break, I drank a glass of water, coughed my lungs out in the bathroom and returned to finish the job.
There will, of course, be situations, where you really cannot interrupt, but you should not be afraid to say something that is not actual translation (ask for clarification, whatever).
After all, you're not a mindless machine.

HTH
Pawel Skalinski


That sounds terrible. I hope it doesn't happen often to you or others!


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:46
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
About being nervous Aug 31, 2011

Hello Ana

If this is one of your first assignments I can understand your nerves. I have been doing it too long now, I am almost an automat at times! and wonder if I have any feelings left:)

Seriously, if you are nervous try this:

1. Don't look at those around you, unless to establish the initial contact to make everybody feel "comfortable" with everybody else. Really, your are not the one who is supposed to look at the other speakers, but they should look at each other, after all your are just the interlocuteur/go-between.

2. I sometimes find it useful to focus on a picture/wall/you name it, other than the persons' faces, the latter can be distracting and can put you off-guard, or make concentration wobble.

3. If you get into difficulty/do not hear/need the sentence repeating, do not be frightened to say so.

4. If you find you are being expected to interpret too much information (sometimes the case when everybody there thinks you are a machine/know every word there is to know), then kindly ask everybody concerned to speak slowly and in short sentences.

All the above information relates to medical liaison interpreting.

And a big P.S. Don't forget that the other people there may well be nervous too!

Enjoy it!

Liz

[Edited at 2011-08-31 14:35 GMT]


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:46
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Adding to the advices above Sep 2, 2011

Don't take on full day whispering interpreting assignments until you have a bit more experience.
It is very tiring even for an experienced interpreter.
Make sure that you have some break, at least every hour, even if it is just for a few minutes. It is unlikely that anybody else would have to speak non-stop during the event, except for the poor interpreter(s), so they may not realise how much strain you are under.
Strictly speaking this kind of job should be shared between two interpreters, as they do at conference interpreting.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 03:46
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Allergies Sep 2, 2011

PAS wrote:

1) If you have an allergy, you should take the appropriate medicine well in advance so that it starts working by the time you start the gig.
I have a mild spring allergy to some sort of pollen and if I expect it to start acting up (sneezing, runny nose), I just take a pill which keeps me "dry" for the rest of the day.

For most people, no such pill exists. If it did, I would of course take it regularly, not just for jobs. Pills don't seem to have a noticeable effect on my hay fever symptoms, which are pretty bad this time of year, especially this year.
I have a simple solution: I don't take interpreting jobs in this period if I can help it. I think it'd be unprofessional.


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polskiexpert
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:46
Member (2010)
Polish to English
+ ...
medication and other stuff Sep 15, 2011

Hi there,

I suffer from a very bad hay fever myself (from May until August), I find those tablets magic:)

Flixonase spray
Aerius
Loratadine (non-drowsy!, but consult your GP first)

Sneezing does not really bother me or the other parties, the problem for me is the smell of cells and detainees in police custody;)

I am sure you will be fine.

M.


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opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:46
English to German
+ ...
How to avoid/delay sneezing Sep 15, 2011

Someone once showed me a little trick to avoid sneezing: as soon as you feel the next outburst is going to happen, you take two fingers and press them against your face, between your cheeks and the wings of the nose (pretty close to the nose actually, and on both sides of course). This affects the glands such that you can avoid the nasty eruption. -- Try it once, it works rather well.

Of course, if you suffer from hay fever, sneezing may be so frequent that it mightn't work at all. This is really an issue for you GP/medical specialist -- though I'd venture to say that so far no-one really has a true understanding of what's behind all those allergies. I know from family members that cortisone and acupuncture are two of the viable options out there, but it all depends.

Take care.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:46
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Try this Sep 15, 2011

Try interpreting in both directions, all day, at a high-powered business meeting *which you are also supposed to be attending as a key participant* in a small echoing room filled with people smoking. Try continuing to do it when everyone decides to "take a break for coffee".

Try doing the same thing again the next day.

I used to do this and it nearly killed me. By the end of the first day I was quite ill and my throat felt like sandpaper.

But I never sneezed. My biggest problem was not having time to swallow, and spraying saliva over the very important businesswoman sitting opposite me.

So Ana, I hope that makes you feel a little bit less silly for asking ! As for sneezing, amazingly, Liz's suggestion works: when you feel a sneeze coming on, just look at the brightest source of light (natural or artificial) in your surroundings. I guarantee you that your urge to sneeze will simply vanish.

[Edited at 2011-09-15 12:54 GMT]


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Mariella Bonelli  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:46
English to Italian
+ ...
Vaccine Sep 15, 2011

opolt wrote:

Of course, if you suffer from hay fever, sneezing may be so frequent that it mightn't work at all. This is really an issue for you GP/medical specialist -- though I'd venture to say that so far no-one really has a true understanding of what's behind all those allergies. I know from family members that cortisone and acupuncture are two of the viable options out there, but it all depends.

Take care.


Yes, it is rather annoying indeed. I am taking a vaccine against graminaceous and birch pollen allergy. I'll tell you if it works...


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Ana da Silva
Netherlands
Local time: 03:46
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the pill names! Sep 16, 2011

Marcin Rachmiel wrote:

I suffer from a very bad hay fever myself (from May until August), I find those tablets magic:)

Flixonase spray
Aerius
Loratadine (non-drowsy!, but consult your GP first)



I'll check with my GP. So far I've fallen asleep quite a bit on pills. And yes, I did have a few sneezing attacks during the meeting. Very embarrassing!


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Ana da Silva
Netherlands
Local time: 03:46
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Liz! It turned out quite stressful anyway. Sep 16, 2011

liz askew wrote:

Hello Ana

If this is one of your first assignments I can understand your nerves. I have been doing it too long now, I am almost an automat at times! and wonder if I have any feelings left:)



I got an email from the forum moderators asking me not to quote everything someone writes so in response to everything you wrote: thanks for taking your time to write all these tips! Actually, I found a lot of what you're suggesting in a self-training "session" I found online. Very useful.

It wasn't my first time but I was indeed nervous, especially after I found out the following:

1. The 2nd interpreter doesn't do 2-way so I had to be there through the whole assignment (2 days of 8 hrs each) in case the client wanted to speak English
2. The client asked me just to give him "summaries" of what people were saying because he understands English well. I was hired for simultaneous and not consecutive, which I'm not at all trained in.
3. The client didn't let me interrupt to ask speakers to repeat etc. (which was MUCH needed) and scowled at the anglo-saxonism of such interruptions

My allergies kicked in on the second day and I was horrified. My friends tell me I sneeze like a dog and I think they're right.

In any case after this experience I think interpreters should start at 1,000€ per day!


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Ana da Silva
Netherlands
Local time: 03:46
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your tips Juvera! Sep 16, 2011

juvera wrote:

Don't take on full day whispering interpreting assignments until you have a bit more experience. It is very tiring even for an experienced interpreter.



I didn't feel the work itself was so tiring but the "instructions" (of how to do my job) that I was presented with 5 minutes before I was due to start working made the job really difficult; I was hired for simultaneous but asked to do consecutive! (I responded to Liz above with a brief description).

juvera wrote:

Strictly speaking this kind of job should be shared between two interpreters, as they do at conference interpreting.



My research showed me that I made sure a 2nd was hired but she only did 1-way. Next time I'll pick the person myself!


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