No interpreting equipment at event--seeking advice
Thread poster: xxxjenbikkal
xxxjenbikkal

Local time: 01:34
French to English
+ ...
Oct 31, 2012

Hi all,

I need some advice. I accepted a job for simultaneous interpreting late last week. I was initially told that I would be in a booth with a booth partner. Well, the day before the event it turned out that we would not be in booths and we would not have partners. I still went ahead with the job because it was only 1/2 day, I did not want to bail... and I was told that we would have headsets.

I arrive on-site 2 hours early to check out the room and set up... and they did not set us up with head sets!!

We had mics, and the listeners had ear pieces, but we basically had to listen to the speakers without ANY kind of sound amplification. They of course rarely talked loud enough, and there were many times where outside traffic, opening and closing of doors, chatting attendees got in the way of out interpretation since we had zero isolation.

I accepted the job knowing that I would not have a partner or booth, but I honestly would have declined the job if I had known that we would not at least heave headsets.

Oh and of course, I requested a PO but was told that a verbal agreement would suffice! I replied that I needed at least an email containing the info. So I have an email with the info, but no PO.

I plan on writing the agency a long email, but really I am thinking of somehow charging more for this inconvenience since I felt misled and my interpretation was jeopardized. Can I monetize this? How would I determine an amount?

I was told several times that we "we're not at the UN" !!! How would the client feel if they did not have the bare minimum to work with? I'd love to see them work without a desk and drawers for a few days...

In any case, how would you deal with this situation?

Thanks for your advice.

-Jen


[Edited at 2012-10-31 21:15 GMT]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
My Advice Oct 31, 2012

Don't work for them again. Interpreting for an outfit that does not provide proper support is the pits. They are simply not professional and they make you look bad. As for charging them extra, you will probably be lucky to collect any fee at all, so just take it and run.

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xxxjenbikkal

Local time: 01:34
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Oct 31, 2012

Thanks Henri. That's exactly why I'm upset....I was the one who seemed unprepared, and unprofessional. And my interpretation was not that great either. We're the ones in the front line...In any case, thanks for your advice!

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Maria Lila  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:34
French to Spanish
+ ...
Invoice them and forget them Oct 31, 2012

I agree with Henry. (I've been offered before sim interpreting alone or without proper facilities and I've always refused), after all, it's your own credibility that will be questioned. From the minute they changed the conditions, I would have refused to undertake such "assignment", as nothing good could be expected.

Everyone tries to cut off from everywhere, the problem comes when you cut off from basic needs. If there's a conference running that needs sim interpreting, well, they must have made sure they could afford it before committing to it.

Now, that's done, just take as a "learning lesson", invoice them (the agreed amount, avoid any further discussion) and set your own conditions for interpreting. I sympathyze with your being upset, but really better to move on.

Best, María.

Edited to correct typo.

[Edited at 2012-10-31 15:26 GMT]


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xxxjenbikkal

Local time: 01:34
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Maria Oct 31, 2012

It is true, and I thought about creating my own terms as well. I guess I'll follow your advice and suck it up but do things differently moving forward.

Thanks!


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Ahmad Farhad Fidai
Afghanistan
Local time: 10:04
English to Dari
+ ...
Take it as an experience Oct 31, 2012

Dear,
I know it is very tough to work without proper equipments and for us interpreters, the most important thing is to be able properly hear the speakers and in your case, you didn't have the headphones so I would say the following:
Experience is the teacher that takes the exam and then teach
so learn from it telling what you need to confirm in advance in the future and if not what may your response be against...
I guess you are the right person to decide about it of course
But while leaving you with that I would just like to tell you one thing about such tasks is to stop the speakers, if not clear, and make them repeat themselves in case not heard properly for every one to feel how bad the organizers are and not you and at the same time, be friendly as much possible to make the audience feel comfortable listening to you interpretation and reminding them of you not having the voice properly so you don't get blamed
And sorry it is getting longer, as far as payment is concerend, take your money , and be happy to have learned from this for your future events.
I wish you all the best


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xxxjenbikkal

Local time: 01:34
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Ahmad Oct 31, 2012



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christenino  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 07:34
English to German
+ ...
Interpreting as a pain... Oct 31, 2012

HI,

I do it frequently, consecutive and simultaneous, but if I would expierence conditions as laid-out and the statement "We are not at the UN", I would have answered "correct" and would have left.

THEN they would have experienced how tough it can be ...without an interpreter;-)


Kind Regards


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xxxjenbikkal

Local time: 01:34
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Christenino... Oct 31, 2012

I wish I had the guts to do that.

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Alejandra Villarroel  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 02:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Monetize... Really? Nov 1, 2012

IMHO, trying to monetize this situation would make you look unprofessional now to the eyes of this... *agency*, in addition to the image you already left your audience with...

After all, you knew that you would be on your own with no booth the day before and still said "yes", and then you found out that you would not even have decent audio two hours before the job started and still said "yes", again. And know you want to charge more? Why? If you start changing your conditions after the facts, how are you and them different?

I mean, you could, but losing any moral leverage you could have in this case. It would only show that you learned well... From them!

Plus, accepting such terms and conditions in the first place and then the constant changes of conditions is what give these people the right to think that what they do is perfectly reasonable!

I would have offered consecutive interpreting instead

Regards, ALEJANDRA


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