Nervous about my first interpreting gig!
Thread poster: davai
davai
United States
Feb 2, 2014

Hello everyone! First post here and boy am I nervous. As the title suggests I am off to my first interpreting gig sometime next week. I will be translating from English into Russian for a nurse and from Russian into English for a Ukrainian mother and her eight year old child. The examination will cover vaccines and a general physical. There is a small chance the mother will speak only in Ukrainian but everyone at the office seems convinced that she speaks Russian as well. I guess I will find out!

Anyway, my Russian is pretty decent (I say in that self-deprecating sort of way). I'm good at conversational speech and am able to confidently engage native Russians in abstract conversations, metaphysics, politics etc. Although I make a lot of errors my accent isn't atrocious and I am able to speak quickly and clearly and usually with correct case endings. I only wound up at a Russian поликлиника once during my travels so my medical vocabulary is lacking. Add the fact that I have also never professionally interpreted before... I am nervous with a capitol barf.

I'm good on parts of the body and will have a list of vaccine and disease names at my disposal in case I brainfart in the moment and need to read a vaccine name off.

I have a couple of translation questions. Although I'm sure all of these translations are perfectly understandable in an American-Russian kind of way, I would very much like to make them as очень по-русски as possible. So if anyone here could be so kind as to fix any glaring Englishisms, I would greatly appreciate it.

Cледующий, я хочу рассмотреть твое зрение.

Пожалуйста, покажи пальцем на какой строчке, где петушок.

Сейчас, тебе нужно дышать глубоко иииии медленно выдыхать. (this is easy to mime, anyway)

Помните, что вам надо вернуться через 48 до 72 часов, чтобы получить результаты анализа. Если не вернетесь, тогда будем нужно повторить анализа туберкулеза.

Подойдете к рецепции, чтобы получить результаты анализа.


Other thoughts:

Of course this is a medical setting and although this is a run of the mill physical/immunization regime, I understand I have the responsibility to ensure that the mother fully understands everything that is occurring. So if I need to break out the old cellphone dictionary, I will do so even at the cost of my pride. Other than that, I am going to be kind of 'winging-it'. I would appreciate any tips or suggestions anyone here may have.

Thanks,

-C.M.


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Tim Friese  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:35
Member (2013)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Study, but you'll probably be fine Feb 3, 2014

Like you, I have struggle with worries that maybe I'm not good enough even though on some other level I know I'm quite good and I've dozen dozens of assignments with no problems to speak of.

I like maintaining a long-term vocabulary list that I want to know 100% between my three languages - English, Spanish, and Arabic. I use Anki and study every day to make sure I'm keeping up. Whenever I bump into a term in any of the languages that I'm not sure of, I do my research and come up with what I think is the best option, and then commit it to memory forever.

Things like names of medicines still cause me trouble as do rapid-fire strings of doses, hospital and clinic names, doctor names, etc.

Remember to ask a question if you're unsure of anything.

My experience is that people are very appreciative of professional interpreters, and that I generally leave an assignment feeling great even if I arrived nervous. Good luck!


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 08:35
English to Croatian
+ ...
Translation "solutions" Feb 3, 2014

.... these are usually being posted and discussed on KudoZ, as far as I know, at least in the way you want them discussed here.

Consecutive should be OK ie. it shouldn't be too stressful or require such a high interpreting competence and experience as simultaneous, just make sure you have a comprehensive list of terms with you (bilingual) that are relevant for the meeting, institution, vaccine, person names with you (in writing), and other relevant names and terms with you beforehand. Best of luck!


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:35
Russian to English
+ ...
Don't worry-- for a nurse--that's not terrible. Feb 3, 2014

Just try to be accurate even at the expense of speed or rhythm--each detail may be important when someone's health is at stake.

My first interpreting assignment was many years ago -- I was seventeen, or eighteen the most, and they asked me to interpret live at some world's championship. It was overwhelming at first, but then it got better. After a while, you just become a part of the process and you don't even feel that you are interpreting. You just become a voice.

I don't want to disappoint you but there are some mistakes almost in all the sentencs you wrote in Russian. I cannot type in the Cyrillic right now to help you, but maybe you can ask someone else who ordinarily types in Russian. You definitely need to get a medical glossary and thoroughly study it before the appointment. A Ukrainian woman with a nine year old daughter will most likely speak Russian, but her daughter may not. These are not horrible mistakes, but it would be better to fix them.

[Edited at 2014-02-03 21:33 GMT]


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davai
United States
TOPIC STARTER
Well it's done! Feb 3, 2014

She actually scheduled far sooner than I expected and had my gig early this morning. I just got back about an hour ago. Man, what a rush! It was a little touch and go at first when we were filling out the registration form. Usually, when I speak with Ukrainians it is a pleasure because their accents tend to be far easier to acclimate towards than Russian's. This was not the case. She had a very 'mixed' way of talking, borrowing Ukrainian phrases but principally communicating with me in Russian (she was Western-Ukrainian). When I didn't understand, I simply asked her to repeat or say it another way and although I got hung up in a couple of places, we were able to effectively communicate.

Her daughter was scared but I sensed that she found it a great novelty that I could speak Russian with her, and she spent the majority of the meeting smiling shyly at me. What a cute kid!

The process was made easy by the fact that this clinic is accustomed to speaking to laymen, so translating laymen terminology from English to Russian was far easier than I had expected. She thankfully was very kind and appreciative (like Tim said) and had a good sense of humor about my mistakes (which were a little too frequent due to my nervousness). I only had to open my cellphone dictionary twice and she was appreciative of that fact that I valued accuracy.

But, like Lilian said, once I was involved in the process, I was not worried whatsoever. Many times I have left Russian classes feeling bad about the experience, that I had spoken poorly or sloppily. This time however, despite the high stress nature of the assignment, I actually feel quite exhilarated. This might be an addictive line of work, my friends!

Thank you for your comments!


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:35
Russian to English
+ ...
Ukrainian is a totally different language Feb 3, 2014

so, if she suffers form anything serious, they should really get someone who speaks Ukrainian, not just Russian. If it was just a standard check up, and she understood everything more or less, then it might be Ok--they will do the tests anyhow to see her condition.

I am glad you liked the interpreting. Yes, interpreting may actually be slightly addictive.

[Edited at 2014-02-03 21:42 GMT]


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davai
United States
TOPIC STARTER
indeed Feb 3, 2014

Yes, that thought crossed my mind as well. She spoke Russian well, like a native speaker really, it's just that the Ukrainianisms were off-putting. They had used a telephone translator with her before but it was extremely uncomfortable and inconvenient for her. I was called specifically for this reason because I was able to meet with her in person and apply the "human touch" to an already stressful situation. It was a complete success, really.

The physical itself was a piece of cake. I think that if something serious were to occur like an extremely rare reaction to a vaccine (I'm told, very very very unlikely) or a positive carrier for tuberculosis (far more likely), then I would be inclined to recommend a Ukrainian interpreter instead. One can certainly be arranged easily on the phone.

It is a bit nerve wracking to think that I could have screwed up somehow but in reality, she clearly understood everything and the questions were very straight forward.


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davai
United States
TOPIC STARTER
hmm Feb 3, 2014

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

I don't want to disappoint you but there are some mistakes almost in all the sentencs you wrote in Russian. I cannot type in the Cyrillic right now to help you, but maybe you can ask someone else who ordinarily types in Russian. You definitely need to get a medical glossary and thoroughly study it before the appointment. A Ukrainian woman with a nine year old daughter will most likely speak Russian, but her daughter may not. These are not horrible mistakes, but it would be better to fix them.

[Edited at 2014-02-03 21:33 GMT]


Yeah, I was afraid of that. In the end, было ничего страшного.


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