examples of conference interpreters' "misconduct"/"misbehaviour"
Thread poster: nablus
nablus
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:29
English to Arabic
+ ...
Jun 10, 2005

Dear all, i am doing a presentation about professional environment. More specifically, my presentation is about conference interpreting professional environment. I am looking for some real-life cases of "misbehaviour" or "misconduct" on the part of interpreters. looking forward for your help!!

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-06-11 18:13]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-06-11 18:14]


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José Luis Villanueva-Senchuk  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
Top of my head Jun 10, 2005

Hello

I will be back later but for the time being:

--being late
--being late
--being late
--not dressing correctly
--leaving your partner alone all the time every time s/he takes the microphone (bathroom is Ok, but all the time?¿?) - specially if the speakers flies/has difficult accent or the subject is too intense)

More later...

JL - have to run


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
Copping Out Jun 10, 2005

When the subject is too tough for your partner, he pretends he has a toothache the evening before, then fails to show the next day and leaves you all alone. Also has farmed out work to you and other people then leaves town without paying.

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xxxsarahl
Local time: 05:29
English to French
+ ...
Hogging the microphone Jun 11, 2005

or handing it to you when the going gets tough
and my all-time favorite:
sharing their stress with you-

welcome to cockpit work!


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Alejandra Villarroel  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
My list :) Jun 11, 2005

sarahl wrote:

or handing it to you when the going gets tough
and my all-time favorite:
sharing their stress with you-

welcome to cockpit work!



Actually I prefer being handed the mic if things get tough, than witnessing how stupidly the whole conference goes down the drain because someone won't admit he or she is in trouble

I hate when colleagues:
- are too proud to admit they need help and hold on to the mic for ages only to talk nonsense
- whisper, talk or shout- words to you in the booth with the mic on (there's the mute function or the traditional piece of paper to express yourself!)
- blame it on sound quality and audio operators if they can't follow a speaker
- take their notebooks to the booth to finish their translations (browsing glossaries is o.k.) during the time they are hired to be your *partner*
- show up with no glossaries, no dictionaries, no pens... Just themselves!-
- don't read the reference material even once-
- accept jobs they are not qualified for (and they know it quite well!-)

Good luck with your presentation, ALEJANDRA

[Edited at 2005-06-11 12:51]


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Aleksandra Kwasnik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:29
Polish to German
+ ...
LOL, yess! Jun 11, 2005

Alejandra Villarroel wrote:
I hate when colleagues:
- are too proud to admit they need help and hold on to the mic for ages only to talk nonsense


Me too, BUT: try to snatch the mic from a grumpy, unshaved giant with thundering voice whose welcome motto is: "I'm too long in this business, ya know..."
The rest IS nonsense and you just cannot do anything about it.
From my observation I am prone to suppose that as soon as a female interpreter sits in the booth with a male colleague (I am not talking about ALL male colleagues !!) her chances to have a go are severly reduced. I also have the feeling that women prove to be more co-operative.
Better hide now!


- blame it on sound quality and audio operators if they can't follow a speaker


YESSS, a wonderful observation! But, talking among us: sometimes a useful trick too


- show up with no glossaries, no dictionaries, no pens... Just themselves!-


Quote: "Oh no, dear, I don't need this kind of nonsense: you are nothing more than your tongue, we've got to fight as this is a WAR."



A wonderful list, thank you Alejandra!

[Edited at 2005-06-11 14:39]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:29
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A few more Jun 11, 2005

- distracting your partner at his turn.
- being afraid to show up with background/reference material because they think the organizers will call them unprepared (some people seem to think this is an exam).
- drumming on the desktop, twisting and turning in their seats, playing with their ballpens (and it falls, and you mike picks all this up). This includes noisy bangles, charm bracelets...
- gesticulating with the speaker when the space is smaller than comfortable.
- not noticing interpreter fatigue, in oneself or in others.
- writing notes to your partner in "doctors' penmanship".
- missing the briefing if they have the good luck to have one.
- body odor (!!!) including intense, hot, musky perfume...

There are positive points, of course. A perfect partner "reads" you, gives way like a good driver, answers the door without a sound if someone comes in, brings in the water when it seems no one noticed it was finished...


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José Luis Villanueva-Senchuk  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
Parrot... Jun 11, 2005

Parrot wrote:

There are positive points, of course. A perfect partner "reads" you, gives way like a good driver, answers the door without a sound if someone comes in, brings in the water when it seems no one noticed it was finished...


I could not agree more!!! It is just like a rally copilot They have a roadbook and read the instructions to the driver. Here, they read one's face road map and know exactly when to cue a word or term (on the piece of paper or via the laptops screen), whne to get ready to seamlessly take the mike...

A friend of mine, who likes bullfighting once told me: "Buena faena", before we started. He explained to me: you might be a great matador (interpreter) but if the bull (speaker) is not good, you will not be able to complete a good "faena." I take it further...you need a good "cuadrilla" (partners) to be victorious

*******

Last week, at a symposium on parenteral/enteral nutrition, one of the speakers came to the booth and said "I will speak fast. I have a lot of material and I was given only twenty minutes, maximum 25 plus." My partner looked at him and told him "You realize that going into Spanish adds about 20%. If you go twice as fast... Did you come all the way from the US to present a lecture and share your expertise, and leave Argentina knowing that your message did not get through, not be becasue the interpreters...?" The guy started by saying that he was going to summarize some concepts, that if anybody wanted a copy of his full presentation he would send it. He moved on to thank the interpreters in advance. When the congress was over, last day at 18.00, he came to the booth to say bye and thank us "Thank you for teaching me how you guys work. Thank you for being so professional and making me understand that our (speakers) message depends on you and our interaction with you."



[Edited at 2005-06-11 14:51]


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 05:29
English to French
+ ...
Team work Jun 11, 2005

Yes Parrot
Yes Jose Luis

This is definitely team work, and the speaker IS part of the team.

Parrot reminded me of a "strange" experience I had with a laptop addict who kept moving the darn thing + cables around the booth- three of us were working that booth- so she could enter every new word she heard into her database.

Needless to say we were very tired at the end of that day.:-)


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:29
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Incorporating (educating?) the speaker Jun 12, 2005

sarahl wrote:

This is definitely team work, and the speaker IS part of the team.


could be a very interesting and fruitful discussion (elsewhere, if anyone cares to begin a thread). For instance, few of them know that if they read 4 pages (12-pt. typeface) in 5 minutes, it's equivalent to a dense newscast -- of the type you don't really understand.

Parrot reminded me of a "strange" experience I had with a laptop addict who kept moving the darn thing + cables around the booth- three of us were working that booth- so she could enter every new word she heard into her database.


You get to meet all sorts

[Edited at 2005-06-12 12:48]


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nablus
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:29
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
many thanks!! Jun 13, 2005

many thanks for your help guys!!

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xxxBesmir
Local time: 14:29
Bosnian to English
+ ...
Additional professional disturbances Jun 29, 2005

Whenever I was in any of the positions that my colleagues already described, I would always look at them in a very friendly way and say "You know... can you please not do that again... it's really distracting for me," and in 90% of the cases they do stop.

What can also be disturbing and annoying is interpeting before or after someone whose tone of voice shows that he or she is not passionate or over passionate about their work.

I worked in pair with one lady whose tone of voice just didn't care about anything that was happening on the podium: when the speaker would be vividly excited about something her voice kept on being monotonous and unrecording of his emotion. She interpreted the entire meeting as if she was reading the list of casualties, in a tone of voice that was inapropriate and dull. She could have done very well with at least a little bit emotion showing in her voice, I think everybody fell asleep.

On the other occassion, I worked with another lady who was such an actress that I wanted personally go to go that rain forest and get those guys out along with their saws and everything! The thing is that the speaker's attitude, his tone of voice, his posture, his grammatical sructure showed that there was no need for her overdramatization, overaccentuation and over the top excitement about the issue.

I am talking about these examples because it seems to me that some colleagues tend to forget first of all what the subject is, and then also who they are working with. I personally don't mind anyone having a spiritual orgasm over the rain forest, but the intensity of the meeting is jeopardized somewhat if your colleague is unable to return with the same intensity of emotion that you show for eh subject. Also, if you notice that the speaker is going to make a joke, try to imitate his tone of voice somewhat, you are ruining his joke otherwise. I guess I just find that some people don't use their full voice abilities and it bothers me because we cannot express our creativity otherwise in this business.


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 08:29
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
How about backstage staff misbehaving? Nov 20, 2005

On a recent assignment my partner and I, having a few months' news to catch up on, found that we could not chat in peace at breaktime because the sound guy was in an argument with the conference organiser and kept interrupting us to whine about his clash and to get our sympathy when the conference started again I had to stare at him and close the door in his face so we could carry on - ugh.

Nancy


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xxxYamato
Bulgaria
Local time: 15:29
Russian to Spanish
+ ...
my bit Nov 27, 2005


--leaving your partner alone all the time every time s/he takes the microphone (bathroom is Ok, but all the time?¿?) - specially if the speakers flies/has difficult accent or the subject is too intense)


And yet, I have seen STAFF interpreters do that as a general rule! I could not believe my eyes!
Any theories?

Anyway, which would be, in your opinion, the best way to help a partner if you see him or her stumbling with a particular term?

During one stage, I would silently slip notes, in fact we had this ad hoc glossary where I would write the translation if I knew it, or could find it in the dictionaries.
If I ask, it is because that time I ended up receiving a very strong rebuke from one of my boothmates for doing that.
She called me arrogant for correcting her all the time :/

And a final note to answer the main topic:
Have you ever been confronted with the odd interpreting giving in to panic and bolting out of the conference?

Well I have. Ok, it was just a volunteer thing by interpreting students, but it happened.
It was, in fact, my first interpreting. I had finished my 90min. and was sitting to watch the rest of the conference.
It was question time already, and this person was supposed to do retour for the benefit of the speaker.

First question, and we hear through the headphones a booth door opening, a booth door banging shut, a room door opening, a room door banging shut.
Then we stared for five terrified second at the empty chair... until I jumped up and covered the recently vacant post.

Oh well...

[Edited at 2005-11-27 18:40]


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examples of conference interpreters' "misconduct"/"misbehaviour"

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