Off topic: Your first interpreting job/translation ever
Thread poster: lingomania

Local time: 03:11
Italian to English
Apr 30, 2007

By this I mean, how old were you when you translated or interpreted for the very first time?
I was only 9 (!!!) and I interpreted the whole occupational injury my "own words" of my father (in the courthouse) who had had a serious accident at work. My father was not bilingual and his native language was Italian...he could understand a little English but not speak it or write it. It was an exhilirating experience for me and that was the moment I just had to carry on in this professional direction.



Vito Smolej
Local time: 18:11
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
I was the same age... Apr 30, 2007

... but it was the other way - my father was the bilingual one, shortsighted/blind however like an owl and my small fingers somehow got off better with the sacred Erika typewriter, his main translation tool, better than his ten thumbs. So he dictated and I picked the letters...

I still have books where I can find sentences we have translated together (sg).


Robin Salmon (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:11
German to English
+ ...
Also "by accident" Apr 30, 2007

Ironically, as it turned out, it was my interest in languages which led to my first "interpreting job". I was 17 and we were on a family holiday with the caravan in the North of France. We were at a camping ground beside the hilly coastal road, not far from Villerville.

One morning, my mother and I left to do some shopping in the nearby town. As we pulled out of the camping ground, we noticed the sign "alimentation" and there ensued a discussion on the word ("alimentum" in Latin, "alimentary canal"in English etc.). We were so absorbed in our topic that neither my mum nor I noticed that she had set off on the left-hand side of the road. A coach colliding with us head-on as it came down the hill was a sharp reminder. After the collision, traffic backed up behind us for about 3 km. The police quickly set up a roadside office in the back of their van and I had to give a statement in French, as my mum was injured and my French was better anyway. I did not find the whole thing too difficult and that gave me quite a lot of confidence. My mum was not too badly hurt but still had to go to hospital and I accompanied her in the ambulance and had some more opportunities to show off that day. It was the first time I realised clearly that my absorbing interest could lead to a career. I later graduated in French and German, becoming a teacher and later a translator. All that was 42 years ago, by the way.


Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:11
English to Spanish
I was 11 May 2, 2007

I was in a US hospital for surgery, which had been planned years in advance (hence, my parents enrolled me at a bilingual school at age 5 and that's how I learnt English).

After the surgery I had a couple of weeks for recovery and in that time word spread around the floor (among both patients and hospital staff) that I spoke English and Spanish, so people started showing at my room door to ask me to "translate" postcards, letters, signs, and similar non-official stuff (for which they could not ask for hospital interpreters) to and from Spanish that they received from penpals (no e-mail at the time), love-interests, long-lost friends/relatives, etc.

It was exhilaratingicon_biggrin.gif

In the end, years later I decided to go for translation rather than interpreting, though the latter is not fully discarded yet.

[Edited at 2007-05-02 03:18]


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