Some days ago I let you have a look at my portable treasure chest which I labelled “survival kit”. And rightly so, for all the items in this pencil case are absolutely necessary for interpreting, as far as I am concerned. This is particularly true for writing utensils. Why else would I carry no less than six ball pens in this case alone, in addition to those in my pockets, briefcase, handbag…you get the picture?
When I am interpreting, I always, ALWAYS, always hold a pen, pencil or the like in my hand, even if I don’t currently have to take notes or write down something. The ball pen is simply a necessary ingredient of interpreting.
Let me give you an example: during a meeting between CEOs one of the gentlemen reached over the table and took the pen out of my hand to jot down something. Of course the meeting continued. I stopped short and then, within a split second, I reached over myself and took the pen (I hope in an elegant gesture) right out of the gentleman’s hand. Only after that did I continue to interpret. It goes without saying that I discreetly provided said gentleman with one of my many spare pens as soon as possible.
In an ex-post analysis I came to the conclusion that it is just not possible for me to interpret when I am “unarmed”. It is one of the mysteries of interpreting.