Those of you who read this blog regularly will remember the post I wrote in December 2014 about a mixing console that found it’s way into our interpreting booth (link). That came clearly under “not so pleasant surprises”. On the other hand there are those moments when the interpreter is really delighted when she steps into her working space early in the morning. The photograph shows such an example. The customer’s concern was to preserve the health and well-being of the interpreters and placed the CARE package featured on the photograph in all four interpreting booths. The lozenges were clearly meant to sooth our strained voices. And there were paper tissues, maybe to wipe the sweat from our foreheads (this was, after all, a conference on complicated technical topics). Or maybe they were there just in case, for the next sneeze, to wipe away spilled water or to serve as a coaster. In the upper left corner of the image there is a desinfecting tissue. And that one gives final evidence of the fact that someone here is really thinking things through: the teams were to swap booths during the day, and these tissues came in handy to wipe and desinfect the headset used by another colleague earlier that day.
Quite often the service “interpreting” is perceived as a given. When we work as simultaneous interpreters we are often sitting somewhere in the background of the room or even in a different location. From there we deliver highly professional services. Sometimes over lunch we meet our “customers” who are very surprised to hear that they were not listening to a pre-recorded tape, but to the voices of human beings delivering an ad-hoc translation of the presentations.
In this light we are even more pleased when our customers appreciate our work and when this appreciation is expessed, like in this case, with such attention to detail. Thank you!