11 July 2010

My Internship - From the Island to the Continent

A year ago, I never thought I have come so far with my language skills that I would feel comfortable working every day with German colleagues and speaking German 98% of the week. Certainly, even as recent as 5 months ago, I would have never seen myself in the position I was on June 16th....acting as an official interpreter for English soccer players from Reutlingen's partner city in England. Yup. I was a bit intimidated by the idea of translating in a formal capacity for a group of people who were not my family or friends - not to mention the mayor was going to be there and I was going to be translating her welcome speech alongside other colleagues that had more experience with these things than I did...and were probably 10 years older.

I shouldn't have worried. Yes - it was challenging. It is one thing to translate a presentation or research paper in writing for someone to read (passive translating); quite another thing to do simultaneous translating for someone who speaks and doesn't give enough break times for you to catch up(active translating).....

The group of men from England that I was going to translate for were terrific, though, and put me at ease immediately... they had been here to Reutlingen several times and said if I had any troubles with translating, they wouldn't notice anyway - "just cut out the boring stuff and leave in the interesting parts; it'll be better and we won't fall asleep that way." We kindof lost the group when we went for the city tour, which meant finding the meeting place for lunch on our own with a the Swiss group who was also there. Oops. :-/ We eventually got there, ate our food, and then they convinced me (it wasn't difficult) to come along and watch the World Cup game with them (Germany slaughtered their opponents in that game). It must have looked amusing, a little woman like me tripping around town with a bunch of Englishmen, all of them offering to share their umbrella, and then sitting with them in the bar, ordering their beers for them. Ha. Well, it was a good time - but I was tired, so after the second time of nodding off over my drink, they sent me home with good natured hugs and compliments - apparently I was the "prettiest looking smart young interpreter they had ever had" I think I'll call that a good first translating experience :-D

Reutlingen website newsletter with pictures from day. Sorry folks, it's in German, but go to the pictures and look for a girl with a burgundy cardigan and polka dot blouse (me!; Pictures 6 and 19): http://www.reutlingen.de/ceasy/modules/cms/main.php5?cPageId=2310&view=publish&item=article&id=1830

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