On Being Prepared

My husband gave me a GPS for Christmas one year ago and it was probably one of the most useful presents I have ever received. Today, however, I received proof once again that technology can sometimes be quite unreliable.

I was on my way to an interpreting job 45mn away from my home and the GPS, or “Helga” as I like to call her, was stubbornly unwilling to accept the address. So I pulled out the Atlanta road map from my glove compartment and searched for the street name in the index. No luck though since the address was outside of Atlanta.

Well, luckily I printed out the AAA directions the night before (something I don’t usually do) and put the sheet into my folder. What amazed me was to see how dependent I had become of my GPS and how nervous I was to use my printed directions. It wasn’t that long ago that GPS’s did not even exist and we relied on maps/written directions/ “co-pilots”. What’s also interesting is that I felt such pride when arrived to my destination 10mn before my appointment time and didn’t even take a wrong turn. It was like I had completed a treasure hunt or something. It felt great. Sorry Helga, you’re great and all, but I can actually manage without you.

Lessons learned:

-always print out, or write down directions, don’t rely on your GPS, or phone

-read the directions before driving off so you have an general idea of the road names you’ll need to look for

-always leave early to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination

-finally, know your right from your left (it does help)

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4 thoughts on “On Being Prepared

  1. Good for you, Jen! I don’t have a GPS, but I completely rely on my GoogleMaps app on the iPhone. However, I am proud to say that I do learn with each new itinerary, and as long as I am the one driving, I can return to the same location without directions… (that is if there has not been a year since my last drive!).
    Good tips there… I interpret every day by phone, but never on-site. I wonder how I would handle being face-to-face. There are aspects that would actually make it easier (seeing the lips, no sound issues…), others that would make me nervous or dizzy (medical!). Have you considered doing the NYU French interpreting summer class? Maybe next year for me…

  2. Hey Nadia,
    I actually did complete the summer intensive NYU interpreting course. I wrote a short paragraph about my experience on Catherine’s blog: http://www.catherinetranslates.com/translation-certificate-review-back-to-school-with-nyu-2/
    If you plan on going, and have questions about it, feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to share my insights.
    Those are great points about the differences between face-to-face and phone interpreting. I have never done phone interpreting and don’t know if I’d survive!

  3. Good stuff, Jen! Yes, I like to know ballpark where I am going and look at my Google Map before I head out (I do have a map app on my Android) — never know when you will lose GPS signal. I know my huge city (Vegas) quite well, and I am always way early, but you are right… it is quite frightening how reliant on technology we’ve become. Oh, and I heart maps, too!
    I’ve done some phone interpreting for the courts (I am a court interpreter), and you could definitely do it. It’s quite a challenge, though! And I’ve been lucky enough to meet Helga. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your comment Judy! Helga says hi lol 🙂
      PS: Do you know anyone that has taken the Department of State exam for interpreting?

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