I just finished working for the CDC where I was on assignment doing simultaneous interpreting for the Stop Transmission to Polio program. It was fascinating. I learned so much, not only about Polio but also about interpreting. During the two-week period, I met and worked with some very nice interpreters who talked to me about some of our colleagues. I found out that apparently, some interpreters have a 20 mn rule, meaning that they refuse to interpret any more or any less than 20mn.
I understand the need for us to work the same amount, but geez, I’d hate to be stopped if I feel really good about a speaker, or about a particular topic. I don’t mind working a little more if it feels good.
Also, if we know that the presentation is almost done, then why hand over the mic? Why not just finish it off, for the benefit of the listener?
And what about Q&A sessions? I think it makes sense to have one person interpret the questions and the other one interpret the answers, again for the benefit of the listener. It’s just nicer to listen to. Well, often times the questions will be shorter. Should that interpreter work more afterwards?
It’s only normal that booth partners split up the amount of time they work equitably, I am not saying the contrary, but do we really need to set a chronometer?
As interpreters we must be supportive of one another, offer to take over if the other person is struggling, offer to write down numbers, bring water, and be flexible. In my opinion looking at one’s watch in this way only sets us apart from one another, adds unnecessary stress, and demonstrates an inability, or unwillingness, to adapt to situations.
Do you agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts? Experiences?