We took a break from our classroom and went into a field visit today. We’ve talked and walked the whole day. After many hours walking and talking, there are 5 things that I’ve learned to make my life easier:
1) Wearing comfortable shoes or tennis shoes. Our tour was about 5 hours, from the moment we got to our facility to the time we left. We had our breaks, but walking and talking for 5 hours is tiring, and your feet must be prepared to enjoy the exercise.
2) Having a quick, nutritious snack and water which will help you keep up, and make use of breaks to gobble it down. In my case, I had a boiled egg from the hotel cafe and a small port of yogurt. I know the egg is a bit non-conventional and the yogurt wouldn’t keep long out of of the refrigerator, but a protein bar, nuts or crackers would have also done the trick.
3) Having a carrier and/or pockets for whatever will make your life easier and comfortable, given the circumstances of walking and talking. I have a small, brown, unpretentious, cheap, cloth purse that allows me to bring my portable booth: my small steno pad, 1 or 2 pens, cough drops, chewing gum, lip balm and sun block, and a water bottle that hangs outside of my purse with a carabiner lock. I’m also able to fit my portable receiver and microphone in there, especially if I’m wearing clothing without a belt clip. And, if the facility allows for a cell phone, I can also have one in there on mute, just in case I need to look up terminology. Sounds like a lot? Well, I can justify every single item in that small life-saving purse, but one thing I didn’t tell you is that all of this is really discrete and doesn’t interfere much with my clothing or badges I may need to wear.
4) Having an interpreting protocol, sort of an “elevator speech” that can help speakers best understand our work and help us do it better. Because our facility tour involved meeting different people, I had to meet many different speakers, whose level of experience with interpreters varied from not at all to having some ideas about how to work with interpreters. It’s a good idea to develop a protocol of interpretation that can allow you to quickly guide your speakers on how to work with you. Mine was: “Hi, my name is Cris and I’ll be one of your interpreters today. I’ll be interpreting consecutively, which means that after you speak for a few minutes, I ask that you to allow me to interpret for the Brazilian Delegation. I’ll also be making some notes to keep up with you and when the Brazilian Delegation has questions, I’ll also interpret back for you into English. Do you have any questions”?
5) Getting enough sleep the night before and spend some recovery time, so you can keep your inner zen and do your best, after all, we need to rest our shoes, voices and brains.