Adventures in interpreting

Most of the time the work we do is somewhat predictable. I can often foresee with extraordinary accuracy what might happen at an appointment and how long it will take. It can be also fun to predict how different parties will react under different circumstances as we have observed these reactions over and over again. Every once in a while we get a call for something altogether alien to our typical experience.

One evening, just as I was sitting down to eat dinner, a call came in. The person on the other line, in a rushed voice, began to rattle information about a client he needed me to interpret for. He needed me to drop what I was doing and race across town right away. First, I had to slow the person on the other line down. I asked him what his name was and what company he represented. Once I had that information, I asked him if I had ever worked with him in the past, to which he replied no. I also asked him where he found my contact info, to which he replied, “the Internet.” I felt pleased to know that at least I was being found on the Internet, although I must admit the situation seemed very strange. Next, I told him my standard rates and then my drop everything after hours charge. He agreed, so next I asked him to send me an e-mail with all his contact info and billing information from the insurance company to confirm he was legitimate.

After a short while, I found myself on the other side of town in a neighborhood that I could safely qualify as not the safest. When I arrived at the address, the neighbors watched me closely as I approached the front gate.  I was greeted by a menacing Rottweiler, probably a distant cousin to Godzilla. Obviously, there was no possible way I would attempt to pass that gate, so I drove my car up as close as I could and began to honk my horn. Meanwhile, my client was with me on my cell phone. After honking for a while, the client proceeded to ask me to speak with the neighbors, all of whom knew nothing. As this was going on, someone finally drove up and parked in front of the house.

I approached the person, identified myself and repeated what my client was telling me on the phone. I have to say the whole thing was crazy! I had someone on the phone rambling on with a whole bunch of things and the person in front of me doing the same. To my great surprise, after a short while, everyone came to an understanding, and the person on the phone had received the information he needed.

As I returned home, I wasn’t sure what to make of all of it. It was interpreting, but not like anything I had ever done before. In the end I decided that it was an enjoyable change of pace and an adventure.

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