Great Interpreter vs. Good Interpreter

I have a few pet peeves to discuss. Sometimes I run into exceptional interpreters who have some terrible habits; I also run into good interpreters with great work ethic. Guess which one I prefer to work with? By far, I prefer to deal with the good interpreter with the great work ethic.

  1. Arriving late: Nothing drives me crazier than to work with someone chronically late! I like to arrive early and test out the equipment, meet the people I’m dealing with and establish a plan. After meeting presenters, I like to take some time to look up some words that will be added to my glossary. If there is a technical issue it can be dealt with ahead of time. There is time to go to the bathroom.

If someone on my team arrives late, it reflects badly on me and makes us all seem unprofessional. Therefore, I don’t care how talented someone is, I can’t abide by anyone having the bad habit of arriving late.

  1. The Snob: There is one thing that I hate more than chronic late comers, and that is snobs! Really arrogant colleagues can often be overly demanding. They create hard feelings and a toxic environment to be around. They are difficult to work with and at times create bad blood with the client. I don’t care how talented you are, if the client hates your personality they will seek out someone else.

On the other hand, a friendly, flexible and personable interpreter that does a good job, will get it done and foster a great relationship with the client.  I like working with happy, positive people who get joy from their work!

  1. Being inconsiderate: There is a difference between being a snob and being inconsiderate. The snob is an elitist who demands too much. You can, however, have a very friendly person with some bad habits like:
    1. Arriving late
    2. Not paying attention and helping with the rendition
    3. Bringing in smelly food
    4. Texting

As you can see, interpreters with great abilities can still be a problem if they have any of the previously mentioned bad habits. However, a good interpreter with great work ethic is a joy to be around and contributes to great success.

Obviously, the best scenario is to work with a great, humble interpreter with a super work ethic. They do exist and are wonderful!

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7 thoughts on “Great Interpreter vs. Good Interpreter”

  1. Esther Moreno Barriuso

    Ah, I would add a few things in here. I love teamwork, both IN the booth and during the prep phase, the previous days. Being able to build a glossary together, to share doubts and questions, to divide up the 15 presentation lot that we received the day before the event, to support each other in the booth, to write down bizarre names, figures or lists to help your booth-mate during their turn, to know that you can pass on the mic if you get stuck in the middle of your turn or that you can continue for a few minutes more if you got the flow of the speech and you don’t want to stop abruptly….
    And quite a few more that I leave in the pipeline for a future occasion. Best regards from Madrid!

  2. Plus being ethical…dressing according to the circumstances and professional rates, avoid contact with client and/or guests, avoid typing like mad in the booth or making “uncomfortable” noises (booth manners)… and of course, team work!. Regards

  3. I am with you 100 per cent I have one person that does all of the above , always late , arrogant bad colleague , talking bad about everyone brings almost his kitchen to the booth , food smelling garlic , takes all the space , does nothing for no one but himself , terrible environment to work with.

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