A while back, I read an article critical of interpreters working in pairs at court. They viewed it as a waste and misuse of tax money to have two interpreters sitting together getting paid to take turns. It was obvious to me that the monolingual writer of the article had absolutely no idea how hard the brain is working while trying to quickly process two languages in difficult terminology. I pondered if the writer would change his mind if he were to find himself in another country needing an interpreter in a life or death situation. Would he be comfortable and satisfied entrusting his life to the services of an interpreter capable of making grave mistakes due to mental exhaustion?
That being said, interpreters get paid to use their brains to transmit information which can be grueling and stressful. They often have to navigate communication between opposing sides. (Sure professional interpreters are neutral, however maintaining that unbiased position can also be taxing.) While I’m on the subject of unbiased interpreting, we humans are hard wired for empathy and we suffer when others suffer. At the end of the day, although the interpreter has maintained his professionalism and appears unaffected, the reality is that interpreters often have to come to terms with heavy emotional baggage. If you keep something bottled up long enough, it will eventually explode like an uncapped shaken Coke bottle.
Although interpreters work very hard with their brains, I don’t know of any circumstances where they work hard physically unless you consider standing and walking hard physical labor. I guess if you have back injuries, those positions could be problematic.
Interpreters need to take time out to exercise every day. Exercise is great for your body and overall health. It also helps to release stress and give you an all-around general feeling well being fiscally and mentally. I recently ran my first sprint Triathlon. I made that goal to keep me motivated to exercise. Without a specific goal towards which to work, I tend to discontinue my exercise routine. With a race day set and paid for, I tend to create a workout plan and follow through on it. Some days I run, other days I bike. Sometime I do both at the same time, which is calledbricking.
During an hour-long bike ride or half-hour run, I find my mind thinking about all sorts of things. I have mentally worked out public speeches, evaluated problems and worked out their solutions. I have mentally vented out issues bothering me. At times, I have imagined myself the hero running to save the word or galaxy, whichever scenario I’m imagining at the moment.
So just in case you think that you just don’t have the time to exercise due to work, think twice. I have figured out so many work-related issues while exercising that the exercise has turned out to be time well spent. Sometimes you have to step away from something and clear your head to see the obvious answer right in front of you.
To sum it up, if you are dealing with much stress, try journaling, and as I have mentioned in a previous blog exercise!