It's all about getting the basics right, as they say in football

Post date: Sep 21, 2016 11:50:57 AM

Anybody who takes part in any activity requiring skill knows that it is only when you get the basics right in terms of preparation, equipment, and technique that you can start to perform to the best of your ability, and think about improving your performance.

For interpreters, this means getting all of the following things right (any or all of these might provide material for a future blog entry):

- preparation: make sure you've had enough sleep, you've had breakfast, you've had coffee, you have a bottle of water, you tablet is charged, you have your notebook and two pens, you have your glossary, you have read the relevant documentation, you have caught the right train... it's a pretty long list, now I come to think of it

- equipment: most of this has already been mentioned under preparation, but it may include specific items like personal protective equipment (PPEs), depending on the environment in which you are working

- technique: you must make sure that you have completed sufficient initial training, practice and CPD to ensure that your language and interpreting skills are up to date, and you should reflect on areas for improvement as well as specific performance errors in recent assignments.

Once all of these things are in place, the real work starts. But until they are in place, the work can't start. So don't let any one of these elements bring you down - it might be as simple as forgetting a notebook, or having too much wine the night before, but such issues can impact your performance, and might mean that you mess up a crucial segment, or cause a misunderstanding for your clients. So, to make sure you delight the customer, and you get the job next time, get all the basics right!

Watch out for further blogs with more detailed anecdotes on this issue (like the time I forgot my notebook and had to cut off somebody in full flow in order to keep the segment manageable. The person then got cross because they couldn't get back into the conversation. Exciting stuff.).