I’ve interpreted in difficult conditions, while feeling tense, nervous, tired and even ill, but I never thought my biggest challenge would be to interpret while feeling like a four year old on Christmas morning. In a helicopter.
Yesterday, I was interpreting in West Sussex, during a business meeting between a UK company and their French distributors. Around midday, the UK director said: "I suggest we work for another hour, have lunch at 1pm and then come back here to finalise the details. We can fly to Shoreham to a nice restaurant I know."
Fly? My mind raced through the possibilities. What else could he mean but that they had to hurry? I translated the last sentence as: "Nous irons sans perdre de temps manger dans un bon restaurant de Shoreham." (Without wasting time, we’ll go to a nice restaurant in Shoreham).
Then he said: "The restaurant has a nice back garden and the owner lets me land the helicopter there."
It took a superhuman feat of self-control on my part to not jump up and down screeching "Yippee yippee yay can we go now please. Please can we go?". Instead, I calmly and professionally relayed the information to his business partners.
Followed an hour-long struggle to remain concentrated on the job instead of bursting into excited and uncontrollable giggles and running around the room at the thought of flying over Sussex. It was tricky, but I found that scribbling much more detailed notes than I usually do helped me stay focused.
In the end, the flight was great and the job very interesting. It really is wonderful to combine translating and interpreting and be able to leave my desk once in while, especially when clients have such lovely surprises in store.