Newsletter December 2007
Many topics, many conferences
In the second half of the year SIMCONSULT received a gratifyingly large number of enquiries which led to many interesting conferences on a wide variety of topics, not only in Hamburg and the surrounding area but also in many other venues throughout Germany.
Let's all speak English
It appears that more and more events here in Germany have English as the conference language and the interpreters are therefore working from English into other languages. That is not a problem for the language combination English into German, but when we have to come up with native speakers working from English into French, Finnish or Polish for instance, and the team has also to cover all the various language directions involved, it is indeed another matter altogether.
The teams we offer are put together in such a way that interpretation is done direct into each language avoiding the use of relay. Relay means for example that there would be no direct interpreting from Polish into Finnish, but the Finnish interpreters would use the German interpretation from Polish to be interpreted in turn into Finnish. First of all it takes a little longer than direct interpretation and if this method is applied consistently, the result can be something like Chinese whispers.
On the subject of recruitment
The relatively few non-German native speakers resident in Germany and who can cover these language combinations are often unavailable. We then have to look abroad and this involves travel and accommodation costs. Today of course it is possible to fly much cheaper than in the past when the Saturday night rulee was still in force. You could not get a reasonably priced ticket unless you were prepared to stay over a Saturday night in Helsinki, Hamburg, Belgrade, or wherever. Perhaps the airlines were in cahoots with the hotel industry. Thanks to the EU regulations on competition the airlines have had to think again and offer a fairer price structure. Of course the increasing number of low-cost airlines also had an effect. So with our teams of interpreters quality sometimes does cost a bit more at first sight, but then it is worth it if every nuance of the message gets across.
English as the conference language
Why is it that in Germany a German client with a large number of Germannspeaking conference participants often thinks it is more chic to choose English as the language for the conference presentations? Perhaps people here think it helps communication. For us, however, it makes life more complicated. Summa summarum: Come in and find outt, because we are the care companyy and oh two can doo.
Chinese and Danish
This autumn we brought in a colleague from London to interpret Chinese English Chinese for important business negotiations. We were pleased to hear from the clients after the meeting that they were highly satisfied with the results. Later in bilateral talks at government level between Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark we recruited two colleagues from Copenhagen to interpret Danish and German.
Pigss intestines and salmonella
On two occasions in October and November animal health was one topic on the agenda when SIMCONSULT organised interpreting teams in Bremen, Hamburg and Munich. One of the conferences dealt with additives for pig feed to produce more healthy pigs and at the same time reduce the impact of the additives on the environment. The second conference also dealt with animal feed compounds for pigs and poultry to combat zoonoses, in particular salmonella.
Intensive preparation is the name of the game
Such conferences require at least one or one and a half dayss intensive preparation on the part of the interpreters. Looking at the programme the interpreters will divide up the work, taking one speaker alternately. Preparation becomes very difficult if we have not received any documents in advance, because it is not easy to guess the direction the speaker will take. Nowadays we are fortunate if we receive the powerpoints beforehand and we are always very grateful when the client understands this prerequisite. We then sit down at our computers at home, go onto the internet with access to online glossaries like those of the EU, IATE, encyclopaedias like Wikipedia, we consult articles and research projects on the web and use our own terminologies until we are well prepared in terms of content and specialist jargon and are confident in our newly acquired knowledge. In both languages, of course. This also involves practising long, difficult words in front of the mirror until they trip off the tongue: salmonella enteritidis and entero-haemorrhagic escherichia coli. This preparation which may vary in intensity but always necessary is part and parcel of the service and is a matter of professional integrity.
Mr. President with Air Force Two in Hamburg
The most exciting assignment in the past few months was the visit of President Bill Clinton to Hamburg. On 7th October Bill Clinton and the nuclear weapons expert Dr. Hans Blix addressed an audience in the Colorline Arena in Hamburg and SIMCONSULT provided the interpreters. The two colleagues who interpreted the speeches of the famous guests from English into German for the audience in the arena were delighted to accept such an assignment.
Endo Club Nord at CCH
A team of four interpreters were at work at the Hamburg Congress Centre CCH (for the 10th time) at the worlds largest endoscopy congress, Endo Club Nord, attended by approximately 2,500 participants. These colleagues specialise in medical conferences and do practically nothing else. Sometimes we wonder how they cope with the work without suffering from chronic hypochondria.
Three dentistry specialists were working on our behalf at the end of September in Hamburg at the 15. CEREC Masterkurs und Jahrestagung. Dentistry too is an absolute specialist subject. You either work with it throughout your professional life or youud better leave it alone.
Intercon International Conference for Fire and Rescue Services
Every two years the CCH is the venue for Intercon. This year in September we met once more at the invitation of the Hamburg Fire Services, who initiated the conference after the 11th September attacks in the USA for the first time in 2002. Meanwhile Intercon is widely known and well attended, since the congress finally provides a platform for Fire and Emergency Services throughout the world to exchange views and experiences relating to the most diverse catastrophic events and to discuss and plan management strategies for everyone involved. This year we also had a parallel workshop on pastoral care, an important component in emergency services.
We come to the end of 2007 as usual with our heartfelt thanks to you for the cooperation we have enjoyed over the year. We are looking forward to getting in touch again in 2008 and close by wishing you every success, joy and time out to make the most of the humorous side of life.