Newsletter December 2010

The second decade of the new century is upon us

In the second half of 2010 SIMCONSULT enjoyed a motley array of topics and events, some planned long in advance, others came in at the last minute.

Retirement ?

Whenever relatives and friends ask us freelance interpreters when we are going to hang up the headset and go into retirement, most of us react with an air of inner defiance. Of course the interpreter getting on in years notices that a day of intensive work in the booth leaves you more tired than it did 10 or 20 years ago. The downtimes have to be exploited more fully. On the other hand, the years of experience and the accumulated knowledge make the work that bit easier. There are conference interpreters who still do an excellent job in their mid-seventies and what they deliver is practically ready for the press.


Organisation is important

As a freelance conference interpreter you must be well organised. You are constantly on the move from one conference to another, changing subjects all the time. Upstream of the work in the booth, there are travel plans, hotel bookings; preparation for the next conference has to be done before departure if possible, and nothing left behind at home, like a laptop charger.


On to the next assignment

You set off to the conference venue in the morning. Expectations are high, every time a new adventure. You arrive, say hello to the colleagues in the team, some well-known faces, others you meet for the first time, meet the technician who has a key role to play in our work. The team leader has already been in touch with the client to clarify any last-minute details. You settle down in the appropriate booth next to the colleague you are working with. It is good booth manners to ask your partner about any seating preferences, left or right. You unpack your laptop and set it up, check the interpreting equipment, make sure you have enough to drink, decide which of you will start and you’re ready to go. This is the moment of truth. You are in the spotlight, everything has to work like clockwork and the tension mounts. An interpreter cannot afford to work at half throttle, never become complacent. Every sentence, every technical term, every thought to be conveyed must come across.


Taking the plunge

Once you have worked your first half hour and handed over to your teammate there is that sense of relief that everything has gone smoothly, the ice is broken and you can look forward with confidence to the rest of the day. Conference interpreters are passionate about their profession. It is never a matter of boring routine and you can never get enough. Although interpreters usually work behind the scenes and for the most part remain anonymous, the profession gives them a kick, similar to that of an actor on stage. Of course it is a job, you do it to earn a living, but the challenge is addictive.


Hexagonal countersunk screws or the adiabatic lapse rate can be fascinating too

It is also curious to note that no matter what subject is on the agenda, even if it seems rather dry at first sight, once you start to prepare, you also start to develop an interest.


Medicine, technology, business and industry

Animal welfare

In the past six months we had an unusual number of subjects dealing with animal welfare. Two events focussed on animal medicine. Elanco, a subsidiary of Lilly Deutschland, commissioned us to interpret English and German at their symposium in Istanbul in October on the subject of health in pig-breeding and pig-fattening. Earlier in August at the conference at the Crown Plaza in Hamburg, Pfizer GmbH presented a new combination preparation for sheep.

Animal behaviour

The wellbeing of pets and farm animals was the theme of a 4-day congress at the University of Hamburg in September. Specialists from across Europe met to exchange their expert views on animal psychology and animal behaviour, focussing on pets like cats, dogs and parrots and their behaviour, as well as appropriate methods of animal husbandry for horses, calves and other animals.


Medical treatment for humans

Endoscopic interventions with amazing human skill and the latest hi-tech were demonstrated once more at this year’s Endo Club Nord event at the Hamburg Congress Center. Over one and a half days there were transmissions via satellite link to Hamburg from a number of operating theatres all over the world, with live comments by the surgeons. For the 13th time in succession our highly specialised team of four interpreters expertly interpreted the running commentary, spoken behind the surgeon’s mask, without a script of course, followed by the lively discussion contributions from around the globe in English and German.


Aircraft, newspapers and urban development

There were other interesting assignments, for instance in August we attended the handover of the fourth Airbus A380 to Air France and marked the production start-up of the A350 XWB in Stade. In September we interpreted at the opening of the Distripress Congress at the CCH in Hamburg and later at a meeting of Waterfront Cities, Living and Working close to Water, the subject being urban development, reconciling living with trade and industry.


SIMCONSULT, your partner in an emergency

When the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, visited Hanover in October with a government delegation, they realised at 11 o’clock that morning that they needed interpreters for Spanish and German for the meeting that afternoon. SIMCONSULT received a call from the Argentinian Embassy asking for assistance. We were able to recruit two AIIC colleagues, Spanish native speakers in Hamburg who fortunately were free that day. The two of them got to Hanover on time at 3 o’clock and were able to interpret for President Kirchner, much to everyone’s satisfaction.


What happened to the hand-knitted scarves?

There is never a dull moment in our office. When we set up SIMCONSULT 16 years ago we thought that Susanne Schwarz, our Managing Director, would have enough time on her hands to learn to knit and produce woolly scarves for us all in winter. 16 years down the line we are still waiting for our scarves which we really could do with in weather like this.


Nevertheless, we wish all our clients happy holidays and all the best for the coming year. We look forward to hearing from you again in 2011 and thank you for the excellent cooperation in 2010.


You are looking for an interpreter or translator

for languages including Arabic, Chinese, English,

 French, German, Italian, Japanese,

Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian,

 Spanish, Turkish or Ukrainian?

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Tel.: +49 (0)40 4600 1730 

Fax: +49 (0)40 4600 1743

Ballindamm 39 · 20095 Hamburg