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IMF police interpreting

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  • Michal Ginter
    Radiomobil, a Czech GSM operator, offers over-the-phone interpreting. Their per-minute rates are very low; I doubt that a competent interpreter would ever work
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 29, 2000
      Radiomobil, a Czech GSM operator, offers over-the-phone interpreting.
      Their per-minute rates are very low; I doubt that a competent
      interpreter would ever work for them. I understand that the whole
      concept has raised quite a few eyebrows in the interpreting community;
      the obvious reason being that without knowing the context, you can't
      interpret well. In addition to that, the sound quality is often less
      than ideal, I imagine. I was told that the UN had looked into the
      possibility of interpreting via satellite link, but gave up on it
      because the interpreting service refused to work with such a low
      quality of sound. Good for them - I've done several satellite
      conferences, and it's no fun.

      Don't know about any shady deals re/ hiring interpreters for the IMF
      meeting in Prague. As far as I know, Skrivanek won the tender, and
      has been calling ASKOT interpreters (I was one of them), offering them
      the job. I completely agree with you that the money and the
      questionable kudos aren't worth the hassle. Fortunately, I'll be in
      Dublin with a parliamentary delegation all that week. :-) Anyway,
      what kinda shady deals have you people heard of?

      Onto your not getting the interpreting job for the Czech delegation in
      Seattle. The interpreter was most probably hired in Prague by the
      institution/s that sent the delegation, unless all members of the team
      spoke English or any other language that the proceedings were
      interpreted into, which, alas, happens more and more often these days.
      I know quite a few institutions here that are reluctant to hire
      US-based interpreters to work with US-bound missions because, as they
      say, they don't KNOW them personally. Also, Cabinet ministers,
      Speakers, Presidents, Parliamentary committees and most of the big
      brass tend to have their pet interpreters (which is quite
      understandable), and their protocol departments tend to comply. I've
      also been told by an institution that they once tried to hire an
      interpreter in NYC and she screwed up big time, completely freaking
      the delegation out. Then you have the infamous case of M.A. throwing
      her interpreter out in Prague. News like that travel fast and wide in
      a small country and its small protocol community. I thought you might
      wanna know. I DO realize that it isn't fair on all the good
      interpreters/translators in the States. Let me ask you a question,
      Tom. Apart from US-based AIIC members, is there a "selective" body of
      US interpreters? ASKOT (you can check our website out at
      www.askot.cz) has a very stringent procedure a candidate has to follow
      to get in. First, you have to find five members (of more than 2
      years, I think) to sponsor your application, and show that you worked
      at least 40 days in the booth or doing on-stage consecutive over the
      year preceding your application. Then the application gets voted on
      by all members who work with your languages (two thirds have to know
      you and support your application WHILE no more than 10 % can be
      against the application). Having passed, the application gets voted
      on once again at the Annual meeting, where 90 % of members who KNOW
      you must vote in favor of your application. I know it's pretty tough,
      and I'm the first one to say that there are competent interpreters
      outside ASKOT who don't get accepted only because there aren't enough
      ASKOT members who know them (and not many colleagues are willing to
      bite the bullet and invite an ASKOT member to come to their gig and
      listen to their work); and then, of course, there are interpreters who
      aren't interested to join in the first place. So, there certainly are
      good non-affiliated interpreters in CR. Having said that, I can claim
      with a reasonable degree of certainty that there are no INCOMPETENT
      interpreters in ASKOT. BIG difference. Many institutions
      (particularly the highest ranking ones) are reluctant to hire an
      interpreter who isn't a member of ASKOT precisely for that reason.
      Anyway, enough blowing my own horn. :-)


      > Message: 5
      > Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 09:01:23 -0700
      > From: Barendregt <barendregt@...>
      > Subject: Re: RE: IMF police interpreting

      > As far as interpreting for the police goes, I am not sure what can be
      > done given the notorious budgetary restraints of MV CR (after having
      > worked with many Czech cops I tend to think that it is not necessarily
      > them who are to blame for many of the problems they have to face -
      > many of them are NOT stupid!). Is there an over-the-phone interpreting
      > service in the CR? That would be a fast, efficient and, above all,
      > way to do the work. In the US it is often used for interrogations, 911
      > calls, etc.

      > I read something about some shady deals going on in terms of
      > interpreting for IMF meeting in Prague (it might have been TOP
      > and I can tell you all just this:

      > I lived in Seattle during the WTO meeting there and for a few months
      > tried to get hold of someone who could hire me to interpret for the
      > Czech delegation. I was first really disappointed I did not get the
      > thinking that it was, after all, my home turf and all (and a colleague
      > of ours was probably shipped from across the world to do the work) but
      > when it all started I was DARN GLAD I did not have to try to go there
      > my suit and tie and try to explain to the turtle people, labor
      > and riot-gear-clad, tear-gas-shootin' cops that I am just an
      > interpreter, not an oppressor of workers in Sri Lanka, and therefore a
      > friend to all the people of good will who desire to understand one
      > another :-)

      > In other words, stay away from a job like this. There is far too much
      > stuff to deal with on top of the actual work.

      > Tom
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