You might have recently seen numerous campaigns that start with the phrase “Keep Calm.” Though it is just a simple line, it carries a powerful message that can be applied to anything. In fact, the phrase has become so popular that nearly every combination has been used, from “Keep Calm And Call Batman,” to "Keep Calm And Love Pink."
If we dig deeper, though, we are reminded that being calm is definitely a must when doing anything. The main reason why we fail or make mistakes is because we are stressed out and overwhelmed. However, when we stay calm, our mind becomes stress-free and we end up getting things right. The same can be said about interpreting.
One of the reasons why some interpreters fail is because their nerves always get the best of them. Even with a mastery of languages, interpreters still make errors—this is especially true for those who interpret for VIPs—so being calm is the key in any interpreting scenario.
When interpreting for “big” people, nervousness is inevitable. Prior preparation is the best way to avoid panicking while interpreting: read books; go through some of the most common words in the language that you are interpreting; be familiar with the culture of the people who use the language; and read more about the client and what the client is interested in. If there is a need to tour the client around a particular tourist destination, it is important to do some homework on the place. Being ready for the job is a sure way to boost confidence—when the client starts asking questions and you know the answers, you will have no trouble keeping calm.
Look Your Best
Wearing appropriate attire for an event is also important. Interpreters for VIPs need to accompany their clients, meaning that you will also be rubbing elbows with other “big” people in the crowd. Therefore, you need to look your best to make sure that you are presentable when speaking with them. Also, looks can be a charming distraction during moments when you slip up or say the wrong thing.
Interpreters might have mastery of a language, but this does not mean they are perfect. They might hear words incorrectly, or they simply don’t know the answer to a question. Make sure you don’t fake your answers—if you really don’t know the answer, then just be honest about it and apologize if you need to.
“Keep Calm and Just Interpret!”
Now that you are totally prepared for the job, you can go forth and face your client with confidence. Always remember: when you are nervous, “Keep Calm and Just Interpret!”