Time's wingèd chariot
Being there... and on time. The goal of every interpreter!
It goes without saying that we consummate professionals are never late for a meeting, but when we are – a truck shed its load, the train was late, the dog ate your sexy headset – we react in one of two ways: some saunter in supremely insouciant and drawl, eyebrow cocked, “Sorry I’m a bit late”. The other approach is to rush helter-skelter into the booth, drop your bag on the floor and switch on the microphone without taking off your coat, all under the bemused gaze of your colleague who is – believe it or not – dealing with the staggering burden of your absence.
To be honest it’s a rare occurrence – it did once happen and my perfectly true excuse was that my alarm clock had conked out at 3am. For years the chief interpreter would see me and mutter, “alarm clock, really”, and then make me buy him a drink.
Punctuality is hard wired into our brains and dunned into us at interpreting school – and so we deal with this faux pas by apologizing or attacking the mic all gung-ho.
But do you find things slipping when you’re not at work? I sometimes feel slipshod, chronologically challenged. I get up in plenty of time but still contrive to arrive late at the cinema, restaurant, shopping trip or synchronized skipping in the park. I was even late for my time management class.
At work we are at everyone’s beck and call, we have no control over our own schedule. You can’t even sign up for an evening class because you are never quite sure you’ll make it, even if you are lucky enough to work at home. Admittedly it’s part of the job description, but I sometimes think that lateness and an inability to find our keys in the morning is a low intensity protest.
For once, please let me march to my own drum.
Articles published in this section reflect the views of the author(s) and should not be taken to represent the official position of AIIC.