No, it’s not a new note-taking technique, nor is it some magic drink that raises your performance. It’s my new earphones that I bought yesterday. Interpreting is very challenging, especially with the pressures that come along with international conferences, VIP clients or flash lights. I love the challenge, which was partly why I chose this career at the beginning, but I also know that under this intense pressure every interpreter needs something extra than what they’ve got in themselves to boost their confidence. I’ve known people in other professions that have little tricks to make them feel ready for a big important day. My friend who is a doctor has to wear ‘lucky’ cap for big surgeries. My mum brings her favourite telescope when leading her athletes to take part in important shooting competitions. Another interpreter friend, quite the opposite of most, does not drink any coffee on an interpreting day. For me, it’s earphones. I remember when I was still studying interpreting, Christopher de Fortis, a senior interpreter with NATO, came to my university and gave a speech. He talked about the importance of finding earphones or headsets that suit you. When he was a student himself he thought he wasn’t made for simultaneous interpreting until one day, he used his own earphones instead of the traditional ones normally used in most uni booths. All of a sudden, a miracle seemed to happen and he felt like he could do simultaneous interpreting. I remember at the time I was having issues with the headphones in uni that felt like a clamp on my head and I struggled between listening and speaking. So that evening after the speech, I went to the booth to practise with my own earphones and his miracle passed on to me. Really love these new earphones. Sennheiser, black and grey, sporty design so it won’t fall off, good sound quality, sliding volume control. Just love it. I am ready for my UN Geneva internship next month.
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