Colleagues and I have observed that strangely enough interpreter's safety seems to be neglected more frequently than in the past. Of course all of the follwoing is basically stating the obvious - but I think awareness-raising may help to improve the situation as well as clients' idea of what interpreters do and what they need in order to do a good job. I would appreciate more hints on what we should pay attention to.
Booths are sometimes placed in dangerous spots (e.g. with heavy loads such as decommissioned cranes dangling from the ceiling in a former production hall converted into a conference centre)
Sometimes we can hardly get into the booth without falling off the edge of a stage.
Escape routes are blocked (we need to check escape routes before we start interpretig!)
Sometimes there is not enough room for all the participants - so conferences organisers add chairs in the back of the conference room - often very close to the booth(s), sometimes even blocking our doors. In such cases we must make sure we can get into and especially out of the booth in case of emergency and kindly ask the organisaers to place the additional chairs elsewhere.
Emergency exit doors are locked (we need to ask that they be unlocked for the duration of the conference)
SI equipment and technical staff:
Sometimes the technical equipment is not up to standard and may damage our hearing
Sometimes the technical staff is not well-trained which may lead to poor sound quality and damage our hearing
Our own (mis)behaviour:
Throwing sheets of paper onto the booth floor may cause us or our colleague to slip when we get up - especially in a case of emergency
Leaving bags, trolleys or coats in places where people may trip over them should be avoided
Leaving coats lying on equipment behind the booths may be dangerous. Such equipment may be hot or heat up over time which may constitute a fire hazard.
Using wine-glass type of glasses in the booth constitutes a risk because they can spill more easily which may ruin either the interpreting equipment or our laptop. If no other glasses are available, I tend to drink out of the bottle - closing it every time I have taken a sip.
We need to make sure to select safe modes of travelling
We need to check escape routes in hotels and make sure our most important belongings are always ready to be taken out of the hotel room.
asked 01 May '12, 08:43
Thank you VERY much for this reminder, Almute! I can only add that we should also be on the lookout for hindrances to access, namely to the booths, by less than fully mobile people, aomeone will undoubtly benefit... and it might even be you, after an accident or in the distant future ;-)!
answered 01 May '12, 09:21
Very good overview, indeed. The "slip on paper" issue reminded me of how sometimes our very own colleagues do things that are - if not outright dangerous - unhelpful: tangle up headphone cables (which will eventually cause them to break at the worst moment possible) or spill liquids on equipment.
answered 01 May '12, 14:12