You're working at a conference whose active and passive languages are indicated on your contract. With no prior warning, a delegate takes the floor using another language, which happens to be in your language combination.
I would tend to go for the latter option wherever feasible. Allowing the use of additional languages involves practical and above all political and financial considerations and if deemed desirable by the organiser, should be the subject of negotiations with the interpreter team as a whole.
I also understand that delegations have been known to bypass the organisers deliberately, approaching the interpreters directly, e.g. "I heard you speaking xxx in the coffee break, it won't be a problem if our delegate uses it, will it?"
What's the best way to handle these scenarios?
I would never interpret seamlessly, as an unexpected passive language -even one I have in my language combination- may involve a series of issues:
However, I am not opposed to accommodating clients’ requirements, if I can. This is why:
Sometimes it is better to allow a foreign speaker to use his mother-tongue (provided all the above conditions are met) than to suffer his poor accent in another language. So, it may even be in our own interest. And if you can provide an additional service without making too much fuss, while preserving your working conditions, your client will be grateful.
answered 19 May '12, 13:16