Hosting Visitors from Pennsylvania

Friday’s interpretation marathon is over.

I started the day kind of bristly, feeling used and taken for granted. I was able to mention that more lead time would be more respectful.

Then I met the gentlemen. They were exhausted from their travels, but enthused about their trip to this part of Japan. We visited local history museum, had lunch at a restaurant staffed by disabled young adults, then visited the therapeutic horseriding NPO in town. I was able to be a good guide for them, and in fact I know from hosting other visitors that this is “work” that I like. It’s easy to communicate what you like to someone who wants to hear it!

That evening they gave their presentations to a gathering of about 30 NPO groups. This was the part of the translating that I adamantly refused to do. I have no experience with simultaneous interpretation, and wouldn’t want to mis-communicate anything of importance! They hired a “pro” from the big city 100 miles away. Unfortunately, she was terrible. I literally had to jump in about 7 times to re-say what she thought she meant.

The contents of their presentations (about fundraising and corporate responsibility) were excellent, and actually close to what Charles Burke had been teaching me during our coaching sessions (now on break, by the way). The main ideas: have a good story, be able to tell it with passion, and then give people the opportunity to give and support you by asking for what you need. An excellent refresher lesson for me.

Hopefully, the organizers have learned that speaking a foreign language does not qualify one for translation/interpretation. It was a great learning experience, and I have gotten an inkling that “guiding” English speakers in this town is something worth exploring.

Though I wasn’t paid much for my day, the best benefit was meeting the NPO consultants from Pennsylvania. It feels like I did some good service for them, and they have offered to do some email consulting with me to say thanks (!)

All in all, I appreciated the little stretch their visit opportuned me.

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