by an interpreter married to an interpreter (the one in booth n. 4 on your left)
- The toothpaste rule
You’ll need two separate toothpaste tubes… to avoid quarrelling over who gets to keep the toothpaste: the one who leaves or the one who stays?
- Netflix/film/tv show night
Be prepared for endless comments about how crappy the subtitles are. And for compromises: at one point we have ended up watching a series in Swedish with Croatian subtitles.
- News talk
Accept that the conversation will mainly revolve around the news from the weirdest countries in the world (in our case, covering the whole spectrum of our combined languages: all the Nordic countries, the UK, the US, a good part of South America, Spain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Slovakia and of course Italy, inter alia)
- Lists of words everywhere
Don’t throw away that scrap of paper! And no, it doesn’t matter that it is the back of a receipt from the supermarket. We jot down notes on virtually anything, and we need those for our meeting.
Our job is unpredictable, and tiring, and frustrating. With the notable exception of my husband, we as a bunch kind of like to complain. Don’t try to stop us. At one point we will get tired of all the whining and change subject.
We come and we go. Do not expect us to unpack the moment we get home. After all, we’ll probably be leaving so soon that we don’t even need to unpack half the suitcase.
After spending our days like fish in an acquarium, we need outlets. Plenty of interpreters take up meditation, yoga, or pilates. We clearly need something more intense and like to sweat the stress out. Together my husband and I run 150 to 200 kilometres per week. Support your significant other and do not try to talk them out of exercising…
- Wandering eye
Although neither of us has it, we have noticed an impressive rate of wandering eyes among interpreters. I believe it is due to the act of listening and speaking at the same time, hence reflecting the split occurring in the brain.
- Forgetting things
We need to store an unconceivable amount of information in our brains in a very short amount of time. In order to keep functional, we also need to delete it as soon as possible. But together with all the names of chemicals, Syrian activists, scary diseases, gardening tools, pig breeds, varieties of aromatic plants, and god knows what, we forget birthdays and dates and names too. Be kind.
- Tip-top shape
Most of the interpreters I know are super fit. My theory is that we cannot afford to take up too much space in our tiny tiny booths…
In a nutcase: we have some weird traits, but we are also fit, super smart and usually dedicated, as it takes a lot of hard work to become (and stay!) an interpreter. In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen… marry an interpreter.