I would like to share with you the Friday´s funnies … somethings translators can laugh or cry about, or both laugh and cry about!
I invite clients and translators to share their funny translation and interpretation stories. But please, protect the innocent … we are telling stories without pointing fingers.
If you wonder what the connection is between these three things, I will do my best to explain.
For 10 years, I did over-the-telephone interpretations for one of the largest and best companies in the United States. I interpreted everything: court hearings, births, immigration raids, and 911 calls; if you can imagine a subject, I interpreted it! But when I think about what was my funniest interpretation moment, it was by far the “Viagra” call.
I had been booked to interpret a medical intake questionnaire on a quiet Friday afternoon during the summer and I was in the middle of it when my parents-in-law unexpectedly showed up in my office. I politely asked them with my finger to my lips to be quiet and to sit down. But my mother-in-law, a nurse, then in her mid-seventies, could not stop listening to the back and forth of the interpretation. The patient, a male in his late 60’s, was explaining with the most embarrassing and graphic details you can imagine how the medicine he had been taking had improved his sexual performance even more than the famous blue pill had ever done and how happy he was making his wife at this stage of his life! My mother-in-law started laughing and chuckling on hearing this, and was starting to make me laugh until I realized that my only escape was for me to run and hide in the bathroom. Of course, she followed me until I closed the door in her face. My duty was to keep my cool and be professional and, my mother-in-law’s duty, of course, was her “need” to hear the end of the story. Finally, the call ended, and I was able to get out of the bathroom with my pride intact while my mother-in-law’s disappointment showed on her face for not having heard the end of the man´s story.
If you thought that was the end of the story, you are wrong! What are the chances that my in-laws would once again show up unannounced a few months later when I was doing a follow-up call with the same patient, “Viagra man”. Well, it happened, and thankfully this time, I was almost all finished with the call when they arrived.
One of the funny things here was that my in-laws can barely utter “hi” in Spanish but in case of “need” they found a way to understand! As you know, when there is a will, there is a a way to understand; and in this case, it was the word “Viagra”.