Simultaneous Learning in Interpretation

When I was a student, I have been told that learning is best when done outside the confines of the classroom. After working for quite some time, I realized that the same thing still applies in the world of working adults. Even if I am no longer a student in school, I remain a student of life.

Being a Project Manager for Lexcode, a company that caters to translation and interpretation, definitely holds a lot of perks. This holds true especially for interpretation projects.

Managing an interpretation project has taken me to different places in the Philippines. From Metro Manila, I have gone to as far as Mindanao. What is great about these projects is that none of them are alike. I have been exposed to different topics such as health care, national security, poverty alleviation, intellectual property, labor rights, and several other issues that have a significant impact to our society.

You see, every interpretation project is an altogether different adventure. If I were to choose the project that is most memorable, I will have to go with the simultaneous interpretation service for an international non-government organization (NGO), which we rendered in southern Philippines. I remember requesting the client to assure our safety as it so happened that the location’s neighboring province was under a security crisis that time. Admittedly, I was not comfortable traveling to Mindanao back then with all the negative news reported by the media, but after thorough coordination, I eventually found myself with Lexcode’s interpretation team in Butuan.

Upon reaching our hotel, I was greeted by the rich history and culture of the province. Interestingly, the hotel’s lobby served as a museum where artifacts of the balanghay, a wooden boat that housed a village of early Filipinos, are displayed. It was a good thing that our Filipino–English interpreter is an experienced tour guide. We were then able to maximize our free day and explore nearby sights before the event proper. We just made sure to return to our hotel before nighttime.

The topic of the event proved to be relevant as the convention aimed to educate this NGO’s different chapters in the country about disaster preparedness and risk reduction. Apart from the discussions, actual demonstrations on how to respond to emergencies were conducted. There was even a life-size game of Snakes and Ladders where the aim was for us to reach safety or the end point first. My competitive self did not let the opportunity pass, so I volunteered to be the first participant. People just needed one person to initiate, and soon, there were already four of us participating in the game. Luckily, the odds—and the dice—were on my side. In the end, I won the game and brought home a handy dandy pair of scissors! Yes, because we will never know when we will be needing it.

On the third day of the event, we have already warmed ourselves up to the place and realized there is nothing to fear at all. Of course, we were still vigilant. We all are anyway whenever we visit any unfamiliar place. Sales aside, I felt that the project was indeed a blessing as I got to experience firsthand the warmth and kindness of our fellow Filipinos living in Mindanao.

Capping off the service was our dinner at a cozy restaurant near our hotel. I do not know how the locals usually spend their night out, but from where we were, I would say they do it in a rather quiet and calm manner. Being a native of Luzon, I had limited knowledge of this other region of the Philippines, and as such, I had my prejudice. If only Filipinos from all three island groups can carry out this kind of cooperation in activities that promote peace and development nationwide! For it is when we totally understand each other that we can truly care for one another.

I left Butuan with a more open mind. Another interpretation project has been successfully completed. Another milestone was reached for and by Lexcode. The learnings I gain after every stress-filled coordination for a project make it all worth it. I get to travel and learn at the same time! Now, that’s what you call #jobgoals. Next project, please!