|Our secret weapons on vacation in Mexico.|
You might think: is it a special note-taking technique? Is it a memory-strengthening exercise? Some new and revolutionary way to excel at the dreaded long consecutive form? No, it's none of these things. Our secret weapon is simple, cheap, has nothing to do with technique and everything to do with confidence.
Interpreting is challenging, especially in high-pressure situations like court/legal and international conferences and meetings. We love it, but we are also aware of how confident one has to be in her or his abilities to excel at this job. Portraying confidence to everyone present is also essential. After all, no one wants an intimidated interpreter.
We've heard from colleagues who have simple tricks that boost their confidence before a day of interpreting. Maybe it's eating a specific breakfast, a lucky pair of socks, the same brand of notebook every time, a favorite suit that always makes you feel great or a lucky pen. For us, it's nails. Yes, nails. It sounds trite, but we've painted our nails our trademark red for years, and having nicely polished nails makes us feel comfortable and confident. Plus, it's a very inexpensive confidence booster (about $7 a bottle, which lasts for months). Having nicely done nails is a symbol to ourselves that we are working and that this is the time to shine. We also see our hands a lot when interpreting and/or taking notes, and knowing that they look good makes us feel good. When we want to splurge, we head to a small nail salon in Vegas and get a $12 manicure (not too many nail salons in Vienna do non-acrylic nails well). Our favorite color: Vampire State Building by OPI (pictured), now unfortunately discontinued. Our second-favorites: Bogotá Blackberry, 20 Candles on my Cake, Teas-y Does It and I'm Not Really a Waitress by OPI.
What's your secret weapon? We'd love to hear about it in the comments section.