Theater Meets Professional Development



You think interpreting is scary? Try live theater.
When you’ve been in business 10+ years, you have probably attended dozens of professional development events – or you should! We believe that honing your existing skills and adding new ones on a continuous basis is key to any entrepreneur’s success. The Austrian writer Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach used to say that those who stop trying to be better stop being good. That’s why we have embraced every professional development opportunity that has come our way. It’s not only great for the above-mentioned reasons, but also for keeping in touch with your fellow translators/interpreters and for networking with other business people when attending non-T&I events. Having attended many exciting workshops, presentations and lectures on the traditional subjects, Dagy decided it was time to take professional development to the next level: to the theater, that is.  Read on for Dagy’s insight into her experience at an improvisation techniques course. Judy has also taken a one-day class that really stretched her mind.
The chocolate with the company logo.


After having taken speech therapy classes to work on my voice for a year, I wanted to continue working on something that was somewhat related to interpreting. I love going to the theater and sometimes attend improv theater events. Just recently, I mentioned to my significant other that I would love to try improv theater, but not on an actual stage. A few days later, I learned that one of my favorite small theaters in Vienna offered a semester improv theater course. Bingo!  In seven three-hour sessions spread out over three months, we have been learning the basic techniques of improv theater. And I love it! It starts with awareness-building techniques and interacting with others, because improv theater is all about that: receiving and giving impulses to your fellow wannabe actresses and actors. The warm-up usually includes fun exercises that combine quick thinking with creativity, for example coming up with as many words as possible related to a word or concept. As interpreters, we are all used to high-speed thinking, but I wanted to take my spontaneity and on-the-spot wit to the next level, and improv theater is doing just that for me. Another plus is that it’s a class full of accessible and highly likeable people who share my passion for theater. And when we all got the munchies during a break, I figured I'd share a few of my brand-new company-logo chocolates, which I always keep handy in my purse. After all, you never know where your  next client will come from.

What about you, dear colleagues? Have you taken a beyond-the-traditional professional development course that you have really enjoyed? We'd love to hear about it!


3 comments:

Alina on April 3, 2013 at 6:17 AM said...

First of all, congratulations on your new business! I love the idea with the chocolates.

I had never thought of improv theatre as a means of developing interpreting skills, but it sounds absolutely brilliant. And I imagine it is fun as well.

EP on April 3, 2013 at 11:39 AM said...

I bet there really is a lot of quick thinking involved in that. And it must be great fun once you "get in the flow" and all that.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on April 3, 2013 at 1:51 PM said...

@Alina: Thanks so much! The European side of our business, Texterei, just turned 10, so it has actually been around quite a while. I are pretty fond of the chocolates, too. Yes, improv is fun, but exhausting and mentally challenging -- just like interpreting.

@EP: Exactly, it's all about thinking on your feet and reacting quickly. :)

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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