Acting interpreter

For the first time in my life, I acted as an interpreter for Japanese student nurses in a seminar with British medical students.

On Monday, I got an email from uni. The email was asking me if I could help a group of Japanese student nurses over the following few days, as they were staying to attend medical inter-professional sessions with a professional interpreter. I immediately replied ‘yes’.

On Tuesday, I joined a session in which the group of Japanese nurses gave a presentation to introduce their school to British students studying medicine, nursing and pharmacy. The nurses spoke little English, and the professional interpreter made a simultaneous translation into English. Her translations were also excellent when the medical students asked questions about technical issues as well. I was happy to learn the terminology and healthcare systems in the UK and Japan, and I was stunned by the interpreter’s skills.

That night, I talked to Eric about this and said I felt comfortable and happy to help them. But he looked really serious and he said ‘you should prepare for attending the seminar because the nurses are supposed to discuss and work with medical students together and they speak little English, otherwise all of you might have trouble.’ He studied translation in China, and now studies applied translation here. He gave me lots of advice from a professional perspective. Although I was thinking that I would just attend the class as one of their supporters, I read through the documents, watched the videos again and again, and checked all the terminology in the material, just in case.

On Wednesday, my nightmare came true. The professional interpreter didn’t come to the seminar. The Japanese girls and I were left in the seminar room filled with about 50 medical students. A teacher introduced us to them as nurses from Japan and an interpreter. I really felt grateful to Eric, and I wasn’t confused with this unexpected happening actually because I was prepared enough to understand what they would do today.

Overall, I did my best so that the nurses were able to enjoy the role-play and join in the discussion, and I used my own knowledge and experience of healthcare to explain some situations. If it was a real clinical practice, such a rough translation would be problematic. Interpreters really have to be serious about acting in real medical situations to avoid causing a huge problem, as Eric said.

Before anything else, I was happy to see the girls’ smiles and joy, and I learnt so many things!

Formal dinner in my kitchen

For the past month, I had been receiving texts from Luca. I met him last night to talk.

He asked me to meet at a tea room in town, but I invited him to the shared kitchen of my flat for our first dinner of this year. The meaning behind it was truly to become friends again. On the dining table in the kitchen, I set place mats, cutlery, glasses and after dinner chocolates. Then I cooked a starter and main course of prawn and feta cheese salad and pasta bake. My flatmates said it looked like a formal dinner!

I was nervous about cooking pasta for him, as he was brought up with delicious Italian food. Sure enough, he was serious when eating my pasta, but we very much enjoyed the dinner together, and talked about our future careers. I would be happy to have this nice friend. What I enjoyed most was shopping to set the table, planning the menu, and cooking the dinner for us.

Antique market

I felt this morning that ‘I must go out for some fresh air’, because I had shut myself away in my room for a week except for when I had to attend seminars. When I was about to leave my flat, Eric asked me to go to an antique market with him. I was glad to be asked and we set out for town together. Then, we did some shopping and had lunch at an Italian restaurant.

After lunch, we went to the antique market and looked at some reasonable stuff there, and I got one item! I bought a Tuscan cup and saucer in a sale, which cost me £1. They were made in England and have a classic flowery design. Eric got two mags and a tea set.

As well as enjoying shopping, we talked much about our studies and I exposed my feelings about the recent situations over coffee. Eric is quite a positive thinker and he showed his understanding for that.

After a lot of walking and talking for half a day, I realised that I had had a good change. My motivation for studies was completely restored.