"Thank you for your note below and for your attention to our group on-site in Orlando. You handled a difficult situation well and I appreciated your responsiveness to the concerns raised. It was a pleasure working with you." - ASTD
Started in 1943, the American Society for Training and Development provides research, analysis, benchmarking, online information, books, and other publication outlets for professionals, educators, and students. A large part of their services includes bringing professionals together in conferences, conventions and workshops. U.S. Translation Company has provided interpretation services including extensive equipment and technicians for several ASTD events throughout the U.S.
Set up began May 21, with three full-size booths in three separate rooms. There were two breakout rooms and a general session ballroom.
This event included Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages. We had four interpreters per language and two teams apiece.
The event took place from May 21-25, 2011.
At the end of the first day, Kathy Sprouse, the on-site USTC representative, received a phone call from the client that the woman in charge of a large delegation from Korea was unhappy with one of the Korean interpreters. There were two sets of Korean interpreters working that day, so Kathy first had to find out which team the delegate was unhappy with.
Once that was done, Kathy asked if she knew which particular interpreter she was unhappy with. Unfortunately, she wasn't sure. Kathy and the client agreed to wait until the next morning's General Session to determine the problem. Both Korean interpreters were informed that there had been a complaint, and they would be reviewed the next morning at General Session. They were apologetic and concerned. The meeting that the complaint came from was one with many speakers and some very difficult accents. The linguists agreed to study and be extra prepared for the following day.
The next morning, Kathy and the client listened to the Korean interpreters and found that they had very different interpreting styles. One went fast, trying not to miss anything. The other went slow, trying to summarize so as not to be too fast to understand. Kathy met with the client after the meeting and a Korean speaker gave feedback. The Korean speaker didn't feel the interpretation was bad, but it could be better. Kathy suggested the interpreters (including the two that had no complaints) meet with the woman who made the initial complaint to get additional feedback on what could be improved. The client agreed that was a good idea, but the delegate was not interested in meeting.
Kathy spoke with all interpreters, switched schedules, and the Korean interpreters completed the rest of the conference with no additional complaints.
Kathy was scheduled to return home after the second day of sessions, but because of the circumstances, arranged to stay for the rest of the event.
On the last day of the event, one of the Chinese interpreters was admitted into to the hospital, this interpreter's partner was concerned that she would not be able to interpret alone for a full day. Kathy immediately arranged for a meeting with the remaining three Chinese interpreters. One interpreter offered to work 1-2 sessions alone to help out.
Kathy had his partner team up with the first interpreter. She had the team check in with the person working alone and relieve him when necessary. This process worked out very smoothly. The client was very happy with how everything worked out and was glad that Kathy had stayed.
Based on this event the project manager now stays for the full event when USTC works with ASTD.