Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Information Manipulation? and Hotel Europe + Hotel Van Dyke

I received e-mails from Japan today that said, “I saw you on TV.” It seems it is only today that the events were reported there. There might be an embargo till today. But I found an article or two that reported the events were held only on 15th. Information manipulation?

I finished Maugham’s Collected Short Storied Volume 4 last Sunday though feeling quite sick with continuous sneezing. I got curious about the hotels named “Europe” and “Van Dyke” which he mentions in some of his stories. The Grand Hotel de l'Europe used to be standing where the old Supreme Court building is while Hotel Van Dyke was located in the area which we now call Raffles City and CHIJMES, formerly the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. With no new book, I picked The Painted Veil for my next round of reading.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


On Friday, I arrived at Fullerton Hotel a few minutes past 13:00 and, after calling my contact person, went down to the ballroom floor. Then with her and a few others, I went up again to the ground floor and went into the restaurant to say “hello” to the actor who was having his lunch with his staff. In a T-shirt and sandals, he seemed a nice young chap. Then I reviewed some papers handed to me, and at 2:00 the press conference started. In half an hour, the conference was over and interviews by individual local media companies began. Nine interviews altogether… I with the Japanese TV crew was driven to another location, “nex” in the Upper Serangoon area, where an event with fans would be held. We waited quite a long time for his arrival. As a red carpet and premier event was scheduled to start at 20:30 at Cathay, people were worried if they might have to cancel his appearance at the meet-the-fans event. He and his own crew arrived just in time for a short interview with the MC and a prize presentation ceremony on the stage. The van that was carrying the Japanese TV crew and I arrived at Cathay before the one of his. After, say, 20 minutes, he appeared and walked down the red carpet at the end of which I joined him on the stage. After a short talk with another MC, we went to the VIP room for some rest and hurried to more short talks at four cinema halls. Then my work was over. Probably a success. Because I finished the day’s work at Cathay, I decided to have drink at CC. I walked to there. Soon after I started drinking, someone I know came in and I had small talk with him and a woman whom he claimed he had met for the first time in 18 years. After a few glasses, I found two young women, who used to be working at CC, drinking together. I joined them. Around 1:00 am, I received a call from the guy of the agency to which the actor belongs, who asked me about nightlife in this country. My interpretation work should have been a success.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Past Week

On 28th October, I finished a 3-week interpretation job the content with which by now I am familiar. Around a week before, I had an inquiry from someone I knew for another interpretation job for a media event, where an actor would appear, scheduled on 11th November. I answered I would be available. After exchanging a few messages with the film distribution company which was organizing the event and needed an interpreter, it was set that I would visit its office on Tuesday. During the meeting, they started to play a DVD of a movie I had never watched and the story of which I only had vague idea only through Wikipedia. I was asked to translate parts of it on the spot. A trial, sort of. Actors when they are acting do not talk as they would when they are who they are. Often they are overly histrionic, which is their job after all, making the whole thing unsuitable for interpretation. I said, “I have to say this is not how interpreters work.” They blushed. But I should have said “how I work” instead of “how interpreters work” as I have no idea as to how other interpreters work or how their minds are activated when they work. For my preparation, they lent me three movie DVDs in which this particular actor appeared previously. Over these years, I have learned that it is crucially important for me to put myself on the speaker’s shoes. In a sense, I must act his character. Looking at a screen and not knowing much about the speaker, in this case an actor, I was very much detached from his character. I was not him. Whatever they thought about me, I secured this assignment. Also on Tuesday, I received another inquiry from my former employer though the person who called me should have no idea that I was working some years ago at the very office where she was working now. The inquiry was about whether I could attend a meeting as interpreter to be held on Friday. I asked her to pass my contact number and e-mail address to the inquirer who needed an interpreter for the meeting. I submitted a quote to him and the job was secured. The meeting went smoothly as I believe, and my job was done. This afternoon, feeling pressed with time before the media event this coming Friday, I watched two of the three movies. They are the sequels of a series. I thought Part 2 went too far, diluting the impact of Part 1. Or I feel this way because I got just tired by the time when Part 2 was over. I have another DVD I am supposed to watch before an internal premier (pre-premier) of the latest film which is the sequel of this third DVD and I would attend.