Über mattperret

I am a conference interpreter, trainer, and writer/ performer based in Berlin.


euro communication member Matthew Perret, who is also a comedian, recently received this plea from a desperate meeting organiser. He posts it here (with respect for anonymity) to encourage reflection on the specialised expertise of the (human) consultant interpreter- such as those you will find by contacting euro communication

I realised that my international meeting would work better with interpreters, so I started doing some research.

I checked out what was on offer, compared the online reviews, and placed my order with an agency. They had this fun interactive questionnaire, and said their algorithms would send me exactly what I needed.

The interpreters looked great on paper, but when they arrived I found the reality rather disappointing. They grumbled about the aches and pains they’d suffered in transit, being packed tightly inside the box. Once they’d freshened up, they were astonished to discover what I’d hired them for- they said they were just sent here and there with no warning. One poor chap, who clearly wasn’t the right fit for the conference, tried to run away rather than be squeezed back into the packaging for an immediate return. He offered to work into three languages at the same time, because “languages were his passion”.

Another was a specialist in astrology rather than astronomy, but insisted she was a quick learner. The “French-Polish Translation Solution” turned out to be a tin of French polish labelled “Smooth and effective”. 

Apparently, I was now meeting globally, while speaking my own language, and being streamed for access 24/7. The only problem was I couldn’t understand what my stressed interpreters were saying. One of them had to leave in the middle of a sentence because they were being paid by the minute- unfortunately, it was a German sentence, so I never got the verb.



Better meetings than ever- in YOUR language!

Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread”, Alexander Pope, 1711

The pandemic has had a disruptive effect. Business-minded people, naturally, see opportunities. If we can Build Back Better, as the EU Recovery Fund, WHO, and UN SDGs have it, then we will have to be creative in not repeating the errors of the past, especially when it comes to combating climate change.

Some sectors suffering now recognise that they will undergo a profound overhaul before jettisoning their harmful legacy, and returning to the fray: cost-cutting (and corner-cutting) airlines, the car industry, high-density office blocks, and others, are doing some potentially painful sums.

What about the international conference sector? Is it enough to Zoom, Skype, Webex and Interactio each other, send a few emails, wave at a temporarily frozen image of your interlocutor, and hope for the best?

If all you got out of conferences before was a few business cards, and a folder, PDF or PowerPoint to take home and pore over, then maybe you will be happy to continue taking a back seat without the hassle of travel, continue interacting in a foreign language without feeling involved in a true meeting of minds, and keep your comfortable clothes and footwear on under the table.

But if you value communication, you will be itching to get back in the room, with all the back-up you need, including professional interpreters. And if that’s not possible in the medium-term, we will ALL have to do better than the passive consumption of a slide-show. We interpreters will have to be there, or at least “be there” somehow, to help you achieve your aims!

Work with us to get the best professional solution. Don’t fall for the hype that a technology or platform alone can magically transport you to the thick of the action, while respecting multilingualism! It can’t. But we can listen to your needs, and be creative and flexible in giving you human expertise to help you through this confusing period. Maybe meetings really will end up being better than ever before!

eurocommunication 20th Birthday Party

Members celebrated yesterday with a Spree on the Spree….  Much fun was had with old friends and new on an afternoon boat tour through historic Berlin, followed by dinner.

Here’s to the next 20!20170715_153842.jpg20170715_162439.jpg

Recap on the botched privatisation of court interpreting in the UK

Judges started ordering retrials and issuing „wasted costs“ orders as unqualified interpreters started appearing (and often, not appearing).

One British solicitor quipped: „It might be quicker for me to learn Czech than for me to rely on ALS providing a qualified interpreter.“


See an earlier Private Eye story here: