One of my LinkedIn contacts once shared the following story and it really resonated with me, as I do a lot of interpretation work while I hold a BA in Translation.
Interpreting in the United States is quite different from what it is here in Lebanon. The majority of interpreters in Lebanon have actually studied interpretation and have a degree in it. This is not always the case in the States.
Below is the story he shared with me:
“A giant ship engine failed. The ship’s owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure out how to fix the engine. Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was young. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.
Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed!
A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars. “What?!” the owners exclaimed. “He hardly did anything!” So they wrote the old man a note saying, “Please send us an itemized bill.” The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer………………….. $ 2.00
Knowing where to tap…………………….. $ 9,998.00
Attitude is important, but knowing where to make an effort makes all the difference!
In the profession of interpreting, one is hired for attitude and skills, then those with the disciplined attitude improve skills for the rest of their professional career.”