Tuesday, April 7, 2015
I was in Tokyo to work, and I did work quite a lot. There was a big meeting where all the groups in our huge research project had to report what we had achieved with all the money the government has given us. Lots of people from the funding agency were there to check what we had done.
I had to do a short presentation too. This was more difficult than it usually is. There were some invited research celebrities from abroad, and since they did not know Japanese there was an interpreter there who did simultaneous interpretation from Japanese to English while you spoke. She was sitting quite close to the speaker podium. As soon as I started speaking, she started speaking, but in English. That meant that 1) you constantly hear someone else talking while you are speaking which makes you want to stop and listen, and 2) you hear English while trying to speak Japanese, which makes your brain want to switch to English.
And it is just a bit surreal that I had to talk broken Japanese and then a Japanese woman translated this to English. I asked if I could speak English, but that was not allowed. (The reason was that there were only a few ear pieces to listen to the interpreter; enough for the foreign dignitaries, but not enough for the hundreds of Japanese that were in the room.)
After the presentations we got some light food as a reward for doing our jobs. It was good. The interpreter had only been hired to interpret during the presentations, so at the dinner party I did some interpretation so the guests at least got some sense of what all the speeches etc. were about.