Sunday, 1 March 2009

Day 2 - Meeting the interpreters

Today’s Vietnamese word of the day is daam bee uht, which means good bye.

We spent our last morning wandering round the Old Town and visiting Ngoc Son Temple and its mythical turtles, before saying cheerio to Hanoi and catching the bus to Hai Phong. From what we’ve seen of Hai Phong, so far, it definitely has the feel of an industrial and busy port.

Within half an hour of arriving at the hotel, we were introduced to the local representative from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and our interpreters. Weirdly, of all the things we were going to be doing in Vietnam, this had been the thing I had been dreading the most. Like most people, I’ve never worked with an interpreter before and wasn’t really sure what to expect or how it would work. As many of you will know, I tend to talk at about a hundred miles an hour and can be quite banterful when I communicate. How was I going to be able to express myself without my personality and humour getting lost in translation?! I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised. After about an hour of conversation, which resembled something very similar to speed dating, we were each asked to select the English language student we would like to work with over the next month.

Tomorrow, we’ll be meeting our clients for the first time and I guess that will be the first test of team work for my interpreter, Dung, and I.

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