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Coping


I remember a colleague in a big German city who claimed that interpreting for the institutions in Brussels should not be considered proper interpreting at all but is only coping. Because, you know, too many languages and nobody can master that and it is only a bluff and so on and so forth. I do not know if her statement was meant to discreetly indicate that she was sorry she herself had not passed the free-lance test neither for the SCIC1 nor for the European Parliament2, that she was sorry for never having realised that she need not have taken that test at all in the first place, as having worked for the CEDEFOP in Berlin before the then Cancellor Helmut Kohl gave it as a bribe / present to the Greeks in exchange for their vote in favour of Frankfurt as the seat for the ECB she was automatically on the accredited free-lancer's list anyway (I did not tell her that!) or that she was appalled at not even coping when working for the poor clients that gave her contracts and I will probably never find out. Never mind, I do not really care.

But it struck me that she used the term coping in English although she spoke German. Now, years later, I see that this is a pretty good indicator for the pertinence of the inclusion of this concept in this blog3. Because bewältigen is not the same, nor is afrontamiento, adaptación, respuesta and not even lidiar, although that comes close. Now, every time I hear the word coping I have to think of her and her not coping. I must admit I sometimes miss Berlin and its provintial narrow-mindedness. But there are some colleagues there I do not miss at al.

1
The Joint Interpretation Service for the Council and the Commission.
2 The EP
has its own interpretation service.
3 Of course it may also be that she used the word coping while speaking German just to show off.

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