Working with an interpreter
There was to be an interpreter. I emailed a translator colleague (fully aware that interpreting and translating are not the same) for advice. She said "If they're keen to learn and have poor English your interpreter is key. So giving him or her a list of useful and unusual words and expressions would be a very good thing."
Also, and most usefully, she added "If it's a straightforward interpreting job, your talk would take twice as long as it normally would, assuming you don't use an interpreting booth with microphone and headphones. If you do use these, then I'd say calculate one-and-a-half times longer."
My audience was a group of teachers who now produce an educational magazine in Russian, Kazakh and English, and they were keen to learn everything they could about how things are done in Britain.
Working with an interpreter was weird to begin with. Masha had done her homework on the PowerPoint slides I had sent beforehand, so could rattle off translations of them at speed. When I was talking without notes I had only to draw the slightest breath and a stream of Russian emanated from the seat next to me. After a very short time I got into the rhythm of it, though it was difficult to hold a stream of thought at times.
Some of the audience wanted to try out their English when asking questions, and at one point Masha "translated" my reply into English, forgetting to switch languages.
The translator was right on her timing, it did all take twice as long as normal, but I couldn’t have had a more appreciative audience.
All this took place at the Holiday Inn Business Centre in Bloomsbury. The facilities were good and the grub even better. There was a posh coffee machine and biscuits, the usual range of fruity, herby and normal teas, not to mention a fruit bowl. Nuts and seeds (good for the brain), smoothies and croissants, and best of all, a freezer full of ice cream completed the nutritional line-up.