WiSEr and WISEr interpreters

If you are a fellow interpreter, I am sure you must have heard by now of the great WISE initiative. If that is not the case or if you are just curious to hear about its 6th edition in Valencia and see some pictures, keep on reading!

Group picture of Wise Valencia 2018

What is WISE?

Its acronym stands for Workshops on Interpreting Skills Exchange. This means in practice that you are not a mere student attending a CPD course in front of a trainer. On the contrary, a WISE participant is vital for the course to work properly: we are interpreters, but also speakers giving speeches, as well as listeners offering constructive feedback to the fellow colleagues of our booth.

Apart from practising with your standard combination, WISE is the perfect place where you can work from a passive language you don’t work so much with or improve your retour in a safe environment.

Participants’ age, experience and markets vary, and that’s exactly the beauty behind it. Some interpreters are more seasoned than others, which allow the former to give great tips and suggest original strategies based on their extensive experience. Yet, they can benefit at the same time from some younger colleagues, who have received more recent formal training, especially when it comes to note-taking in consecutive interpreting.


The bike-shirt man taking pictures during a sim session


Feedback after a sim session

Consecutive session

Consecutive session


Consecutive session


Feedback after consecutive session


Speaker plus listeners of different booths during the simultaneous session from English

Interpreting everywhere

Interpreting everywhere

The social secret

If this initiative does not sound original enough to you, then bear in mind that WISE is much more than attending interpreting sessions from Monday to Friday. The reason why the week is extremely intense and great is also because of its social component. Starting from the previous Sunday evening to the Saturday afterwards, WISE participants are traditionally having lunch, dinner, drinks and some tours together, in a very informal way. This means you leave your hotel after breakfast and might often directly come back at 1 am!

After going there dozens of times without a clue, Jose revelead to us Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias create a giant fish.

After going there dozens of times without a clue, Jose revelead to us that Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias creates a giant fish.

As suggested by the “beautiful minds” behind WISE, Jose Sentamans and Joe Burbidge, social activities are actually extremely useful for the interpreting sessions as well. As a matter of fact, giving feedback is so much easier and effective when interpreters know each other and there is trust. The same happens when you work in the booth with a colleague you have a great relationship with rather than with a person you don’t know yet.

Joe and Jose, WISE organizers… and, why not, a Spanish ham!

By the end of the week, there is a real group atmosphere and you’ll have had an amazing time even with people that you’ve not worked with during the sessions because of your language combination (e.g. the French booth in my case since I don’t speak French). Plus, it’s a great networking opportunity that will prove extremely useful when you’ll need to coordinate some interpreting assignments in different cities or countries and with different language pairs.

Final paella by the beach

How was WISE Valencia 2018?

WISE never disappoints. This was my third time and it keeps on getting better and better. This year was the only week organised in Valencia at Universidad Europea de Valencia and two more weeks are taking place in Brussels (20-24 and 27-31 August). We were five booths (Spanish, Italian, English, German and French) as usual.

It was actually the first time I tried the famous EYAWKANDA (Everything You Always Wanted to Know And Never Dared to Ask): everyone is in the sim room, where we run discussions about interpreting-related topics in a EU/UN-kind-of-way. This was done with “organised chaos” (in terms of who speaks, who listens, who interprets and whose relay you need!) and after a very-unmathematical votation led by Jose (see the first picture below).

Check the fractions of “a lot” and you’ll know which topics won at EYEWKANDA!

Organised chaos during EYEWKANDA

After recovering my strengths, I cannot but thank once again Jose and Joe for this amazing initiative, UEV for welcoming us and the entire team for the incredible time together. I am sure we’ll meet each other again soon in a booth or another! 😉

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