I was supposed to have a peaceful week after the meeting in Yogya last week, but my boss asked me to act as an interpreter and accompany an American researcher to Banjarnegara and Wonosobo, two districts in Central Java.
The research was about how the teachers in the districts use teacher working groups as a tool for professional development and how the school management (school principal and school committee) and the district education office support the teachers' professional development.
It was my first time acting as an interpreter. Sometimes I did the simultaneous translation (translating while the people are talking), and some other time the post-talk translation (waiting for the people to finish the speech and then do the translation). Sounds easy, but it was exhausting as I had to stay focused on the flow of conversation.
Sometimes I did a slip, talking in Indonesian to the American researcher or talking in English to the Indonesian audience. Sometimes I had to ask the people to repeat or to clarify something. We went to schools in both urban area and rural area. The people sometimes incorporated Javanese words in their sentence. Sometimes I had to use Javanese word to put the question into a local context (thanking my Javanese roots).
Sometimes I had to act as a moderator of the FGD, because there was no one who would like to do the job. Other time, I had to give a statement to a local newspaper reporter about our activity, because the researcher refused to do so. Depending on the situation on site, I had to take a decision and execute quickly because we needed to get things done and moved to another appointment.
The people had been very kind to us. They would not let us too hungry, so there were snacks and food in every place we visited, and sometimes they packed the food for us.