Rome Seminar Day 1...
Today was the first day of my seminar in Rome. It started off bad and sort of went down from there :) Only kidding, everyone worked together hard to make it work.
When I arrived, I first asked to see the printed material - in Copenhagen they missed printing one of the sections. Well in Rome, we missed all of them! We arranged for a quick printing (and they were fast, by mid-morning that was corrected).
Then there was the sound system. It was being simultaneously translated (how UN like - little box off to the side with the translation team). They could not hear me however - lots of "echo". Not only that - but microphone after microphone would squeal, squeak and otherwise misbehave. They blamed my voice! Oh well - I think I used seven different microphones today - made a joke out of it.
Having the simultaneous translation was a bit strange. Apparently Italian takes 40% longer to say the same thing as you would in English. So, I was to speak slowly. I tried, but it was hard. Imagine adding 40% to the runtime of your long batch job - it'll never finish in the batch window. Well, I have two days of stuff to talk about. And at full speed, it takes - two days. I'll try not to miss the window - but who knows (I am exactly on schedule right now - if I skip one small section...)
Watching the translators was interesting. One of them just sat there and talked - arms at their side. The other one - she talked just like me - her arms were waving, hands gesturing - even though she wasn't addressing the audience. I talk with my arms - a lot, she was following that right along.
Also, the timing of jokes was way off. I would say something - and very much expect a chuckle. Nothing, nothing, nothing and then a bit of laughter. They were running behind by a second or two - very nerve wracking at first. But then I realized they were working very hard to either listen in English and translate themselves or listen to the translation where the words were coming out really really fast (that 40% thing).
By the middle of the day, I think we finally fell into a pattern - it started working.
But, I am more tired than usual. The microphone problems really caused some stress up there - any sudden movement and "squeal". They would switch a lapel microphone with a handheld (ever tried to type standing up with the keyboard on a low table, holding something in one hand?).
Tomorrow the sound people promise a better day. I'm getting a Madonna microphone - wrapped about the head. I can hardly wait... :)
It is fun still.
The Internet connection in my hotel is very limited. Wireless only in the lounge. I wonder what the Italian guys in the lounge are thinking of the guy in the corner sitting cross legged on the sofa without shoes and typing away is all about... I bought my six hours of online time, I'm going to use it.