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A day in the life of an interpreter

Take a look below at two typical days – before and after RSI. Which one do you prefer? For both days there is a nice work-satisfaction, but life holds other aspects as well.

Interpreters live exciting lives. No two days are the same. They are always on the go and they are their own masters with a lot of freedom – and how about their life-work balance. 

Take a look below at two typical days – before and after RSI. How do they compare? For both days there is a nice work-satisfaction, but life holds other aspects as well. 



  • 4:30 The alarm goes. Breakfast. Bag packed. 
  • 5:00 No taxi, no Uber – some misunderstanding.
  • 5:20 Off – but late – traffic intense, in spite of early hours. The whole city seems to be going to the airport. 
  • 7:00 Airport, fast-track, slow security,  take-off, 90 minutes flying time – final preparations for today’s meeting.
  • 9:00 Uneventful transit from airport to conference center. In place at conference, hello to colleagues in other booths. 
  • 9:00-12.30 Busy conference, many presentations. Some have changed, since they were sent to the interpreters.
  • 12:30-13:30 Lunch break in conference site.
  • 14:00 Text from baby-sitter – suspicion of mumps (Concentration disturbed).
  • 17:00 Conference finished. Off to airport, fast-track, security.
  • 18:30 Flight cancelled. Waiting time. 
  • 20:30 New flight.
  • 23.30 Home – no mumps – just a virus. 
  • 00:30 Relax and finally to bed.


  • 7:00 Breakfast with family. 
  • 8:30 Getting ready for meeting, checking software and documents. Connecting with technicians and colleagues in other locations.  
  • 9:00 Meeting launched. Hiccups in technology. Problems solved within 20 seconds. 
  • 11:00 Meeting finished. Feedback from participants positive. 
  • 11:00-13:00 Preparation for next meeting. Administrative work, calendar, planning.
  • 13:00 Getting ready for meeting, checking soft-ware and documents. Connecting with colleagues in other locations and technicians.
  • 13:30 Meeting launched.
  • 14:00 Text from old client: emergency meeting called for 21:00. Yes, I am available. 
  • 16:30 Meeting finished.
  • 18:00 Homework with kids and dinner with family.
  • 23:00 Good night.


Jeannette Oersted

I'm Danish and after almost nine years in Basel, I moved back to my native Copenhagen in March 2017. I have a Masters in Translation and in Public Administration from Copenhagen Business School. 

All through my career I have worked actively with all aspects of the linguistic profession, teaching, translating, interpreting and  language management. I have always enjoyed sharing my experience and engage actively in a dialogue with my colleagues to develop the profession and enhance the status of language workers – and I look forward to continuing doing so via the Interprefy – blog.

Until October 2016, I was the Executive Director of FIT (Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs), the world federation of national translator and interpreter associations. 


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