- Teri Gault
- September, 28 2007
- Comments Off
Just got in from London and Paris… 13 day press trip. It was a great trip for TheGroceryGame.com. In Paris, I had hired a translator for my press interviews, but I had 7 years of French in school, and I brushed up with a textbook and CD set the month before I left. So… I started out just greeting in French, doing some small talk, but using my translator for most of the meat of the interviews.
After the first meeting, my translator encouraged me, telling me that my French was really good, and that the reporters liked it, and that I should try to do more myself. So eventually, ended up doing about 75% of my interviews myself in French. As I got bolder, it was even better, because we had some good times laughing at some of my funny mistakes in French. In one meeting, I said that I started shopping with coupons when I was 2 years old. But I caught myself and we laughed (I was 12 years old). And if you know French, 2 and 12 can sound alot alike.
The French love it if you have worked on French, and they know you are trying. My advice however, for business, is that you should have at least 2 years of study (and definitely have a good translator). Even though my grammar is lacking, and I have trouble conjugating verbs, I have a decent accent. And even though clearly, I am an American, speaking French, they were very kind and encouraging to me.
On my last day of press interviews, we would have light discussion, meet and greet sort of, then decide, do we want to go forward in English or French, as they always spoke a little English too, some very well in fact. Most reporters preferred me to struggle through with my French, while my translator, just sort of corrected me now and then, or helped me to formulate a complex thought. Or when the reporter would rattle off a question, I would turn to my translator like a deer in the headlights, and say, “What?”. We would all laugh. It was sort of like riding a wild bronc! It was VERY fun!