It has been a while since you last heard from me, and that is because I have been in Germersheim (Germany) to attend a course (specifically for conference interpreters) to add German as a C-language. I had been working from German for a while (for example at Europol and EWC meetings), but didn’t feel confident enough to officially add it to my CV, so when a colleague and I learned about the course, we immediately signed up. I can tell you: it’s been hard work, but very worthwhile! We now really feel that our knowledge of the German language is good enough to use it as a (passive) working language. We also realised that our active knowledge of German is still far from perfect, but well… we never intended to use German as an active (B) language anyway, so I can live with that ;-).
Fortunately, the course wasn’t all work and no play. Germersheim is located in the Pfalz region, which is known for its good wines, so the faculty (which is part of the University of Mainz) had organised a wine tasting evening, as well as a traditional German ‘Kneibenabend’, which… also involves alcohol, so you get the idea. On the weekend, we visited the beautiful towns of Heidelberg, Speyer and Neustadt with the other ‘students’ (a UN staff interpreter from Geneva, a few EU-interpreters, and a number of interpreters working on the private market, all from different countries, including China). All in all, I couldn’t have wished for a better way to formally add German as a C-language!