Last week, Senior Account Manager, Katie, and Project Manager, Nahid, were invited to the graduation ceremony for the 5th Saudi Station Management Commander course, held at the Fire Service College in the beautiful Cotswold countryside.
The Fire Service College (FSC) is an award-winning leader in fire and emergency response training and one of the world’s largest operation fire and rescue training facilities. The biggest challenge the college faces is being able to deliver fire training both in the classroom and outdoors in practical sessions to non-native English delegates – this is where Capita TI has been able to help, providing interpreting and translation services.
The first collaboration between Capita TI and the FSC was in 2013 when the first course was run for firefighters from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Since then, the relationship between the FSC and Capita TI has gone from strength to strength and several training courses now take place each year at the college for Arabic speaking delegates.
Capita TI manages the team of interpreters, as well as carrying out translations of promotional and training material.
Last week’s graduation ceremony was the culmination of 12 weeks of hard work for 104 learners and was attended by a number of high-profile visitors both from the Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia and the college itself.
Along with a group of the interpreters who had been integral to the delivery of the course, we were delighted to be invited to attend the ceremony and experience the unique blend of both UK and Saudi traditions coming together.
The ceremony was hosted by one of our very own interpreters, Kamal Omer, who had the rather challenging task at one stage in the proceedings of interpreting an old Classical Arabic poem which was recited by the Saudi Colonel with a mischievous glance at Kamal whilst doing so. We were told to think of Latin translated into Shakespearean English prose and that would come close to the complexity of the poem – we didn’t envy Kamal’s job at that point, and it made us think just how challenging interpreting can be at times!
During the ceremony, a 20 minute presentation was shown which had been created by a number of the learners. The video contained footage taken over the 12 week period, mainly during practical exercises out on the fire ground.
It was fascinating to get a glimpse of the interpreters in action, interpreting orders from instructors mid practical session, whether that was putting out fires or getting wet during river rescue exercises!
Something that came across clearly from our day at the College was just how integral the interpreters are to the successful delivery of the course, and just how much this is recognised and appreciated by the delegates, instructors and College staff. We received some lovely feedback from instructors saying that the interpreters were “spot on” and that the course could not have been delivered without them. Many of the delegates bought gifts for their interpreters as a thank you. One interpreter was particularly proud of the thoughtful gift he received from his group; a painting signed by the delegates with a message of thanks for his help.
Even whilst we were having lunch, the interpreters were never off duty, with one having to step in and explain to a rather hungry delegate who was heatedly speaking in Arabic to a member of the restaurant staff that lunch had, unfortunately, finished being served.
Whilst at the College, we also found some time to present the interpreters with their own certificates as a gesture of appreciation for their hard work during the course. We’re sure they will all agree that this has been a demanding, but successful project and we’re looking forward to the next one!