The part of the text containing the answer is underlined with the question number given in square brackets . If you still struggle with CAE Listening, please refer to Listening tips.
Interviewer: Charles, you’re retired now, but you actually designed some 600 household products, and all of them as an employee of a company. Did it ever frustrate you that you were making products without your name on?
Charles: It was standard practice. Besides, I needed a weekly pay check before I needed recognition. Nowadays, you can find designers’ names on products, but it tends to be high-profile people seeking attention. And then there’s celebrity endorsement and all that. People think that if they buy a soccer ball that has the name of some famous player on it, they’re going to score wonderful goals… a ploy to get you to buy products .
Interviewer: What advice do you have for young designers?
Charles: What they do will affect so many people during the lifetime of that product. That’s serious stuff. So the product should do what it’s supposed to do  and be pleasing to have in your environment. I tried to make things appear as if they just belong. They don’t need to scream. I don’t think a nutcracker needs to look like an elephant .
Man: Well, what a one-sided interview that was – and with one of my favourite actresses. She hardly got a look-in! Noone would’ve learned anything new about her, especially as it was the usual, tired stuff being put to her . When she did try to steer things in a different direction, the interviewer just ignored her and kept going on about himself.
Woman: There aren’t many really good interviewers, are there? The best ones really take on board what’s being said and follow it up. This guy showed no imagination at all, just covering old ground, and targeting obvious stuff. No wonder he couldn’t get interesting responses.
Man: And Celia could’ve told a few stories… she’s had a fascinating life. I know some film actors are perhaps a bit tricky – some seem afraid to be themselves, like they’re desperate to keep up their public image at all costs . And of course many actors are interviewed just after their last film’s been released, and are understandably keen to publicise it, but interviewers often concentrate on other superficial stuff. I love it when actors are challenged a bit, and the interviewer dares to deviate from the set script, putting them on the spot!
Man: Hmm, I must get down to some work.
Woman: Is getting started tricky for you?
Man: Well, it can take me a while to enter into a creative state, but once I’m there, I lose awareness of absolutely anything but the ideas flowing – don’t even perceive my fingers typing.
Man: Hm, and I’m then extremely resistant to interruption, so I’ll shout at anyone who knocks at my study door . My defensive reactions are subconscious, though, and usually I don’t even recall them. The family’s used to it and I’m certainly not upholding it as a model of good behaviour, but sometimes it’s necessary.
Woman: Yeah, once I’m immersed in creating something, I usually maintain that state until I complete the work. And I don’t even feel as if I am working. But if I look at the task ahead of me, all I tend to see is the effort involved!
Man: Right. And what about stuff you wrote ages back? Do you return to it for inspiration?
Woman: Well, I find I can’t always recreate the mindset I had during its creation, because inevitably I’ve since broadened my perspective on it . I can see why I used the inspiration I did, but obviously experience changes you.
Man: Yes… absolutely.
Janine Rogers: Hello, everyone. My name is Janine Rogers, and I’ve got what many people would regard as a dream job – I’m a chocolate taster! My route into the job came after graduation. As a qualified chemist , I was looking to specialise as a lab technician, but when nothing came up, I considered retraining as a chef. Then I spotted a vacancy in the company I’m in now – and that’s where my career started. Everyone has a very specific professional title, mine being Product Developer. It doesn’t cover everything I do, but it perfectly describes one aspect of the role.
My background has been a real asset to my work here. I’m currently creating the perfect fillings for our chocolates – at the moment it’s caramel. But last month I had to come up with a way of introducing bubbles into the chocolate mixture . It may sound trivial, but it’s what sells the chocolate! And I suspect only someone with my technical knowledge would’ve had the know-how to pull that off .
It may sound wonderful to work with chocolate all day, but it’s not exactly a simple substance to work with – I’d even go so far as to call it problematic . That’s because we’re using a blend of fat as well as cocoa, which means the approaches we use, and the time we spend blending it can be crucial.
A lot of variables can affect how chocolate tastes – it doesn’t naturally occur as the sweet-tasting confection we’re all familiar with. Things like the climate of the region where the beans are grown have an effect, as does the technique used for drying them and the amount of sugar we put in the chocolate .
I spend about 20% of my time actually tasting chocolate. But of course, the end result is all the work of a team. For example, the marketing team will come up with a concept for a new range – and it’s my job in Research and Development to bring that idea to life . Then we’ll make samples and test them on consumers.
After that we’ll speak to the engineers in manufacturing, and also the people in charge of packaging which, believe it or not, is an essential early stage . There’s no point in creating something that can’t be wrapped up and sold. Liquid chocolate is a good example – it’s delicious, but difficult to preserve in that state for sale.
We also rely heavily on advice from our legal team about the claims we make for our chocolate in our advertising. And we need to be aware whether we’re making something that’s not suitable for vegetarians, say, but we haven’t stated this in our labelling .
So what qualities are required in my job? Well, a curiosity about how things work and why, but above and beyond all else, you need initiative, and lots of it . There’ll be times when no-one’s giving you specific instructions and you need to get on by yourself. And of course, you need to love chocolate!
Click to download this CAE Listening Test in PDF