Services | 01.03.2010

Interpreters out of the picture

The Climate Change Conference in December 2009 was an event of huge political significance, bringing together representatives from more than 190 countries from around the world. With such an international delegate list, it is no surprise that an army of interpreters were required to aid communication between leaders from all four corners of the globe. Yet, when we examine the media coverage of the event, the interpreters were all but invisible, very rarely even appearing in photographs of the conference. For a month the eyes of the world’s media were on the Danish capital and the key speeches reported on in countless languages. British newspapers quoted politicians as if they had all spoken English, in France it was reported as if they had all spoken French and Japanese journalists gave quotes from politicians in Japanese. This is by no means an uncommon practice as very rarely do publications give credit to the interpreters who provide the translations.

The role of interpreters in high profile organisations such as the United Nations and in matters of international diplomacy is better recognised. The 2005 film “The Interpreter” brought the profession to Hollywood and offered a glimpse into the demanding nature of the job. Of course, not all interpreters are employed to relay information in political negotiations; the majority are found dealing with immigration, health or legal matters for private individuals or representing companies as they conduct business with overseas markets. However, the subject knowledge or language skills of these ‘behind-the-scenes’ interpreters is not be underestimated. Whether in the European Parliament, or in a doctor’s surgery in the UK, it is essential for a good interpreter to not only have an accurate understanding of the situation, but also the ability to relay crucial information without bias.

The Translation People work with a reliable network of professional interpreters and can provide interpreting services in all major language combinations, including community languages spoken in the UK. Whether you are hosting an international conference or an informal meeting, our interpreters can ensure that language barriers do not prevent your message from being understood.


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