The Voice

interpreting

Today is international translation day. On September 30th each year we celebrate the work of linguists all over the world who strive to break down communication barriers.

These celebrations aren’t confined to a single day, and last Friday the British Library hosted the International Translation Day symposium. Representatives of the British Centre for Literary Translation, the Translators’ Association, Literature Across Frontiers and Wales Literature Exchange gathered to discuss industry developments. Among the topics was continuing professional development for linguists, and that’s always something worth discussing.

There has been a lot of negative publicity around interpreting services in the UK in recent years. I’d like to assure readers that the expertise and commitment of interpreters in this country are beyond reproach. Every day Language Connect works with gifted professionals who constantly seek to improve their skills and add value for their clients. Constantly refining their understanding of technique and subject matter, because simply speaking a second language isn’t enough. Being bilingual doesn’t make you an interpreter, any more than passing your driving test makes you a Formula One driver. An interpreter will listen attentively, process language, understand its nuances, idioms and cultural quirks, then find and deliver precisely the right words in the target language, all in a fraction of a second.

They will use their expertise to communicate across any boundary. Earlier this month Language Connect was delighted to support the Tate Modern with an innovative performance featuring artists who perform as a dance partnership while in different countries.

Sister and brother Selma and Sofiane Ouissi use Skype to practice and perform “together”. Their work is a fascinating marriage of technology and human artistry.

Their performance at the Tate Modern, as part of the BMW Tate Series, concluded with a live question and answer session, accompanied by an interpreter. When artists invest so much of themselves into what they do, any explanation of it needs to be conveyed with the utmost accuracy. When the client confirmed that our interpreter had done this impeccably, keeping a cool head and paying close attention to detail, it made all the hard work worthwhile. By putting in the effort to understand the client’s needs and select the right person, we made a contribution and gave people their voice.

We’re in the business of bringing people together. Whether it’s a group of “C” level executives at an industry conference, a doctor and patient in an emergency room or artists seeking to share their vision with an audience, we believe in giving everyone a voice. When we celebrate international translation day we’re celebrating the talent and dedication of linguists all over the world who help us do that.

To all of them I say thank you and happy international translation day.

Amy Lovejoy