Well hidden, but very much present
Although most participants this year are delegates, a conference wouldn’t function without the help of people in shadows. Amongst them, are of course admins, translators, the press team, chairs, and the oft-overlooked interpreters, the object of this piece.
Surely one of the most complex roles, that of an interpreter seems however to be the most enriching. One must both listen and speak a foreign language simultaneously. Sounds simple? One of us here at the press room tried it out. He came back dazed : sentences pile up, and no one pauses even for second so you have time to translate.
For each committee, there are 2 to 4 interpreters ; vitally, they work in pairs. We met a duo of young women who were getting along wonderfully, and in their words : “without my partner I can’t do anything, we both have to concentrate on the task at hand, in case one of us is struggling.”
The next time you put on your earpiece, you’ll think of the people up in the shadows of the interpretation booth ; those without which you that flow of words in your ears would dry up.