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  • Sergey Solonskiy

Whispers at the Roundtable


Interpreters must be prepared for all sorts of unexpected situations.

Sometimes you are hired to do one hour of consecutive interpretation at a roundtable discussion and end up doing simultaneous whispering for a distinguished guest.

This is exactly what happened to me recently. Tomsk was holding a conference of university cities. The event consisted of many meetings. I was to interpret at one of them. However, the organizers made a serious blunder, when they scheduled a roundtable discussion not even knowing who exactly was going to participate, and how many people would require translation. I had to improvise.

I can only hope that Philippe Ritter, Executive Director of Université Nice-Sophia-Antipolis found this event productive and useful. I certainly did not due to such organizational blunders.

Whispering is arguably the hardest form of interpretation when you have to do simultaneous interpretation without equipment (headphones, microphone and audio selector) and nobody to back you up (normally simultaneous interpreters take turns every 15-30 minutes due to extreme mental exertion).

Anyway, being a simultaneous interpreter, I did my job with total dedication, provided feedback to co-organizers and left for home with my head feeling as if it was full of lead.

The positive outcome of the event for me was that I met a colleague with whom we worked for an international company several years ago. Now he is the director of the venue.

It is always nice to see people progressing.


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