• Sergey Solonskiy

Part 1. EU ambassador and the film festival

Now that I have finished some under-the-hood improvements on my website, it is time to start filling my blog with content again and tell you about a job in 2017 that I am most proud of.

Tomsk hosted a European film festival. On this occasion, we welcomed Markus Ederer, EU ambassador in Russia, and other wonderful guests that I had a privilege to work with.


For me, this day began with consecutive interpreting at the meeting of Sergey Zhvachkin, governor of the Tomsk region, and Markus Ederer. It is a rare occurrence in my practice when the interpreters could work in perfect conditions: I was translating the participants from our side, while the ambassador had his own translator. It is very convenient and improves the quality of interpretation, as in this case the interpreters know the mannerisms of their client, their favorite words and the range of possible discussion topics.

After such an invigorating and pleasant start, we moved to the studio of RIA Tomsk for a press conference where my job was to translate everybody but the ambassador.

Here, they introduced me to two charming ladies, whom I would be assisting from then on: Maximiliane Meissner, curator of KLIK, Amsterdam Animation Festival, and Riina Hyytia, producer from Finland.

After the press conference, I switched from the political to the cultural program.

We then moved to the local television studio where Riina Hyytia gave an interview and spoke about her film “Tatu and Patu”.

At seven o’clock in the evening, the film festival opened its doors. There were welcoming speeches from our esteemed guests headed by the ambassador, as well as the governor who surprised me when he had not made any pauses for me to interpret consecutively. What made the situation even funnier for me was that my notepad was on the other side of the stage, so running there was not an option, so I had to memorize his entire speech and then surprise the audience with a rather long interpretation from memory. Luckily, many of the figures, which Sergey Zhvachkin used in his speech, were well known to me.

The festival began with a series of short Dutch animation films, which immediately showed how different the level of self-censorship and the range of topics raised by filmmakers were in Russia and the Netherlands. In my opinion, this was a useful culture shock.

Then was the banquet, which I should tell you a bit more about. Before it began, I was asked if I could translate for a little longer (by that time I had been interpreting for over ten hours) since the interpreter of the ambassador could not attend the banquet for a reason I do not know. I gladly agreed. And this was when I played my humble part in establishing diplomatic relations. I interpreted the discussion between Sergey Zhvachkin and Markus Ederer, the contents of which I will not disclose for obvious reasons, but I managed to help establish good personal relationships and, among other things, agree on holding this festival again next year.

To be continued…

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