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Today, during my practising with UN Live TV, I encountered a problem. After the opening remarks of chair, an African speaker took the floor. I tried to cope with her English with French accent, then another matter came up. She mixed French,(which I guess to be name of some conference/treaty, because of"convention" in the beginning),in her English speech. With my poor French, it is impossible for me to manage. By the way, my language combination is A: Chinese, B: English.

Dear seniors, have you ever encountered similar situations? What is the tactics to deal with it? Thanks in advance. :-)

asked 11 Jan '13, 23:34

Paris%20Si%20de%20Chine's gravatar image

Paris Si de ...

edited 12 Jan '13, 01:34

After I read some questions/ answers about glossary preparation, I suppose some such terms might be covered by documents from clients or other sources of our own preparation. so I'd like to narrow the context of this question to completely unexpected situation. Thanks.

(12 Jan '13, 06:37) Paris Si de ...

Dear Paris,

In a completely unexpected situation where a language is used which you might not know, there are different possibilities:

1.) You don't know the language, however, it is a language covered by another booth. This must be recognised as soon as possible and you need to switch into another channel from which you may take relay. It is therefore extremely important to know the language combinations and the channel numbers of all other booths so you may switch channels immediately. Your booth mate should actually help you find the right channel AND listen into the original so he/she can signal to you when the speaker returns to the original language you know - so you may continue working from the floor channel.

2.) The speaker changes into a language which is not covered by any of the booths. In this case I would advise to let your listeners know that the speaker is using a language for which no interpretation is available during this conference but that you trust the meaning of the quotation/text will be explained later on. Meanwhile you may want to recommend your audience to take off at least one earpiece and listen to the beautiful sound and rhythm of the original language (especially when you suspect that it might be poem or piece of literature the speaker is quoting) ... or words to that effect.

Most often speakers will indeed explain later what they were saying. If not, the conference chair will advise them that there is no interpretation available for their language and will kindly ask them to return to one of the conference languages.

3.) Please be careful and do not interpret in case you do know the language spoken, which, however, is NOT an official language of the conference. One might be very tempted to do so, but it would actually mean that the language the speaker was originally supposed to speak cannot be covered during this spell. The only solution in this case would be for you to do consecutive on stage and your boothmate to step in for you in the booth. But you don't offer this service in the middle of a speech - it would have to be organised and discussed beforehand, to avoid chaos and confusion during the conference.

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answered 12 Jan '13, 07:46

AlmuteL's gravatar image


edited 13 Jan '13, 21:19

Dear Almute:

Thanks for your kind analysis and instruction of nice solutions, which are new and very practical to me. Best regards


(12 Jan '13, 08:14) Paris Si de ...
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question asked: 11 Jan '13, 23:34

question was seen: 6,375 times

last updated: 13 Jan '13, 21:19 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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