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What is the strangest/most impressive language combination you've seen in an interpreter?

asked 19 Jun '15, 15:08

Doda's gravatar image


I know an older colleague who, whenever I turn around, seems to have every language ever needed in the non-EU conferences I do - and then critiques the grammar in the Arabic texts of the upcoming speeches. That was pretty impressive.

I don't tend to run into anyone with truly strange combinations as they wouldn't work anywhere I do, though I know a Fr A En B colleague who also worked in the Chinese booth and wrote a Uighur dictionary. And a Chinese colleague who can work with Italian - though these are only strange combinations to English-centric ears. If you are a Russian speaker, of course there will be business opportunities with Chinese or Korean, whereas that combination may seem strange to an Anglophone.

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answered 22 Jun '15, 07:25

JuliaP's gravatar image


As Julia says, strange is a very subjective term. There are colleagues at the EU in Brussels who work from Finnish into Polish and some who work from Polish into Finnish. But these combinations are not unique to a single person, nor are they as strange to the Poles and Finns as they are to us! Several Estonian colleagues work from Finnish, again, wacky for us, an obvious and easy for them. There is also one Polish colleague who works from Basque into Polish. That part of her combination is very much unique!

As for most impressive, I think one should be careful. There are EU interpreters who do as many as 7 passive languages very well. But 'impressive' should be used to qualify quality, not quantity in interpreting - even if there is constant pressure in the EU to add more and more languages. Less too, can be more! And there are lots of interpreters out there who's work is impressive.

yours, a man with too few languages, but one 'strange' one ;)

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answered 22 Jun '15, 13:05

Andy's gravatar image


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question asked: 19 Jun '15, 15:08

question was seen: 4,157 times

last updated: 22 Jun '15, 13:05 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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