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IN THE LIFE OF A SPANISH INTERPRETER 

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In the Life of a Spanish Interpreter

 

March 2012

 

I love my profession—part academic, big-time researcher and actor. As a generalist in Spanish Interpretation and Translation I’m always dealing with new subject matter in the fields of, law, medicine, art, politics and finance. 

Maritime cases are a specialty of mine since very few interpreters have the expertise to take them on. I’ve travelled as far as Puerto Ordaz in the Amazon, just before Chavez made his final and successful bid for power in Venezuela to interpret for depositions. 

The early negotiations between The Guggenheim Museum and the Spanish government before breaking ground for the now famous Frank Gehry designed museum in Bilbao took me to Spain 1992. My B.F.A. in Graphic Arts & Illustration came in handy for that adventure. 

This past year interesting assignments have involved simultaneous interpretation for two governors elect of various Mexican states at the legendary Hispanic Society/Council of the Americas right around the corner from my home here on the Upper East Side in New York; an arbitration on oil spill remediation in Colombia; and several translations requiring an in-depth knowledge of letters rogatory and Mexican trusts to mention a few. I find translation serves as the interpreters’ laboratory. That’s when we have an opportunity to do the kind of in-depth research that builds a knowledge base for the instantaneous performance demands of conference and court interpreting. 

Part of the expected is the “unexpected”. I was called upon with a moment’s notice to interpret live feeds from Chile during their devastating earthquake a couple of years ago, and before that the so-called “Chilean Grape Crisis”. Prior to that I re-created Dan Rather’s interview with the father of Ilian Gonzalez and then acted the part of Mr. Gonzalez. I note to my credit that I refused to do it with a Cuban accent as was originally requested out of respect for Mr. Gonzalez. It was a big hit—mid-western accent and all. 

Look for more anecdotes from my quarter century of experience in future posts.

This is the first in a series of recountings that are planned for a soon to appear blog on the subject of Spanish Conference and Court Interpreting.

©Nicholas Luttinger 2012.

 

 

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