In the Life of a Spanish
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
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
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.