Language Links

13th November 2009

(Wood Type Collage #E by Green Chair Press)

How Interpretation Works at the United Nations

“U.N. interpreters don’t need to know every official language. Rather, the U.N. hires interpreters who can translate into their native language from at least two other languages. A Russian interpreter, for example, might also know English and French. But he might not know Chinese. In that case, if the speaker is Chinese, the interpreters will use what’s called a “relay system.” The interpreters in the Chinese booth will translate the original speech into English or French, and the rest of the interpreters will translate that version into their own languages.”

The Infinite Jest Vocabulary Glossary (via @beksandro):

Anechoic (an·e·cho·ic) — Neither having nor producing echoes.

Regarding “Hell for Leather”:

“Hell for leather, in American vernacular, refers to an arduous walk that may have been strewn with difficulties and was a strain on footwear.”

The nicest things anyone has ever said to Antonia:

“I wish you were my mum.”

4 thoughts on “Language Links

  1. Maureen

    I must say,listening to a simulatneous translation of a simulataneous translation must be interesting, if not accurate.

  2. Shana

    Wow. The U.N. translation thing makes sense, from an ease-and-personpower perspective, but have you ever heard or read the difference between a translation (always a certain amount of inaccuracy due to impossibility of exactly translating certain percentage of words or phrases) and a translation of a translation? International affairs seems a perilous place for that sort of squirreliness! Of course, maybe that explains some things…. :)

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