As conference interpreters working in Asia since the 1990s, CIAP interpreters have experienced first-hand many of the developments in international diplomacy described in this interesting article,
Two Centuries of Diplomatic Interpreting: From Top Hat To Short Sleeves Diplomacy by Jesús Baigorri-Jalón.
More and more international conferences are held in Asia today, where our conference interpreters are called in to contribute to this “diplomacy by conference” in an increasingly complex and technical world, where experts take the floor just as often as diplomats, the Secretary General may welcome delegates via video-link, and NGOs with observer status are given so little time to voice civil society’s concerns that their statements are often read out at breakneck speed.
Professional conference interpreters in Asia, just like their counterparts based closer to UN headquarter cities like Geneva or New York, must master their art and be familiar with an ever-expanding range of technical topics and vocabulary.
As the author remarks, easier travel and communication in today’s world has led to the proliferation of high-level summits, with world leaders meeting face to face more than ever before. November 2014 was a case in point. The 26th APEC Summit kicked off in Beijing on November 10th, followed the next day by the ASEAN and East Asia Summits in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, then the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane, Australia on the 12th and 13th. More than one conference interpreter in Asia took to the skies, hopping from one summit to the next like the leaders they interpret!
Many clients and conference organisers are unaware that there is a community of experienced, high-level conference interpreters living and working in Asia. CIAP’s consultant interpreters can assist in identifying and recruiting these interpreters, forming the teams of conference interpreters whom you can trust to take on that “most urgent business [that] never appears on the agenda. That’s the task of turning what is said in one language into another language with a maximum of accuracy and a minimum of delay” *.
* White, Peter. T. (1955). The Interpreter: Linguist Plus Diplomat. New York Times, 6 November.