The United Nations are the ultimate goal for professional interpreters at the peak of their career. Many linguists dream of translating speech for presidents and other prominent international personalities.
UN interpreters also have their fair share of fame in pop culture and the media. For example, their work is depicted in the movie “The Interpreter”, directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Nicole Kidman as the linguist.
However, being an interpreter for the United Nations is not an easy task, as simultaneous interpretation requires years of training and the capability to perform under great amounts of pressure.
In order to understand the work of a UN interpreter, we have to be aware of what simultaneous interpreting is.
Simultaneous interpreting is an oral translation mode first used during the Nuremberg trials in 1945. It consists of translating speech moments after it is uttered. The translated signal is then transmitted to the audience thanks to headsets. In the case of UN interpreters, they are always translating towards their mother tongue, in order to guarantee the best results in terms of fluency and accuracy.
The UN has 6 official working languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese. Resident interpreters usually work translating into these six languages. Sometimes, however, speakers at the UN do not use one of the official languages. In this case, the speech is first translated into English or French and then in every other language. This process is called relay interpreting.
There are around 120 interpreters working full-time for the UN. These professionals are considered the best at their job, and often work translating from, two, three, or even more different languages.
Find Out More
The field of interpreting is broad and as old as communication. Whether you are interested in interpreters throughout history, the technical evolution of interpreting from the Nuremberg trials until today’s remote simultaneous interpreting, or the difference between interpreting and translation, you can find various resources on our blog and online.
Here you can also watch UN interpreters talking about their job:
Langpros Simultaneous Interpreting
Langpros is a Dubai-based language service provider specializing in simultaneous interpreting and translation for high-profile events. Our professional trained interpreters already provided their expertise to contribute to the Pope’s visit to the UAE, Italian Deputy Prime Minister’s mission in Dubai, the Globe Soccer Awards, and more.
Do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website to find out more about our services, or write to us at [email protected], we will be happy to assist you and provide a free quote!