The Interpretation Service at UNOG is comprised of six language sections staffed by a total of 100 interpreters. Simultaneous interpretation is provided in the official languages of the Organization to an average of 2,700 meetings of United Nations Conferences and bodies per year at Geneva Headquarters and in the field.
What is a Conference Interpreter?
A conference interpreter is a professional language and communication expert who works in multilingual meetings and renders a message from one language into another, naturally and fluently, adopting the delivery, tone and convictions of the speaker.
The work of a conference interpreter is an oral intellectual exercise which is quite distinct from written translation and requires different training and qualifications. Interpreters’ work is subject to constant, immediate and very public scrutiny; no supervisory review or revision is possible before their “product” is delivered.
The ability to interpret is a skill many claim but few truly possess. Consider the process of simultaneous interpretation: interpreters listen to the speaker, understand the message and convert it into another language, speak to the delegates, monitor their output to ensure accurate and elegant delivery, all the while absorbing the next part of the speech. Consequently, they must exercise great concentration while working under constant pressure in order to maintain a high standard of split-second accuracy and be able to assimilate a broad range of subjects and specialized terminology.
International conferences are attended by people who not only speak different languages, but also come from different backgrounds and cultures, and so interpreters provide bridges between varying ways of thinking, attitudes and cultural approaches.
Adapted from AIIC and SCIC
How Do Interpreters Work at the United Nations?
How to Become an Interpreter ?