Thursday, September 10, 2009

Betty and Bright

Betty and Bright
Originally uploaded by theory27
Our CSC team has 6 interpreters dedicated to it. Each are twenty-something volunteers and University students or graduates. They work in exchange for a small stipend and the experience of translating and interpreting for foreign business people such as ourselves. For most of the interpreters, this is their first time interacting with a foreigner and their first time using their English name.

Two interpreters are assigned to our subteam. "Betty" and "Bright" have been as necessary as the oxygen we breathe over the past two-weeks. They have supported us through countless meetings, speeches and presentations to Presidents, Vice Presidents and Directors of Municipal organizations, Foreign Affairs Offices, Chambers of Commerce and Colleges in Sichuan Province. They have also helped us to navigate everything from the food we eat to the hotel room "air-co" to a visit to the local hospital (more on this one later).

Betty has a degree in English from a University in Xi'an. Bright is a double major studying Law and Translation. He is in his final year. His dream is to go to a world-renowned interpreter school following graduation. His top three choices are located in Monterey, California, London and Sydney.

Bright has been doing the majority of my translation. He and Betty work late hours and weekends to translate slide presentations to Simplified Chinese. In meetings, Bright will interpret my speech, the questions from our clients and my responses. During our first week, I let Bright know that I would be improvising rather than working from a script during a 25-slide presentation, he softly revealed in his British-English, "If you can help me contain the nervousness of my heart, I think I can do it." . As I am perfecting my timing of speech, he is perfecting interpretation of my IT terms and colloquialisms. We are becoming buddies and I think he is actually starting to understand my sense of humor -- go figure.


  1. Wow! Not only do you have a huge mission, you have communication hurdles, as well. I think you will be fine, though. You are so expressive with your gestures and expressions that they will know what you mean. I wonder if there is an English translation of "ya'll" into Chinese?

    Tell Betty that I spent a wonderful May Day in Xi'an about 13 years ago. Be sure and tell her about General Xi'an and that the farmer who discovered the terra cotta soldiers autographed my book. These are very special memories for me! Love, Mom

  2. Hi Tamara, wish Bright good luck in translating all of your puns.