Slate has a neat piece about simultaneous translation at the United Nations. I’m fascinated by translation, especially in super-high-stakes situations—nuclear treaty negotiations, for instance. It’s these supremely powerful dudes (mostly dudes) bargaining over matters existential, and yet, wow, those translators have a lot of power.
I gave a presentation at an advertising conference in Paris, and not only was I simultaneously translated into French—my translator was a woman! I realize this is totally normal, but it felt like a really low-key kind of cross-dressing. The presentation was—you will not find this surprising—all about the future, and full of invented neologisms. I said hi to my translator afterwards. She laughed and shook her head: “That was hard!”