Narrator: 00:00 Hello and thank you for listening to Subject to Interpretation hosted by Agustin de lal Mora. My name is Claudia. And my name’s Kayla, and we are the producers of this program. Before we get into today’s interview with special guests Darinka Mangino, who is a conference interpreter and has also gone viral on Facebook for her amazing long consecutive ability, we wanted to bring you the latest announcements from de la Mora Interpreter Training. If you found us on Facebook, we’d like to remind you that you may download us directly to your phone wherever podcasts are available. Now onto some more exciting news. The time is almost here for our annual Finding the Parallels summit, beginning November ninth with our welcome reception, which by the way, is free to the public. This reception will include a panel with surprise guests, food, and drinks. So come out that Friday and learn more about the world of interpretation or bring a friend with you, someone who may be interested.
Narrator:: 01:00 Yes. And following the reception on November 10th and 11th is the Skill Building Workshop where you will attend seminars hosted by certified professionals and network with colleagues in both the legal and medical fields. You don’t want to miss this, and all the details will be in the description bar below. Now stay tuned for next week’s podcast featuring Robert Cruz, who is the executive director of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators. Better known as NAJIT. Yes, we appreciate all of you guys for listening in. We pride ourselves on being one of the very few podcasts for professional interpreters out there, so please share us with your colleagues. We would love to hear your feedback and questions and beginning next week we will be answering your frequently asked questions here live on the podcast. So please feel free to contact our office and you’re most likely speak to one of us. Until next week. Now enjoy the interview with Darinka Mangino. Goodbye!
Agustin: 02:03 Welcome to Subject to Interpretation. I am your host, Agustin de la Mora, and I am in Mexico City and I have the pleasure to introduce to you one of the most renowned and well-known interpreters in Mexico and her name is Darinka Mangino, and she’s right here with me, and without further ado, I’ll let her introduce herself. So good morning.
Darinka: 02:27 Good morning everyone. Thank you, Agustin, for this kind invitation. I’m very happy to be here with you and share a little bit about my story with all of the members of your school. And by the way, I love the name Subject to Interpretation.
Agustin: 02:42 Yeah, it’s wonderful. It fits like a glove, I think. So tell us a little bit about yourself. What area or areas of interpretation do you specialize in?
Darinka: 02:55 I’m basically a diplomatic interpreter and uh, I specialize in a way, in court interpreting because it is a new field in Mexico, but I basically teach it and research about it.
Agustin: 03:11 So when you say diplomatic interpretation. Tell us a little bit about what that entails.
Darinka: 03:15 Oh, that could take us a long time, but in a nutshell, we help leaders, in this particular case the president of Mexico and his cabinet, when they meet with their counterparts, presidents who come and visit, prime ministers, kings, queens, members of the clergy, you name it. Everyone who has a special function, and when they come to to visit our country in an official visit or a working visit, there are interpreters present. In my case, I am part of the English Spanish team. I also interpret from French, but basically my combination is Spanish and English. And well, in this day and age, most people speak English even when they have a different national language.
Darinka: 04:03 They rather, when they’re in a group of people where there are several languages spoken, English is the preferred language, we could say that it’s a Lingua Franca of diplomatic exchanges.
Agustin: 04:15 Which is a change, isn’t it? Because wasn’t French, in the past, considered a diplomatic language, and I guess English took it over?
Darinka: 04:24 Yeah. It took over and well, a special variety of English, we could say is a global English, like the Eur-English that they had in the European Union, I don’t know what they’re going to do now when they’re going to take English out of the mix, but, but yes, English is widely spoken.
Agustin: 04:42 So that sounds very interesting. So you have been present in some negotiations you probably can’t tell us about or you would have to kill us after, right?
Darinka: 04:52 Haha, that used to happen in the past. Very long time ago! But, uh, yes, uh, I’ve had the honor and the privilege of being the personal interpreter so far for two presidents of Mexico and several secretaries. So yes, there are a variety of settings where we helped them by being their voice in English and it could be when they come and uh, as I said, paying official visit, when they have working meetings where they talk over the phone, when the presidents and secretaries travel to other countries and well they, they have meetings and they are also taken to wonderful places that not many people have the privilege to witness with their own eyes. So I’ve been in beautiful locations as an interpreter. Otherwise, I would never have been there.
Agustin: 05:44 That’s wonderful. I was wondering if you get to travel sometimes to these exotic locations as an interpreter for the presidents?
Darinka: 05:54 We do, we do. We travel a lot. It depends on how busy their international agenda is, but they’re usually, let’s say throughout the year specific, uh, for uh, specific meetings that they all attend starts in February with the World Economic Forum. It might be, I can’t remember the exact month of the year where APEC takes place, but there are meetings where you have a group of countries meeting and some countries like Mexico that we’re invited to be part of their talk. So, there’s a lot, a lot going on, on an average year, and of course, countries invite other presidents to visit them and it depends on how many, how many visits they have planned. And uh, well we’re so close to the United States. So there is a lot of interaction with the, with your country and, yes, I travel a lot to very remote places.
Agustin: 06:53 That’s awesome. How did that– tell us a little bit how did Darinka become an interpreter for such important people? Did you like, when you were nine years old, like when I was nine years old, I wanted to be a of course, a firefighter or something like that, but did you wake up one day and say, I really want to be an interpreter? Because I have to tell you, I never thought I was going to be an interpreter. I didn’t grow up thinking I was going to be an interpreter. I ended up one. So how did it happen to you?
Darinka: 07:20 It happened, in a way, very similar to your story. When I was, it was not when I was nine, but I remember that moment, the moment I could speak, I knew that I wanted to be an astronaut and most of my life, I was serious about it and I wanted to study science and I wanted to do whatever it took to become an astronaut. But back then, Mexico didn’t have a space program. So if I wanted to follow that path I would have had to study abroad, and everything got complicated along the way. I tried hard. I wrote to NASA, I got all the information that any little girl that asks for information would get. So I got what it, uh, what I needed back then to decide, where to study it, but everything was a roadblock on that, uh, on that particular path.
Darinka: 08:08 So when the time came to decide to join that university, well, I just had no options and my family was very worried because I was a good student. I was good for, for many, many subjects. Math was not an issue while I want it to be a scientist. So yeah. Yeah. So, so it coincided that I was the family’s interpreter. And uh, back then I lived in a little town in Hidalgo, and I was the only person who could speak English, and where my mother used to work, they needed a translator. So I was, I believe 16 or 17 and I got to translate four or five books about hunting reserve. So yeah. Yeah. So after that I became a vegetarian, but that’s a, that’s a different story.
Darinka: 08:56 That’s a different story. But I got myself into translation without noticing that that was a profession. So then my grandmother met the accountant, of the school here name, uh, in Mexico City, The Institut, so it has the same name as the school that you would find in Paris. But, uh, then she told me, well, I know that we haven’t found the best career for you, but in the meantime, why don’t you visit this school, I think you will like languages. I think they have something similar to what you do with your mom, translating. So I said, okay, let’s give it a try because I, I wanted and I needed to be part of a, of a program. I just wanted to be in, in a, in a university. So the moment that I got to the school, I decided, okay, I’m going to be a translator, but I didn’t know what interpreting was until the first day where we were sent to the interpreting booth for practice, I realized that I was born to be an interpreter. I just knew it. And uh, I loved it. I forgot about my career as an astronaut and I was very, I abandoned space. But I, I didn’t know back then that I would be surrounded by stars later on in life. So yes, I got close to that, that particular dream, and uh, I loved the feeling of being in the booth as a student, and I also loved the feeling of doing consecutive interpretation and I, I was very good at it. I learned how to do it. So that helped me later on in life because as a diplomatic interpreter, we do use consecutive, and we use consecutive as it was used in the old days so it’s long, very long. And I felt very comfortable about it and in my carrier I’ve run into situations where I was the youngest in many groups of interpreters and when they, the chief interpreter or the person coordinating the, the event, they would say we need a consecutive interpreter. And I was the only one with my hand up. So people started realizing that I enjoyed it. I was good at it. And in diplomatic interpreting, part of the profile of the job description actually is to perform consecutive interpretations so that automatically, well, that segued my way into diplomatic interpreting, because when there was a need for one new member of the team that would accompany presidents, well, my name came up. I took a test and it’s been eight years.
Darinka: 11:39 So you took the test here in Mexico? (Yes, yes.) And who does that testing? Is it the Department of State or..?
Darinka: 11:44 No, in Mexico, it’s different. It, uh, that job is outsourced. So the, there’s a company that, well, for over 70 years has had that contract and they’re very good at what they do. They’re very experienced in diplomatic interpreting. So, basically, it was with them.
Agustin: 12:08 So you took at test to become, what do they call it, certified, licensed, expert, king of the world, king of the universe, what is the designation?
Darinka: 12:19 Well, I don’t think it has a test. It was a test made by the actual government because when they send out a bid, they ask the companies, well, tons of requirements. They have to present many, many, many papers to confirm that they have everything in place. And in that particular occasion when the bid was out for that administration, a test was made by the, by the government and all the, all the contractors had to bring their own interpreters and we were all tested.
Agustin: 12:49 So that was for that specific function, not like a universal test?
Darinka: 12:54 No, no, no, no. For that specific function for the bid that was sent out.
Agustin: 12:58 So what was your first job as a diplomatic interpreter?
Darinka: 13:02 I remember it was for President Calderon, when Joe Biden came. It was, it must have been in the last 18 months of his administration. So there was an official visit and uh, I remember that it was, yes, it took place at Los Pinos and I was of course terrified because, uh, he’s very, well, Joe Biden is very clever when he speaks, he’s, he inserts a bit of humor. So I knew it was going to be a hard to handle the situation, yes. But it all went good.
Agustin: 13:40 And when they started using puns or sayings, that makes it a little bit more complicated. So not everybody knows what Los Pinos is, so could you tell us what Los Pinos is? I know that the pines, but what is Los Pinos?
Darinka: 13:56 Los Pinos is the official residence for the presidents and they have a house there and they have offices. So, so it’s usually, well it used to be the Castillo Chapultepec during the period of years where the presidents used to live, but then they changed it to Los Pinos and so it’s right in the middle of Chapultepec Park. It’s a beautiful place. And uh, yeah, they, they have some buildings set for offices and for the residents.
Agustin: 14:29 So Joe Biden gets here and Darinka is the official interpreter. Did you–do you work in teams? Were you the only interpreter?
Darinka: 14:36 No, no, no, no. I was part of a team, so usually we’re, we, we take turns. When we travel, sometimes we travel in teams of two or three, but back then it was only two of us.
Agustin: 14:53 Now how does it work? Does it, do you interpret only from Spanish into English and then an American hired interpreter goes from English into Spanish, or do you guys flip a coin? How does that work?
Darinka: 15:07 That’s a good question. I take all those things for granted because that’s what we do every day, so usually presidents or the principle in a meeting they, usually, people travel with their own interpreters, so in my case I would be the voice of Mexico into English, or any other member of the team. Or if the president of France comes, we would have a French interpreter or a German interpreter, so there’s always an interpreter assigned to Mexico, to the president and members of his cabinet. And you would have another interpreter from the visiting country and we take turns. They’re the voice of their president and we are the voice of our president.
Agustin: 15:51 So usually you go in one direction only, in those kinds of meetings?
Darinka: 15:55 If there are two interpreters present, yes, but sometimes only one side has an interpreter there to help, and we do both. But in official visits, usually teams of interpreters come along with their presidents.
Agustin: 16:13 And I’ve noticed, I think, at least once, that some of the Mexican presidents still use interpreters, even though they might be completely fluent in English. They still use us. So you see people? We will be used even when we are supposedly not needed, right?
Darinka: 16:29 Yes, exactly. We as diplomatic interpreters are there to ensure that communication flows without any misunderstanding, without any mistake, which is, how can I say this? It’s almost impossible, because in human communication, misunderstandings are common and uh, people think they said one thing, but they, what they thought was not what they said. So it’s, it’s human to communicate and misunderstandings happen along the way. So it is a lot of–it’s a huge responsibility. So we are there to ensure that there are no misunderstandings.
Agustin: 17:11 Do you do more long consecutive, do you do simultaneous, and when you do simultaneous do you use equipment or how does that work?
Darinka: 17:18 We use all of the known modes of interpreting. When there is a one on one meeting for example, and there’s only the two presidents having a conversation, we don’t use the equipment. We would use whispering or consecutive if, if we’re needed, because as you said, many people speak English fluently and we’re just there as a backup or if they want to consult, what is the best way to say this or that, especially for puns and sayings. In Mexico, we use a lot of sayings and idioms, so that’s when they would consult us as well. But if there is a large meeting where you have the president and the whole cabinet, of course, you will have a long table, and whispering doesn’t work. So in that case you would see the normal setup a booth and everybody, if they need interpretation services, they would use the headset, and during in a dinner for example, or a lunch, they would make a toast. So basically that’s when we would use long, long consecutive or when they are addressing a large stadium, for example, or in the Zocalo, for example. I haven’t interpreted in consecutive in the Zocalo, now that I think about it, but that’s the image that comes to mind in the main square, you have many, many people, thousands of people, and that would be impossible to give each one of them a headset. So. So yeah. The three modes of interpreting are used.
Agustin: 18:51 So now, let me backtrack a little bit because you told us that you studied here in Mexico, but it was my understanding you studied interpretation somewhere else, is that true?
Darinka: 18:59 Yes. Yes. I studied. I, I hold two master’s, one in forensic linguistics from Aston University in Birmingham, in the UK, and I’m also a trainer of interpreters. So the only program that I could find that actually is the best program available for training interpreters is the one offered by the University of Geneva. And uh, and that’s where I studied.
Agustin: 19:25 And that university in Geneva, is that a masters degree or. is it–
Darinka: 19:28 Yes, yes. All of the programs they offer are master’s degrees, and I do think they have some courses, but uh, it’s usually graduate studies.
Agustin: 19:37 Wow. So you’re probably– I’ll be honest, I’ve been training interpreters for a while, but I don’t know a lot of people that can say they went to a master’s degree on how to train interpreters. So how did you find that program? Did you just go on the Internet and say where do I get training to train?
Darinka: 19:57 That’s right. And that that’s very true. It’s, it’s actually a new, uh, a new area of study. Well, we’re very young profession. So it’s conference interpreting is like, if I’m not doing the math wrong, 70, 63 years old, I guess well, let’s see, let’s round it up, 70 years old. So as you can imagine, programs are new, uh, to study a phD for example, is a new thing as well in interpreting. So I just asked around and I wanted to study because as a trainer you might have experiences. You start asking questions, why are students doing this, why are students doing that? And we need some theory to explain that. And uh, I went to the Internet and started asking where do interpreters, go to study to teach, and uh, that’s how I got to, to this program.
Agustin: 20:57 How long did you stay there at Geneva?
Darinka: 20:58 Oh, it was an online program and that’s also changing. Yes, that’s also changing. So I only had to be there for a couple of weeks and uh, and everything was, was delivered online. It was a nice experience.
Agustin: 21:13 So it actually helped you use technology remotely as an interpreter and a trainer.
Darinka: 21:19 Exactly, because that is changing. The way we work and the technologies that we use are changing. So studying online can be a nice way to step your foot in the door of remote interpreting, for example.
Agustin: 21:33 And you no longer have to travel to Geneva, which would be a little bit more expensive than taking it online, especially if you if you have to be there for a couple of years.
Darinka: 21:40 Exactly, exactly. And uh, as a practicing interpreter, I just couldn’t take two years of my life so that, well my life as an interpreter because, yeah, exactly. So that was a good way to study and continue doing my job. And uh, I got uh, I got a lot of support from the agency that I was working, well, and I actually got a grant to study that masters.
Agustin: 22:09 Oh wow, do you have any other grants, or any tips on how to get grants?
Darinka: 22:10 Yes, well, you can apply. Yes, of course! The Fondazione Italiana usually has very interesting support programs. So that’s how I got that partial grant to study.
Agustin: 22:28 So you mentioned also that you do, now, legal interpretation. Is that here in Mexico? And tell us a little bit about the evolution of legal interpreting here in Mexico.
Darinka: 22:38 It’s a new field. It started in the year 2011 under President Fox. They started changing the way criminal justice is administered in Mexico. So it took a long time to change the code of criminal procedures, to change the constitution, to have all the changes implemented, to have a system that is similar to what you see in your court. So now Mexican, Mexican courts follow a system that is a combination of the British system, the Chilean system, the German system, and the American system, so it’s Frankenstein!
Agustin: 23:24 It’s a Frankenstein system, that’s a good way of putting it! And clarify a little bit for us, because of course for us, we live in the States, we have heard it’s the Mexican system or maybe the Argentinian or Chilean. It’s modeled after the US, but it’s kind of sort of, but not exactly. For instance, do they have jurors here?
Darinka: 23:36 That’s right. No, well we don’t have a jury. We have a panel of three judges. That was the final decision after they considered many, many, many different options. So we don’t have a jury, but there, there is a judge, the presiding judge and a panel of two for specific cases. But the main difference between your system and the one we used to have is that, uh, we, we would file a lot of documents. So everything would have to be taken to the judge, and probably defendants would never have to see the judge. So it was an inquisitorial system, that’s how they call it. And it was a combination of a, of a little bit of Roman law and uh, an adaptation of certain laws that came from Spain back in, well, way back, back in the day. Exactly. So we used to have a system that didn’t work very well, so it’s changed and starting in July, 2006, every state in Mexico, now it’s compulsory that they use open hearings. And it might sound obvious for you because you had that system for, forever. So for us it’s new to go to court and be able to just go to court and just enter any of the, of the court rooms that have a public hearing, and people can witness what’s, what is happening. (And is that in criminal and civil law?) It’s mostly criminal.
Agustin: 25:10 So if we bring a bunch of interpreters from the U.S. You’ll invite us one day to go over and sit in a courtroom and we could watch justice being dispensed?
Darinka: 25:19 Exactly. So that’s what got me interested in forensic linguistics because as an interpreter, I knew that we were going to be called and there would eventually be a need for interpreters in the new system because before, translators did most of the work through documents. So I said, well, I need to learn how to train interpreters to perform as professionals because we’re going to be needed at court. And so far I’ve been on the list that the Mexico City Court has and I’ve been called to court two times. So that’s how busy courts are for interpreters. Two times in five years.
Agustin: 26:01 So that means that there’s not a lot of people that require interpreters here in Mexico?
Darinka: 26:06 Not in the languages that, that, uh, yes, I have in my combination, but to consider we have in Mexico 69 in indigenous languages and there’s a large deaf population. So it was sign language interpreters are needed and indigenous languages interpreters are needed, but not many. Well, if I would live in Cancun for example, that would be a, a busy place for interpreters because a lot of tourists, yes, those spring breakers get into trouble. But um, but not in Mexico City,
Agustin: 26:39 So, it was very interesting that you said indigenous languages because more and more in the United States, they’re starting to realize that indigenous languages are different languages, that you were born in Oaxaca, Mexico, that doesn’t mean that you speak Spanish, and in fact, some people might speak very little or no Spanish, and those are the people that you say need services here in Mexico.
Darinka: 27:02 Exactly. And what happens is that, uh, in some cases, in some parts of Mexico, they migrate to the United States and you might find communities that speak English and the indigenous language and they don’t speak Spanish. So when they come back they are in trouble. They run into trouble themselves.
Agustin: 27:25 We’re also finding some people and I have been called more than once to court when the person is from Mexico and they immediately assumed they speak Spanish, and they struggled to say a few words in Spanish, but they don’t speak Spanish. And it’s an interesting challenge for us to find somebody who speaks enough of that indigenous language and English to be a court interpreter. So I’ve been part of at least two occasions where we actually did relay interpreting, and we went from, I think it was Hmong, to Spanish, to English, back to Spanish and back to Hmong. It was taxing and I’m hoping it was pretty good. But we couldn’t find anybody that could do Hmong to English directly. (Wow.) So 69, you said, indigenous languages are recognized here?
Darinka: 28:19 Yes, 69, they call it linguistic families, so that, if you add to that, the local variations of that specific language, I think it’s around 400, but the main languages are 69.
Agustin: 28:33 And when you became, or started working for the courts here in Mexico, did you have to take a certification exam, or call the expert witness, or what did they consider you?
Darinka: 28:46 We’re called Peritos, which I believe it’s the closest equivalent to expert and expert witnesses. So yes, every state has its own legislation in terms of how they’re going to add you to the list, but usually you have to take an exam. So you take the exam, if you pass it, your name appears on the list and we have the same system for, well, here in Mexico we have federal courts and state courts. So they have their own system as well for federal courts.
Agustin: 29:16 And the courts that you go to, to work, are they state courts or federal courts?
Darinka: 29:21 State.
Agustin: 29:21 And this was here in Mexico City?
Darinka: 29:22 Yes. It is interesting. Interesting.
Agustin: 29:25 So then tell us about, you becoming a YouTube sensation, because that’s–many of my colleagues were talking about. Oh Darinka’s video! So, tell us what was going on there?
Darinka: 29:38 Well, it was a video when Noam Chomsky came for a conference at the UNAM University, and before the large conference where they talked about it, I think it was the name was Civilization Under Siege. So it was very close from the moment when Trump wanted to build the wall. So many, many thinkers decided that it was time to talk about it, about the state of civilization in general, as a way to counteract that kind of, of rhetoric. So they met here in Mexico, and Noam Chomsky came, and he was interviewed by the media. Every newspaper was there. So I was asked to do consecutive, and it was one of my best consecutives ever, that was broadcasted live, and a colleague, decided to share it on Facebook and it went viral. But uh, it was, you can imagine having someone of his stature there and having the honor to be his voice specifically speaking about a very important topic that many people react to. And I mean he’s one of the brightest minds that, that we have had in the world. And, and I was next to him.
Agustin: 31:05 Like you said, surrounded by stars, right? So you were aware that they were filming and broadcasting live. Did you get nervous or by then you were used to it?
Darinka: 31:22 I am used to controlling the way my body reacts to stress. And uh, well when I told you about how I wanted to be an astronaut, at one point in my life, I used to be a track and run athlete. So I, when we were on, on the tracks waiting for the signal, when they, they–they shoot a gun, so that was a very good way for me to train my body to control, well, the signals of stress, because a stage fright is real. And I do get nervous, of course, but I’ve managed to make that more of an adrenaline rush than a situation where I panic. So, so that, that helped back in, in my teenage years.
Agustin: 32:18 Right, and tell us a little bit about that because I hadn’t even thought about it, but obviously if you’re in negotiations of any kind, you really can’t show a reaction to what anybody’s saying, as to maybe roll your eyes, or act surprised. So, do you train to be poker faced when you’re in these situations?
Darinka: 32:35 Well, I think I didn’t have to train myself that much because there, well, your audience is not, uh, not present, but uh, I don’t express any feelings as Darinka, so it doesn’t, it doesn’t create a problem for me. But inside, of course, of course a lot of emotions go on and we react to the words that we convey on behalf of other people. So, so in that sense, yes, we have to be aware of how much we express with our body, with our faces, but the fact that we have to be focused to a certain degree that we forget about ourselves helps. But yes, it can be very stressful if you’re surrounded by media. Yes, they, they are very present, but they make a lot of noise and that can be very difficult for us.
Agustin: 33:33 I would imagine, even the cameras going on. I just heard a little bit of the chat that President Trump and President Pena Nieto had about this NAFTA, that’s it is no longer called NAFTA, apparently it’s going to be called. And you could hear those cameras constantly just sounding off while the interpreter was trying to interpret, you were not the interpreter at that time, and uh, I would imagine that, that’s quite distracting while you’re trying to convey meaning and information.
Darinka: 34:04 Yes, yes. You have to keep your cool and uh, well, getting distracted can be a click. It can be enough to give you– so you have to feel comfortable in those environments, it can be photographers clicking with their, with their cameras. It can be an aid approaching the president just to give him a message. So you have to be aware that, that’s going to be your reality and you have to function. Doesn’t matter. There is no excuse. But that takes practice, and that takes a lot of discipline.
Agustin: 34:41 I was going to ask you that, too, because one of the things that I was thinking is, when I go to court and I’m working with, with attorneys for instance, I sometimes give myself a little bit of time to talk to them and ask them if they have ever used interpreters, and what’s their experience, and give them a little, one on one aide, listening short sentences, or whatever it is, first person, etc. Uh, do you have these conversations with, with presidents and members of cabinets or did you just– because I’m, I’m, I’m trying to figure it out. Sometimes they might go long, forever, and you do long consecutive, and then sometimes they might understand that maybe they should stop. So how does that work? Or is it an intuitive thing?
Darinka: 35:25 The good thing that happens with diplomatic interpreters, that we are part of a team, and usually we’re going to be there for the whole administration. So right at the beginning, it’s the right time to explain to them what is the best way to work with interpreters, if it’s possible. Some might be very experienced public speakers, they might have had interpreters, which is usually the case, so we don’t have to do much explaining work. And uh, in Mexico for example, they have a protocol office and they are the ones who tell the secretaries or the presidents what is expected in each particular moment. For example, in the U.K., during the official visits, the speeches are not interpreted. They are translated on a piece of paper and are left on the table for whomever needs it. They just read it. But that’s the rule. So they have to be informed of what is the prevailing rule in the country that we’re visiting. So sometimes it’s compulsory or consecutive interpretation that is expected, or they would have a booth available. So if they haven’t worked with interpreters before, sometimes they ask, do you want me to stop? Or sometimes we agree, if it’s a, um, a speech that they’re going to read, they know that they have to pause every two or three paragraphs and they, and they know if they don’t pause, we would, we would follow their lead. But uh, yes, there are some times where we have some interaction in terms of explaining how we do it and how we can be the best of help for them.
Agustin: 37:06 I want you to go back to what you just said, two or three paragraphs, because, when I train court interpreters, and we talk about consecutive, they tell me, well how many words, how many words am I going to hear? And when you tell, oh maybe 30, 40 words–40 words! Oh my god! But it sounds like three paragraphs is a lot more than 40 words. So three paragraphs is something that you would do on this famous long consecutive?
Darinka: 04:30 Not necessarily, well, two or three paragraphs applies when they are going to read a speech, because, uh, before, people were used to listening to the radio. So let’s say during World War II, people would wait until the speech would finish and then the interpreter would come and deliver this speech in a different language. So people were used to waiting, let’s say 20 or more than 20 years now. But now people, they just want the information right away. So that’s why they, if they’re going to read a speech, they would stop. But when they are speaking off the cuff, you can’t stop them mid sentence. So whenever they finished their ideas or a couple of ideas we would step in. So that could be five minutes, sometimes.
Agustin: 38:27 Yeah, so again, for those of you who are concerned about 20 words, five minutes is a lot more than 20 words. And, actually I went to renew my invitation for you to come and give us a seminar long consecutive because I think that it will be very well received, or maybe we’ll do it online, talking about this using technology because I know many of the people that are listening to us would be interested in what is, how do you jump from 20, 30, 40 words to five minutes on even a very slow person. Slow in the sense of speaking slowly, would take five minutes. That would be 700 words or something like that. So, 40 seems insignificant compared to 700. So how do you make that jump, and you know, obviously this is not the time, by the way, we’ve run over our time, and I didn’t want to take advantage of your generosity. But I wanted to invite you and renew this invitation because you need to tell us, how do you make that jump? Maybe you took a little bit of experience of your track and field as to how that long jump happens from 20 words to 700 words, so I hope you accept our invitation.
Darinka: 39:42 Of course. I would be delighted. Thank you very much for this invitation. I would be very happy to share, well, what works for me is not going to be the same strategy that can work for, for you, for example. And that’s, that’s the secret. We need to find out what can work for, for how our mind works, and we usually underestimate our, our capabilities, specifically in terms of memory retention. We’re not used to doing that. Even remembering phone numbers, well, the phone does that for you. So why should you care? But when it comes to delivering speeches, it’s um, it’s amazing to see when people discover how much they can do when they try.
Agustin: 40:28 Well, Darinka, I want to thank you very much for sharing all of this knowledge with you. I wish we could have three more hours, but we will have the pleasure of seeing you again and we will continue this conversation, so thank you very much.
Darinka: 40:42 Wonderful. Thank you for this invitation. It’s been a pleasure as well. Thank you, Agustin.
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