Simultaneous Interpretation:
Past and Present
Jeffrey Tao

[April 22, 2005]

United Nations Senior Interpreter Jeffrey Tao will help shed some light on the mysteries surrounding the somewhat esoteric field of simultaneous interpretation. He will provide some historical perspective on the birth of the profession in the aftermath of the Second World War; describe the kinds of individuals the field has attracted over the years and how it works in practice at the Mecca of the field, the United Nations.

Mr. Tao will be sharing with the audience some of the memorable experiences he has had during his career spanning three decades. This will include showing a videotape of a live broadcast on ABC News in July 1997 of simultaneous interpretation he provided for President Jiang Ze Min's speech at the historic ceremony marking Hong Kong's Return to China, and playing audiotapes of UN speeches of topical interest.

Part of his lecture will be devoted to discussing how changes in the international situation and China's reform and opening up have had an impact on simultaneous interpretation work. Mr. Tao will also share his professional insights on some of the challenges posed by Chinese interpretation and how they might be overcome. A videotape designed and produced by UN interpreters themselves to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the organization will also be shown.






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