Monday, September 24, 2007

How Interpreters Are Changing the Universe

I was recently delighted to be contacted by Irina Yashkova, a Russian<>English interpreter who has worked for the International Space Station Program for more than 9 years. She was interviewed by the Moscow Times regarding her fascinating work, and she noticed a similarity between the goal of the From Our Lips to Your Ears project, to highlight the important work of interpreters, and the objective of the Moscow Times interview, titled, "NASA Interpreter's Job Has Her Seeing Stars".

To quote from the article:

"As the ears and voices of these space dwellers, the interpreter's job requires perfect attention to detail and allows no room for error."

"'Irina was our top student in Russian interpretation,' said Dr. Peter Grothe, professor and director of the International Student Programs at the Monterey Institute."

"'She is one of only two persons who is certified to interpret in Russian-English on spacewalks, and if she makes a mistake, it could cost millions of dollars to the space program,' Grothe said."

Irina's story is truly a fascinating one, and a unique perspective from within our field. I am very happy to know that this type of interpreting exists, and am very excited about the possibility of bringing more of this insight to readers, so that the public at large can develop a greater awareness and respect for the essential work of interpreters.


Jim Newman said...

I was privileged to work with Irina while we were stationed in Moscow 2004 - 2006 for NASA. Although my English voice is male, my Russian voice was female! She brought cultural understanding and sensitivity to our communications and proved to me how crucial a role interpreters play, not just in enabling conversations, but in building the bridges we so need between different cultures.

Nataly said...

Jim - that is fantastic! You've just hit on the exact purpose of this project, an appreciation for the important work of interpreters! I am so happy that Irina inspired you to share this feedback. Also, if you are interested in sharing an anecdote for the project, by all means, feel free to send your submission.