Sites & Cités is a French national network of outstanding sites in Art and History, which since 2000 has functioned as a platform for cities and towns to share experiences, skills and challenges in the management, protection and promotion of their heritage. On June 19, 20 and 21, in collaboration with the Colombian Institute of Cultural Heritage, Sites & Cités organized a meeting between leaders of the city of Draguignan and a Colombian delegation, which presented its actions and problems for three cities in the department of Boyacá: Paipa, Villa de Leyva and Sogamoso. Cultures Connection mediated between the parties with a French-Spanish consecutive interpretation service.
Flexibility for a successful interpretation service
The meeting between the French and Colombian authorities took place in Draguignan, in the south of France, and consisted of three days of workshops, city tours and visits to places of interest. Cultures Connection, with offices in the city of Nice, provided an interpreter who accompanied them throughout the tour and interceded to make the comments in French and Spanish understandable. For the professional who worked in Draguignan, one of the greatest challenges was to maintain flexibility to adapt to different circumstances.
During consecutive interpreting, a speaker’s ideas are usually taken down and then reproduced in another language as faithfully as possible, usually without the use of technological equipment. In this case, there were occasions when the leaders spoke very fast or said very long sentences, which meant that the interpreter had to retain the most important ideas and summarize them for fast but also effective communication.
The heat also played an important role in the work, according to the Cultures Connection interpreter. In addition to workshops to present the cities inside the Mayor’s office, where topics such as sustainable tourism, financing for the maintenance of heritage or territorial organization were presented, there were bike rides and visits to important cultural spaces such as the media library in Draguignan or archaeological excavations from Roman times. The good weather in this part of France with the beginning of the European summer made the days a little more tiring than usual.
An interpreting agency sensitive to cultural promotion
The interpreter for the days in Draguignan thinks that the work was satisfactory and that both French and Colombians showed a lot of interest in the presentations. The experience of Cultures Connection and its interpreter played a fundamental role.
The agency has 10 years of experience in translation and interpretation in the field of culture and works with the best professionals in the field. In this case, the interpreter was French, studied languages at Paris-X-Nanterre University and lived in Colombia for several years, so she had previous knowledge of the countries in question and was fluent in French and Spanish. The fact that she was used to this type of activities also made her know how to accompany the group at all times: she came early to meet the group, explain her work to them and make herself available for whatever they required.
Although Cultures Connection had offered them an interpreting suitcase for 10 people, with a microphone, transmitter and 10 headphones, the group felt they did not need it and preferred not to use it. As can be seen, the agency more than met the demands of the meeting.