If you ask any reputable translation agency, they’ll tell you their biggest assets are their translators, and of course here at Czech translations that’s no different. Alena, our vendor manager, does an amazing job and we’re proud to say that we really do have the best of the best working with us. That’s why with the presidential elections everywhere at the moment, it’s the perfect time to introduce you to one of our translators, Daniel, who also happens to be Trump’s Czech interpreter!
When we met Daniel at our Xmas party and heard all about how he’s been interpreting for the president-elect, we took the opportunity to sit down with him and ask him more about his work. We’ve read so many articles over the past few weeks about how it’s near impossible to translate Trump, so for those of you who like us who have been wondering how true all these articles are, here’s what we talked about:
How did you prepare for the presidential debates?
We couldn’t actually prepare because the questions were a very closely guarded secret and there was no way of ever finding out anything in advance. The best we could do was research topics that were likely to come up.
Is it true that translating Trump is almost impossible?
Well, you have to completely alter your interpreting style to be successful. Normally, you usually wait for a little while until you understand what the speaker is going to talk about in a particular sentence before starting to interpret. This allows you to construct your output around it, but as Trump has a habit of jumping from one point to another and never finishes whatever he starts – waiting for some kind of meaning is a recipe for disaster. It means you have to fly blind so to speak, because that’s exactly what he does. This of course sometimes meant things didn’t make much sense in Czech, but to be honest the English didn’t all the time either.
What were the biggest challenges when interpreting for the presidential debates?
Apart from the linguistic ones, keeping a straight face proved difficult at times. We all know that as an interpreter you have to stay neutral and make sure that the audience think that you are impartial. It’s not our job to make Trump look silly because he has quite a knack of doing that himself. Another challenge is when three people start shouting at each other at the same time, it’s impossible to interpret for all of them at the same time and they’re very difficult to understand. Sometimes you just have to remain silent and hope the audience understands.
And to end thing’s on a positive note, do you have any funny stories you’re able to share?
Because of the time change, no one at the TV studios would believe I was an interpreter and questioned why I was going there at 2.30am. I also remember was researching Clinton’s ex-lovers as I was sure Trump would bring them up at some stage. It was also fun trying to find the most suitable way of translating some of the more vulgar words Trump’s famous for using.
If you’d like your translations or interpreting to be handled by Trump’s interpreter himself, why not get in touch with Czech translations? We’ll be really happy to help 🙂