SALT LAKE CITY — Not just any member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who can speak a foreign language can become an interpreter at General Conference. “It takes a skill or talent you just have. It’s hard to teach,” Brad Lindsay, manager of translation and interpretation for the church, told the Clipper. One of the problems with finding people who can interpret is that they must keep two conversations — in two different languages — going on in their head, at the same time. “With interpretation, there is no one thing that we look for,” Lindsay said in a 2010 church press release. “It is a combination of things that makes for a good interpreter.” In addition to language proficiency, effective interpretation includes transmitting the emotion and intent of the speaker standing at the pulpit. “What we are translating is not our own message,” Lindsay said. “The message comes from the speakers, so we try to find people that can share that message effectively.” The church prefers to use native interpreters whenever possible. Lindsay said returned missionaries are also used. About 800 interpreters, many from Davis County, are readying themselves for this weekend’s 182nd Semiannual General Conference on Saturday and Sunday in the LDS Conference Center. Some of the interpreters the church relies on have been doing it for 40 years, Lindsay said. Interpreters are involved with 93 languages, some as common as Spanish or French, others not at all common, like the Nivacle language spoken in the mountains of Paraguay, Lindsay said. Among languages the church has only recently added are Burmese, Farsi (the language spoken in Iran) and Georgian, Lindsay said. They are working to get interpreters for Mosquito, a language of Nicaragua. There are languages for which there are few resources in the area. Sometimes, in those cases, interpreters will fly into Salt Lake City from locations in Colorado and California, Lindsay said. Through the 1990s, the church added many languages as the church grew rapidly.
For more information check out the Oct.4 edition of Davis Clipper.