How eight interpreters became bodyguards!

Message from Cape Town
© photo by Khumo Ntoane and Briget Ganske
© photo by Khumo Ntoane and Briget Ganske
Irene Amodei
28 February 2009

Chantel Daniels has worked on the ICV Desk in South Africa since 2007. She has recently been asked by the New Field Foundation to help recruit, train and coordinate a group of eight interpreters for the; Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) Forum, which took place 14th au 17th November 2008, in Cape Town.

"The New Field Foundation," explains Chantel "took the opportunity of the AWID Forum and brought some of its grantee partners from West Africa to attend the event and network with other participants".

"Interpreters were requested to provide interpretation services and communication support to visiting delegates from several French-speaking West African countries during the conference as well as during breakout sessions the day before and the day after the main event."

Together with Serge Mukotha, also from ICV, Chantel selected, trained and assisted interpreters, coordinating their schedules and per diem payments.

"They were mostly university students from Gabon", continues Chantel. "Initially the group was extremely nervous, however, as the week progressed, interpreters and delegates connected very strongly. The irony was that interpreters were predominately males and the delegates were all females, which eventually turned out to be an unexpected advantage as delegates continuously thanked interpreters for being not only good interpreters, but also irreplaceable bodyguards."

"As this opportunity came via the contact of the Volunteer Centre, I grabbed it with both hands. It was the first time I had to provide interpretation coordination services and it was really a great learning opportunity. I had to orientate interpreters with as much information as possible and I discovered that it is crucial for them to integrate a solid professional background with social skills."

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