Yes Mr. Prime Minister . . . I am professional

Einas Zeyadeh Live Interpreter at TV News Channels

 In such a painstaking profession I
found myself, and in a career that is far from being usual I preferred to be.
  A live interpreter in a news channel is
definitely a job that is known to few, but certainly needed in the global media
coverage of today.

{jcomments on}It is possibly the case that none
would ever think of the human behind the voice, the person behind the service,
or even the feelings behind the interpreter!

During the life span of any interpreter,
many incidents can happen, and a lot of stories can be told, as it is a career
of interaction under clandestine between the speaker and his voice in another
language.  Usually it is thought of as
merely a linguistic experience; which might be relevant in general.  But when it comes to news and namely TV
interpretation, it is definitely a different story.

In the Middle East, politics is part
of the daily intake of each person, as it is a turbulent region that has not
seen stability for a long time, and unrest is becoming a synonym to many
countries in this region.

However, being in the news is so
much like home for a Middle Eastern interpreter, particularly for a Palestinian
who was born and raised without a country that can be called home.

Thus, it happened many times that I
found myself interpreting things that contradict my judgment or my beliefs as a
person, but none of such incidents left me with pain as much as the last one

It was a UN General Assembly meeting
where heads of states would be speaking, and as usual, we will have to cover
and go live with these speeches. 
Everything went smoothly until that particular speaker came to the
podium and started with his rather interesting speech.  It was the Israeli Prime Minister turn to
speak.  He started and I followed; word
by word, talking about the achievements of his great nation and people.  He finished and so I was finished; yes
literally finished.  What an aggression,
and what a torture I was subjected to. 
But, I cannot be but professional; I have to be sincere and reflect his
emotional reactions, and to be convincing to his audience as well as mine.   

The mission was accomplished!  The lush of adrenaline was felt abundantly
but with a different; flowing into the nerves instead of the heart. Whereas I
am sure no one would ever imagine the contradictions involved or the absurdity
of the situation: A Palestinian interpreter making the voice of the Israeli
Prime Minister heard in the Arab World! 

Dear Mr. Prime Minister, the land
you are referring to is my country, and the State you are representing is the
one built on the ruins of my State, the people that elected you were brought
from Europe and elsewhere to eradicate my people and take their homes.  You talked about Israeli professionals who
contributed with their knowledge to the world development, while we are also
professionals and have our own contributions.

Nevertheless, despite all of these
facts, I made your voice heard in the Arab world; I was the one who allowed you
to speak my language in my voice.  Yes
Mr. Prime Minister, I am Palestinian; or a terrorist if you like, but I was the
professional who took you into the homes of my people.  You tortured me as much as your army tortures
my people, and left me with a feeling as if I was the rocket you are firing on
my fellow Palestinians.

Yet, this is what an interpreter is
supposed to do, a professional who should work with language and ignore
content.  A performer who should play the
role and leave it behind once the drama is over.  A professional in love with the job, and
willing to tolerate any pains involved. 
And indeed, behind the machine-like work of an interpreter, there is
nothing but a human!

Einas Zeyadeh is a Palestinian live interpreter who interpreted hundreds of conferences and interviews with top leaders at news channels  


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