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Switzerland and the Olympics

Today is Switzerland's National Day.  The UK does not have a national day although we seem to be having a national year this year, 2012, with all the celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and holding the 30th Olympic Games.

So what do Switzerland and the UK have in common? According to Diccon Bewes' blog's Swiss fact of the week, only two countries have competed at every single one of the modern Summer and Winter Olympic Games: Great Britain and Switzerland.

At the time of writing, Team GB has won 4 medals - 2 bronze and 2 silver. Switzerland has yet to win one - but the whole spirit of the Games is not the winning, but the taking part.

And it is not only athletes taking part in the Olympic Games. My friend, Gabriel, commentated on the Opening Ceremony for the Latin American Spanish-speaking audience and he's also commentating on his beloved football too! What a fabulous assignment. Congratulations, Gabriel!


Training to be a translator/interpreter - advance planning

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In these days of economic depression, the news bulletins are full of doom and gloom about the paucity of jobs available for school-leavers and new graduates. It seems to be more vital than ever to start thinking about your future career as early as you possibly can.

In my view, it is never a waste of time to explore lots of options. Obviously, eventually you will have to narrow down the search but by casting your net wide at the outset you will expose yourself to lots of opportunities that may not have otherwise occurred to you. If as a native speaker of English you also speak a foreign language or two, there are lots of opportunities. One seminar at this year's Language Show (to be held at Earl's Court, London from 15-17 October) is entitled: Shortage of linguists - the EU and the UN need you.

Judging from the rest of the programme of seminars which has just been released, there are plenty of options available to job-seekers who can offer languages as one of their main skills.  Presentations will be held on recruitment to the European Parliament, working at the European Court of Justice, GCHQ, the European Commission and working as a conference interpreter. There is also a seminar about voluntary roles using your languages at the Olympics to be held in London in 2012.

There are also seminars for teachers of languages, learners of English as a Foreign or Second Language and learners of foreign languages. All this information under one roof over the course of a weekend!


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Interviewing an interpreter

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The roles of interpreters and translators are often confused. The difference is quite simple: a translator deals with the written word and an interpreter deals with the spoken word.  Some people train in both disciplines, others specialise in just one.

If you are interested to find out about the real world of the interpreter, a BBC World Service interview conducted by Owen Bennett-Jones with French/English interpreter, Amanda Galsworthy, is available on the iPlayer.

Ms Galsworthy has been an interpreter for many years - and has worked for three French presidents. She gives a lively and interesting account of the challenges of the job ranging from linguistic problems, dealing with an over-friendly Presidential dog and trying not to laugh when a VIP makes a very embarrassing mistake!