I'm on a panel right now in Milan. I learned the name of the conference when I finally got my pass. Lucky for me that they have simultaneous translation. On the other hand, I'm the ONLY one in the room who is using it right now since the speaker is speaking in Italian. There are two translators as usual who switch back and forth so the other can take a break. The thing is, the resting translator seems to be trying to make the speaking translator laugh. She keeps shutting off the translation and cracking up laughing. You can still catch the laugh when switches the mic back on and here the giggle under her breath. You can also hear the antagonistic translator scribbling jokes onto paper and putting it in front of the other translator. This reminds me of when the IRC back channel tries to make people giggle during serious talks.

It's a bit surreal. I'm the only participating in their performance and everyone is listening to this serious talk oblivious to whatever tremendously funny thing is going in the translation booth. I wish I could signal them so they would let me in on the joke...

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Solidarity from an Italian that would probably be there giggling with the translators. I hope that you will have at least a good pizza with the translators after the presentation ;-)
See http://moloko.itc.it/paoloblog/archives/2004/10/13/joi_ito_and_italian_translators.html

"This reminds me of when the IRC back channel tries to make people giggle during serious talks..."

Do people really do that? ;)

mr ito... the clowns you describe are not translators, but interpreters (it's a bit like mistaking an olive for a grape). p. hersey

But why do they call it simultaneous translation?

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It seems Joi Ito is having some problems with Italian (giggling) translators. Ah, those Italians, always joking and laughing and giggling ... ;-) [yes, I had to check the meaning of to giggle, that is "To laugh quietly in short... Read More

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