03/03/2011: Barry Olsen, MIIS

Multilingual Communication in a Globalized World:
Why English Isn’t Enough

Thursday, March 3, 4:30 p.m.
Robert A Jones '59 House Conference Room

Barry Olsen

Professor Barry Olsen

English is currently the second most spoken language in the world, with some 508 million people who speak it as a first or second language. It is recognized as the lingua franca of science and much of the business world. Yet in today’s increasingly globalized world English isn’t enough. According to CIA Director Leon Panetta, “For the United States to get where it needs to be will require a national commitment to strengthening America’s foreign language proficiency.”

With anecdotes, statistics, and research, Professor Barry Slaughter Olsen will highlight not only how knowledge of other languages and cultures can expand individual career opportunities but also how it has become crucial to national security and prosperity.

Olsen, an assistant professor at MIIS's Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation & Language Education, has been working as a conference interpreter and translator since 1993. Before joining the faculty at MIIS, he was a translator in residence at American University in Washington, D.C., and taught various courses on simultaneous and consecutive interpretation in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. His clients include the U.S. State Department, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Organization of American States, National Geographic Society, C-SPAN Television, and many other public and private sector clients. He sits on the Council of the American Association of Language Specialists and is an active member of the International Association of Conference Interpreters. In 2009, together with another MIIS alum, he co-founded Interpret America—a national forum for the interpreting profession. He is currently the chair of interpretation at MIIS. Olsen received a B.A. in Translation from Brigham Young University and an M.A. in Conference Interpretation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Professor Olsen's lecture is sponsored by the Rohatyn Center for Global Studies, and the Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation & Language Education at the MIIS.

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The Monterey/Middlebury Lecture Series was established for Middlebury College and the Monterey Institute for International Studies (MIIS) to promote shared expertise and education through the exchange of faculty visitors. An affiliate of Middlebury since 2005, MIIS became a graduate school of  Middlebury College on July 1, 2010.