Alumni of the Middlebury Institute’s Translation and Interpretation program are regularly spotted at historic events where they facilitate communications. In May alone we saw Lefteris Kafatos MACI ’10 on the news as he interpreted for President Obama on his historic visit to Hiroshima in Japan, learned that all interpreters at the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation Meeting in San Francisco were either Institute faculty, alumni or both, - and heard from Professor Wallace Chen MATI '95 that two of his former students and one former classmate played an important role as they interpreted between Tsai Ing-Wen, the first female president of Taiwan and foreign dignitaries during her inauguration on May 20.
“I felt so proud and extremely happy when they sent me the pictures and told me how excited they were,” shares Professor Chen. Pearl Lin MATI ’95 has been with Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) since the late 1990s and has since served four presidents of Taiwan. She interpreted between President Tsai and Nauru President Baron Waqa.
Cindy Tao MACI ’12 worked for several years as an in-house interpreter for major companies before being hired by MOFA last August. As part of the Inauguration celebrations, Cindy interpreted a meeting between President Tsai and U.S. Asst. Secretary of Commerce, Marcus Jadotte. Cindy loves her new job and says it has been an “eye-opening experience” and a wonderful opportunity to get to “witness and participate in some major events.”
According to Chen, Teresa Wang MAT ’10 has been with the Taiwanese military for many years and has interpreted regularly for meetings and events between high ranking Taiwanese military officials and English speaking visitors. She was appointed Honorary Chief Aide-de-Camp to President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands during her official visit to Taiwan for President Tsai’s inauguration ceremony.
“The three graduates demonstrate the solid training we offer here at the Institute, and represent a job profile that emphasizes both professionalism and the ability to work under tremendous pressure at the highest level of government,” says Chen. “I can't express how proud I am to see our students perform so well and play a part in shaping this historic event in Taiwan.”