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Interpretation is at the very core of UN operations, according to a recent feature story on Radio Free Europe, and the Monterey Institute is at the forefront of educating the UN’s language specialists. Quoted in the feature is Barry Slaughter Olsen, head of the conference interpretation program at what RFE cites as “California’s highly respected Monterey Institute of International Studies – from which a number of UN translators have graduated.”

According to Professor Olsen, the UN is the pinnacle of the interpreting profession, which might explain why despite thousands of interested candidates, there is a constant shortage of skilled language specialists at the organization. This reality also underscores the significance of the agreement signed last November that made the Institute one of nine programs in the world – and the only one in the Western Hemisphere – that the UN has chosen to partner with to promote the future development of translation and interpretation professionals.

The job of interpreter at the highest levels is likened to being “equal parts diplomat, rocket scientist and traffic cop.” If that job description along with a love of languages fits you, join Professor Olsen’s Translation Student Network for students who want to learn more about the fields of translation and interpretation as a possible career choice.

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir