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Four second-year Monterey Institute students studying for a master’s degree in Russian Translation and Interpretation received institutional support to travel to Kazakhstan this January for the Asian Winter Games. Immersive learning opportunities like those provided at large international events are invaluable to aspiring professional interpreters.

Simone Bonneville (MACI ’11), Dana Skelton (MATI ’11), Saltanat Yerbalatova (MACI ’11), and Natalia Zoubko (MATLM and MATI ’11) arrived in Kazakhstan ready to make the most of their time there. As it turned out, they could not have wished for better professional training circumstances. Due to budget constraints and perhaps some inexperience with language service planning, there was a shortage of professional interpreters at the games. The students “stood out immediately to the organizers due to their superior training and high level of proficiency,” says Barry Slaughter Olsen, chair of the Conference Interpretation program at MIIS, and “they were given a role at many of the higher-level events and press conferences.”

“This is an amazing experience,” shares Simone Bonneville. "This is the first time that Kazakhstan is hosting an event on such an international scale. The Asian Games are on everyone's lips and Kazakhstan's medals are celebrated by all. Car horns blare, flags wave and everyone cheers 'Alga Kazakhstan!!'"

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir