The Interpreter and the Prince

Image copyright: Bernhard ELBE LPD Wien
Have you ever wondered what it's like to interpret for a real prince? We have, too, and now that Dagy has had the experience, she's delighted to report on it for you. 

To curtsy or not to curtsy? That was the first thing that crossed my mind when the Austrian State Department (officially the Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs) called me about an interpreting assignment during the official visit of the Prince of Wales to Austria. To make a long story short: there was no need to curtsy and it was a great experience.

The Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, were on a whirlwind tour of Europe and Austria was to be the last leg of their journey. They arrived Wednesday afternoon, met a few dignitaries and attended a state banquet. I was to interpret on their second and last day during Prince Charles’s short visit to the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF), a government agency that provides services to recognized refugees.

My main task was to spring into action whenever the Austrian Minister of the Interior needed me and to interpret any German-language statements into English for His Royal Highness.  A few days before the job, I received plenty of background information, made sure to memorize the correct form of address (“Your Royal Highness”) and I also learned that curtsying was not required. I’m all for respecting the protocol, but I was actually quite relieved about that.

Image copyright: Bernhard ELBE LPD Wien
Since most of the talking was done in English, I rarely had to intervene and I mostly enjoyed the (almost) royal company (naturally, I saw him mostly from behind and from the side). Not surprisingly, Prince Charles came across as very approachable and likeable. He talked to refugees from Syria and Iraq, learned about the services and volunteer-run programs offered by this government agency and attended a so-called values and orientation workshop designed to introduce refugees to Austrian values and society (see picture on the right).


The whole visit lasted just 45 minutes, with perfect timing. After the motorcade with Prince Charles left, everybody was happy that things went smoothly, including the interpreter.  Since Prince Charles last visited Vienna 31 years ago with his late wife Diana, let’s hope he will come back sooner than that, maybe as king. I certainly wouldn’t mind being part of that experience again. 


2 comments:

bonnjill on April 10, 2017 at 1:08 PM said...

Very cool!! Well done, Dagy!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on April 10, 2017 at 7:09 PM said...

@bonnjill: Many thanks, girl! It was pretty exciting. :)

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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