Interpreters: Silver-Tongued Masters of Memory
Odyssey, April-May 2008


Today, Murielle Pérégovoy sits in a glass-enclosed booth. An ultra-light headset rests on her ears. A microphone hovers in mid-air, inches from her mouth. Murielle doesn’t see any of it. Her attention is riveted on the space between her ears, which is currently filled with short bursts of angry Russian from a participant who has the floor on the other side of the conference room. Her voice rises and falls to match that of the speaker, filling the booth and the headsets of everyone tuned to the French channel. The participant finishes speaking and sits down. Murielle finishes one sentence behind him and reaches out to turn off her microphone. On any given day, she could be the voice of an ambassador, the voice of a distraught mother in war-torn Iraq, or the voice of an orthopedic surgeon. Murielle is a simultaneous interpreter, and her work day has just ended...

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