HOW TO INTERPRET A PRESIDENT

HOW TO INTERPRET A PRESIDENT P. A. Ney/TFN

What do an astronaut, a military jet pilot and a simultaneous interpreter have in common? - Making decisions in a fraction of a second.

In the latest episode of Heart of Poland, Patrick Ney talks to Dr Witold Skowroński, nicknamed the ‘Interpreter of Presidents’, who has spent his life travelling with global Heads of State and as interpreter to nearly all of Poland’s Post-Communist Presidents from Lech Walęsa to Andrzej Duda. He has also interpreted Margaret Thatcher, President George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, the Emperor of Japan, Pope John Paul II and countless politicians and dignitaries as well as Polish MEPS in the European Parliament.

Hear Dr Witold talking about the highs and lows of being a simultaneous interpreter at the highest level by the side of the world’s most famous people. What could possibly go wrong when you’re on the world’s biggest stages where every word counts?


01:15 - List of people interpreted

02:13 – How to train your brain as an interpreter

03:25 – How Dr Witold started working with Languages/the English language

04:58 – How demanding is the life of an interpreter?

08:24 – Favourite person interpreted

08:57 – Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip

10:11 – Biggest mistake made when interpreting a famous person

11:12 – Difficult situation interpreting David Rockefeller at the Warsaw Castle

12:45 – Temptation to change the speaker’s language to make it more interesting?

13:37 – Why I changed ‘radishes’ to ‘shrimps’ in Lech Wałęsa’s speech in Japan.

18:30 – The importance of connotations of words

20:01 – Interpreting is ‘Bloody Difficult’ Is it given the respect it deserves? The education of interpreting in Poland

21:13 – Different types of interpreting

22:03 – Simultaneous Interpreting first used during the Nuremburg Trials

23:17 – What to do with rambling dignitaries?

24:57 – Funny moments/Interpreting fails

26:56 – How did Lech Wałęsa react when told ‘John Paul II is dead’?

29:16 – Polish politicians in the European Parliament and poor levels of English

31:26 – What you need to understand as an interpreter.

32:53 – Speaking too fast

35:18 – Friendships with Presidents

37:52 – Favourite place in Poland

38:14 – Companion for a prison cell

38:44 – Place never visited in Poland