The day I got to interpret Wim Wenders …

 

That was one of the most exciting interpreting assignments in my life. I was very young back then and inexperienced. I remember being called at short notice by a professional congress organiser. The only two words I could make out were Wim Wenders. With little advance warning and no time to prepare at all I felt that taking up that job was risky business, but I decided not to reject it. I was and still am a passionate fan of Wim Wenders’ movies. In a blink of an eye I found myself sitting next to him and in front of a very large audience with cameras flashing everywhere. I felt I had to be sincere and I decided to put it quite bluntly. I explained Mr Wenders that I had been assigned that interpreting job at very short notice and had had no time whatsoever to prepare myself. His reply was a large smile and then he said: “I am sure you can do a very good job”. Some TV journalists started asking a few questions and off we went… it was like sailing off to me. There were a couple of questions about the German director’s relationship with friends like Bono (Vox), Bob (Dylan) and Jimi (Hendrix). It was a thrilling race. Mr Wenders’ replies were quite long and exhaustive and I remember I was taking notes at the speed of light because I did not want to miss out on anything. The story about how he and Michelangelo Antonioni came to direct ‘Beyond the Clouds’ was a true gem! Some of his earlier and less known movies were also mentioned. Movie titles are always tricky for interpreters. You should know in advance which of the movies have been dubbed into Italian and therefore have an Italian title and which have not. I perfectly recall Mr Wenders writing down the Italian official translations of some movie titles on a piece of paper and handing it to me under the conference room table. This is when I understood that nothing could go wrong and it felt like magic...

Consecutive Interpreting for Wim Wenders, picture courtesy of director Riccardo Sai.