Category Archives: Translation & Interpretation

MIIS Olympic Tradition to Continue

Our involvement with the Olympic Games began with the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. At the time, Professor Bill Weber, then Dean of the Graduate Division of Translation and Interpretation, had arranged an academic internship for 32 T&I students, thus making MIIS an “Official Supplier of Translation and Interpretation Services.” Students provided services in written translation of documents and simultaneous interpretation in English and French at the Main Press Center.

Ever since, Professor Weber has been involved with the Olympic language services and was chief interpreter at 14 of the last Summer and Winter Games.

Although Professor Weber has decided to retire from the Olympic scene after next year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro, after serving the Olympic Family for thirty two years, the MIIS tradition shall continue with Alexander Ponomarev (MACI 1997), who has been chosen as chief-interpreter for the Rio Games.

As has been the case in the past 34 years, many MIIS graduates will be on what has become known as the “Olympic Dream Team” of interpreters. We also expect to involve a large group of MIIS students to serve as language volunteers with limited interpreting duties in Rio as well.

Another MIIS graduate, Maureen Sweeney (IPA 1994) has also been involved as a key consultant for the International Olympic Committee with the local Organizing Committees, ever since the Atlanta Games in 1996. She continues to consult in the fields of language services, including language volunteers, as well as venue protocol. The latter includes all venue medal ceremonies, VIP seating and lounges, as well as checking on all participating nations’ flags and national anthems.

Photo credit: Captain Roger Fenton 1860

Photo credit: Captain Roger Fenton 1860

Meet the Korean Interpreters!

Come to the Fall Forum to see the Korean interpreters in action!


(Left to right) Sungouk Jang, Nari Jeong, Heami Jeung


Showing respect and politeness towards another person is an important aspect of Korean language and culture. Korean interpreters use the appropriate level of honorifics (suffixes or words used to express respect/politeness) to address someone. So when an English speaker says thank you to “Bob,” in Korean, it becomes thank you to “Mr. plus Bob’s last name,” or “Bob plus an honorific” when the last name is unknown.
 Technically, Korean does not have third-person pronouns. There are words in Korean for “he, she, it, they” due to influence from English, but they sound pretty awkward. Korean interpreters substitute English third-person pronouns with the actual name of the person or object or “that person” or “that object.”

Fall Forum!

Are you working towards an international career? Do you dream of representing your country in an international conference? Will you have someone interpreting for you? vid

Fall Forum, MIIS’s annual interpreting event, is the best occasion to get a feel for what interpretation means as you watch interpreters in action. This year, aspiring interpreters studying in MIIS’s Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish programs will demonstrate consecutive interpretation in the forum, which will focus on the one of the most urgent issues of our time: Water.


The event will be held at MIIS on November 14th, from 2 to 5pm, with a reception from 5 to 6:30pm. You might discover that someone you already know from MIIS is a future interpreter, and be surprised to see them performing the art of interpretation. As the organizers for the event, the Fall Forum Committee would like to introduce our interpreters in our next post so that our readers can get to know their work and personality, in addition to providing some updates on the event. Please stay tuned!


Spanish Community Interpreting Graduate Certificate

We are excited to announce the launch of a new graduate certificate program in Spanish Community InterpretingThis certificate program is distinguished for its nationally-known faculty, who offer participants a solid foundation in written translation, sight translation, consecutive dialogue interpreting and simultaneous interpreting. Participants will build professional and linguistic knowledge needed for the fields of legal, medical, social service and educational interpreting and will be prepared to take certification exams in the relevant sectors. 

For more information about this new course and how to apply, please visit  


Prof. Holly Mikkelson and Prof. Barry Olsen in INTERSECT e-newsletter

Professor Holly Mikkelson and Professor Barry Olsen were mentioned by Marjory Bancroft in INTERSECT of their translation of From Paris to Nuremberg: The Birth of Conference Interpreting by Jesús Baigorri-Jalón (translated by Holly Mikkelson and Barry Olsen), John Benjamins, 2014.

View the e-newsletter here

TEDx Monterey: More Than Words

Professor Barry Olsen and Professor Laura Burian demonstrate the power of human cognition as they explain the subtle but important differences between professional translators and interpreters with assistance from Miguel Garcia (French), Weihao Zhang (Chinese) and Beatriz Rodriguez (Spanish). Click here to watch the video clip. 

Dr. Lynn Visson published in London Review of Books

MIIS Adjunct Professor Dr. Lynn Visson, who teaches a three-day intensive course on conference terminology and procedures, was recently published in the London Review of Books. Her article entitled “Diary” is her own diary entry based on her experience as an interpreter from Russian and French into English. The article gives a sneak peek into the inner mind of an interpreter who has not only worked for the United Nations, but who also has taught Russian language and literature at Ivy League schools and has written and edited many works on interpretation, translation, and Russian culture.

It’s a great read and offers some valuable insight to students studying to become interpreters or to anyone who is interested in the art of interpretation and translation.

Kavenoki Conducts Webinar on Interpreting for Olympics

Russian translation and interpretation professor Rosa Kavenoki conducted a webinar on intercultural communication around interpreting for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Organizing Committee and volunteers on October 29 in Moscow, Russia.
While in Russia, Prof. Kavenoki also spoke at the plenary session of the international conference Language and Culture in the Changing World, which took place October 23-24 at the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk.