Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher, with interpreters sitting behind, in Beijing, in 1982, in the lead-up to the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Photo: AFP
Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher, with interpreters sitting behind, in Beijing, in 1982, in the lead-up to the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Photo: AFP
Jason Wordie
Opinion

Opinion

Then & Now by Jason Wordie

In Chinese political theatre, interpreters have held positions of privilege – and power

  • In societies where different languages play parallel roles, the role of interpreters is key
  • Discretion when translating both speech and cultural nuance is central to their success and survival

Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher, with interpreters sitting behind, in Beijing, in 1982, in the lead-up to the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Photo: AFP
Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher, with interpreters sitting behind, in Beijing, in 1982, in the lead-up to the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Photo: AFP
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