If you’ve already cast an eye over this year’s Woordfees guide – as has many a Woordfees follower – you may well have come across the Language Centre’s advertisement and tips on how to ask the way in Xhosa. The page concludes with the motto “Great things happen when you work with us”. And the Woordfees is indeed working with us again this year – to make sure that simultaneous interpretation is at the ready for the hubbub that is the discourse series.
The Woordfees kicks off on 5 March this year and, other than events for theatre, writers and music, various sessions will also be held where the speakers will be encouraging the audience to join in the discussions. And to enrich these opportunities for communication, Language Centre interpreters will be at several of these sessions to interpret – free of charge – (mainly) into English or Afrikaans.
Eduard de Kock, one of the Language Centre’s interpreters, remembers when this initiative was started in 2018: “It was such a fascinating and exciting request. There was a series of discussions that took place every day in a tent in front of Wilgenhof. We had to find a picnic bench, hand out interpreting equipment and then interpret all that interesting and quite emotional testimony – and resist the urge not to become involved ourselves! Interpreting for the Woordfees has become an opportunity that I really look forward to.”
Interpreting won’t be happening at all the discourse sessions because of logistical reasons, but chances are that you’ll come across an interpreter somewhere sometime. Look out for people with a toolbox, usually close to the stage, and typically with a huge grin. Come and say hi – and do make use of this free service. Happy Woordfees!