I went to the opening of The Interpreter tonight with my favorite odd couple…great acting but the story was, well, just a story.
There was hardly any interpreting: a few flawlessly delivered scenes from the booth, and one short small group meeting. Obviously the interpreter has to manage her emotions in the face-to-face setting, which she does (of course). Then hesitates only slightly before breaking confidentiality with UN Security.
It’s a quick scene, but certainly raises every ethical red flag one can imagine. Is she beholden to her employer (the UN) or the interlocutors? Does (or should) she have national loyalties, or is an internationalist stance the only appropriate one, given the context? Sure, supposedly it’s life and death. That’s always the litmus test, right? Perhaps overtly political situations are demarcated by different boundaries than the social service, medical, and educational situations in which community interpreters face our ethical dilemmas?
It was interesting to watch this just before I head overseas to talk with interpreters for the European Parliament. Sans the suspense of an assassination attempt, there was a view of the milieu.