Earlier this month, Pope Francis made a historic visit to the Philippines. Many public addresses were planned, with speeches prepared in English. At several stops, however, Pope Francis decided to discard his prepared speeches and speak from the heart in his native Spanish.
While there are Spanish speakers in the Philippines, and Spanish is closely related to that nation’s dominant native language of Tagalog, English is the Philippines' second language. The Pope’s shift to Spanish would have left hundreds of thousands of attentive Filipinos completely lost, creating the need for an interpreter. The Pope, it turns out, regularly travels with a priest who serves as his Spanish to English interpreter, ensuring that the Holy Father can speak freely in his native tongue and be understood nearly worldwide in the 21st Century’s lingua franca.
Not just any bilingual person can meet your interpreting needs or the Pope’s. The choice of a trusted interpreter is an important one, and you shouldn’t let it be an afterthought. Instead, hire a certified interpreter and be confident you’re conveying exactly the right message. Then, when you need to go “off script,” you know you can rely on someone who is capable of delivering your thoughts precisely as you mean them.