The decision made by WWII Allied powers (the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain and France) to prosecute expeditiously Nazi suspected criminals required the use of a simultaneous interpreting system which had been patented by IBM after successful trials at the International Labour Office in Geneva in the late 1920s. The public international echo of the Nuremberg trial brought about a clearer social recognition of the challenges interpreters faced to orally translate simultaneously among the four official languages (English, French, German and Russian). Most of the Nuremberg interpreters acquired their skills on the job, while coping with the linguistic, technical and ethical issues their tasks involved. Some of them moved, while the Trial was still on-going, to the recently established United Nations, which would soon adopt simultaneous as their preferred interpreting mode. The presence of a number of women interpreters at Nuremberg can be seen as a starting point towards the feminization of the profession.
About the Speaker:
Former United Nations staff interpreter, associate professor (emeritus) and member of the Alfaqueque research group (University of Salamanca, Spain). His research has focused on the history of interpreting, interpreters as characters in fiction, public service interpreting and the teaching of interpreting. Author of From Paris to Nuremberg: The Birth of Conference Interpreting (2014/2000), United Nations Interpreters: A History (2004), and co-editor of New Insights in the History of Interpreting (2016).