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CBC Translator Forgets to Mind Her French

Have you ever had one of those days where you just want to shout at your coworkers to shut the hell up because you—unlike those gabby, inconsiderate fools—are actually trying to get some work done? Chances are the yearning has crossed your mind, before being promptly snuffed out by the fear of getting your walking papers in the process. That second part of the equation—the self-restraint—seems to have been overlooked today by one unfortunate CBC Newsworld translator who, during an announcement by Minister of Public Safety and MP for York-Simcoe Peter Van Loan, suddenly stopped providing French-to-English interpretation in order to yell “I can’t hear! Fuck!” at one of her (by now probably former) colleagues.


  • http://undefined Chester Pape

    I didn’t so much hear “yelling at colleauges” as “expressing frustration at the horrible quality of the incoming feed” but maybe I misheard. In any case, pretty much the dictionary definition of career limiting move.

  • http://undefined dowlingm

    given the massacres at CBC I suspect her days were numbered anyway.

  • http://undefined Greg Smith

    Everyone loves to take potshots at people who screw up in high-profile circumstances, but is it really reasonable to dismiss someone for a lapse like this (assuming no track record of similar issues)?

  • http://undefined montauk

    I was on the phone with a client a few months ago when my manager wandered near my cubicle to shout profanities at some staff for something, effectively letting the client on the other end hear what an awesome workplace we have while preventing me from hearing what the client was saying. In a blind rage, I jerked around with an irate expression and silently mouthed “shut the fuck up!” at her. I didn’t care if she fired me, I just wanted to finish the damn call. The client guessed that I’d mouthed something and laughed.
    I can relate to this.

  • http://undefined MikeCloutier

    Was she a CBC or a parliamentary employee? Anyway, I heard it live and laughed. One of those priceless live news moments. I hope she doesn’t lose her job over this. Everyone has dropped the f-bomb. Is it any worse because it was on live TV. Late morning, kids are in school. And how many people were watching anyway? I was watching because I’m recently unemployed and just learned that I’m 10 hours short of being eligible for EI, so her outburst perfectly expressed my feelings about the news I received about five minutes earlier.

  • http://undefined Ryan Coleman

    Not to be a grammar/language dink but technically the woman was an “interpreter” not a “translator”. Interpretation is actually a very specialized skill and discreet profession from translation.
    I can understand the outburst too – it’s a very taxing process and mentally fatiguing. Interpreters can usually only work for 20-30 minutes before needing a break. So I can imagine something making their job more difficult can be quite annoying.

  • http://undefined Jean de Montbéliard

    Thank-you Ryan Coleman for pointing out that we interpreters are not translators! And your unintended pun that we are a discrete/discreet profession. So discreet in fact that we only get noticed when we err, and only if on the adverse side of caution. This hapless colleague’s handiwork is a strident example. She is most probably a freelancer who could not hear the minister clearly but was in a borderline situation where she nonetheless tried to muddle through, and felt immense pressure to deliver. She thought she was speaking either only to herself, or only to the control room, when venting her frustration, certainly not to air. Quite often the controls are confusing, since the same mike is used both for interpreting live feeds and for speaking with the technician responsible for raising the master volume of the feed, an oft-invisible fellow in a remote control room. The sense of heavy responsibility combined with utter powerlessness is devastating, a source of immense stress and frustration for any professional interpreter, let alone a freelancer dropped into an often technically unfriendly environment. Not to mention the ridiculous lip service paid to the French language by English-speaking ministers who so utterly mangle the language that it is as sadly comical for the audience as it is acutely painful for interpreters. Hmm, do I sound like I am venting?