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News items are taken from a number of different sources and do not necessarily reflect the position of DG Interpretation or the European Commission.

Private market

AT a fertiliser manufacturing plant near Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, a Chinese factory manager instructed local employees how to operate a hydraulic roof sheet roll forming machine.

The workers listened attentively as the manager speaks. But what was peculiar about the interaction was that there was no common language between the manager and the local employees.

Instead, the whole interaction was made possible by the help of an interpreter who listened carefully to the manager’s instructions and then clearly translate his directives into the local Shona language.

The interpreter had to make sure that meaning was not lost through translation. While the entire process seemed easy, and the switch between Chinese and Shona by the interpreter seamed natural and effortless, a slight mistranslation may stall work progress at the plant.

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