THE POPE’S RESIGNATION REACHES ALL THE WAY TO MSU

THE POPE’S RESIGNATION REACHES ALL THE WAY TO MSU

For language students contemplating careers in interpreting and translation, your work can often take you in unexpected and fascinating directions. Professor Joanna Dezio works with CBS News whenever an event touches the Papacy in Rome. The network creates a direct feed with Rome and Professor Dezio simultaneously interprets the goings-on from Italian into English for the American audience.

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on February 28 is just such as event. The ceremony surrounding the resignation and the subsequent conclave to elect a new Pope is a circumstance fraught with tension and expectation. The pressure on everyone in the media working on the event is great, but the rewards are immense. Fortunately, the interpreter is isolated in an interpreting booth, protected from the sheer panic in the newsroom, and thus able to focus entirely on the language.

Professor Dezio will now have worked with CBS News for the entire cycle of Benedict’s reign: the illness and subsequent death of the former Pope, John Paul II; the funeral mass organized by then future Pope Benedict XVI; the election of Benedict; and the new Pope’s first press conference, which he adeptly delivered in French, Italian and German. Professor Dezio interpreted the French and Italian portions for the American audience.

Obviously, interpreting the events surrounding the resignation of a Pope is not an assignment one encounters often. The last such resignation was over 600 years ago. The changing of the Papal guard is clearly more frequent, but still a rarity in anyone’s experience. For the interpreter, it represents an unwonted glance into a world few have the opportunity to encounter and Professor Dezio relishes such opportunities. Often, this is what it means to be an interpreter.