Why Does Putin Need a German Interpreter

“Victoria, if Merkel speaks Russian and Putin German, what language do they speak with each other?”

 

They speak their mother tongue, through interpreters. The interpreter of politician A interpreters into the language of the politician B. Even when both parties speak each other’s language fairly well.

 

Let me explain why. Please note that my explanation does not refer to the photograph and the individuals mentioned above.

 

 

Having an interpreter is required by the protocol and is largely of a benefit to the politicians.

🔹 Speaking one’s partner’s language has a symbolic meaning of courtesy, respect, but might also be interpreted as a submission or a favour. 

🔹 Politicians, CEOs etc. would rather spend their energy on WHAT to say and HOW they want to say it, not on the foreign language. Speaking a foreign language puts you in a weaker position, as the means of expression are limited and you may not be able to convey the message the way YOU want.

🔹 In a consecutive mode the speaker can gain time to think of how to reply to what has just been said.

🔹 In the worst case (for the interpreter), the speakers can blame the interpreter for having misinterpreted the message or ask the interpreter to translate it again.

 

 

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Photo credit: Private archive