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Translating from the rafters

by | Apr 10, 2019 | Blog | 0 comments


I have a touch of acrophobia, which means that I don’t like heights. In fact, I cannot imagine what it must be like not to be afraid of heights. Ferris wheels, roller coasters, cliffs and worst of all, floors and stairs you can see through, i.e. made of mesh or glass make my knees quiver. However, I am no wimp! Faced with a challenge, I summon up all my courage and go for it.

That’s why despite imagining myself drowning, I still climbed up to the top and launched myself down the waterslides at Aqualand in Benidorm (I never knew you could get water in so many places), strapped myself in and went to Space Mountain in Florida, climbed the rusty, rickety metal spiral staircase tacked onto the side of Sigiriya rock in Sri Lanka (when I got to the top I spent about ten seconds looking at the fascinating ancient paintings and went down as quickly as I could), and I even went to the top of the Empire State Building.

Life isn’t always so exciting, so when I was summoned to act as an interpreter at a nearby auditorium for a visiting group of Norwegian architects, I did not imagine that my nerves would be put to the test. I expected a group of middle-aged, besuited men asking questions, not an intrepid group of young women who wanted to get into every nook and cranny of what turned out to be a very high building.

I’ve always thought that the local Auditori, an avant-garde building designed by prestigious architect Francisco Mangado Beloquí, is a tasteless lump of concrete that looks like a DIY store stuck on the highest hill in my beautiful town. Give me La Scala any day. However, architects and fans of the building like to wax lyrical about its strategic position as a link between land and sea, extolling the virtues of its prefabricated concrete panel walls and minimalist spaces.

Although I’m not totally convinced, the tour, which I think I enjoyed as much as my clients took us down into the bowels of the building, into its technical rooms, dressing rooms and the stage, and most terrifyingly, up flights and flights of see-through metal stairs to galleries high above the stage, where we saw the machinery that moves the panels and scenery, above the false ceiling over the seating area, into the air conditioning facilities and then, the crowning glory, onto the roof of the building with its fabulous views over the Mediterranean Sea and the gorgeous ancient terraced vineyards that surround it. My heart fluttered, I felt a little scared, but I went ahead and did it anyway, translating all the way.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, another opportunity arises, and translation takes you to new heights and gives you new challenges to conquer.

Juliet Allaway.