The Interpreters – in development (2022)

The Interpreters is a new project about language in translation, language as sound and listening as a political space. It is a collaboration with an experimental sound artist, a new media artist and 2 professional translators. The work interrogates 3 different relationships: between language and interpretation, interpretation and translation and between sound and listening.

A narrative revolves around a conversation between three people who speak different languages mediated by two interpreters through English. Oscillating power dynamics, misrepresentation and miscommunication are heightened by the fact a complaint must be heard and acted upon. Here the translating of words and complaint together constitute a double act of interpretation, as the complaint itself is subject to the vagaries of the translation process. Written in English to be then partially translated into French and Japanese, a second meta-narrative zooms in on the gap that opens up between languages in the moment of translation. This conceptual framework allows the audience to ‘see and hear the thinking’ (the translator’s process, her questions, her dilemma) and the ethics of interpretation (what is it to have someone be your voice?) to reveal the instability of language and the act of translation as inherently political, reinforcing or resisting unequal power structures.

Written & Directed by NICOLA GUNN
French Translation SÉVERINE MAGOIS
Japanese Translation NOBUKO AISO
Sound Artist JOEL STERN
New Media Artist NICK ROUX
Lighting Design & Dramaturgy EMMA VALENTE

The Interpreters has been supported through AsiaTOPA’s Virtual Lab programme and by Norsk Kulturrådet. Co-produced by Bit Teatergarasjen, Black Box Teater, Rosendal Teater, Carte Blanche and Le Grütli.