The Interpreters, a study (2017)

At the beginning of his presentation, a speaker made a joke through an interpreter and after a few seconds the whole room burst into laughter. He was pleased that finally an audience had appreciated his joke. At the end of the meeting he said to the interpreter, “You know, I’ve made this joke several times in lots of different countries, but usually no one laughs. You must be a very good interpreter. I wonder how you managed to translate it?” The interpreter replied, “I simply said: he has made a joke, please laugh.”

The confrontation of language underlies so many of the problems which we can pose concerning human beings. Presented at Alliance Francaiçe on the traditional land of the Bunwurrung people, The Interpreters, a study is a faciliated conversation in English, Bunwurrung, Auslan and French that hopes to untangle and retangle language to understand the part it plays in our culture and our education system.

Concept & Facilitation NICOLA GUNN

Conversation Piece was produced by Field Theory as part of Site is Set in 2016 and supported by Alliance Française Melbourne. Photography by Bryony Jackson.