MCL Graduate Student Translates for Djibouti Delegation

By Dara Vance

The importance of meeting an international delegation can be exciting and intimidating.  Serving as the delegation’s language translator adds an additional level of excitement and importance.  Caroline Board, graduate student in French and Francophone Studies, was delighted to interpret for a delegation from Djibouti during their visit to the University of Kentucky in September.  

Caroline became interested in studying language after taking French to satisfy her undergraduate language requirement.

“After I had taken a few French classes I decided I really liked the language and wanted to continue learning it,” she said.

Caroline studied in France for a summer semester and a fall semester during her undergraduate studies.  Between her bachelor and master’s studies at UK she taught English in France for eight months.

Her international experience and French classes at UK prepared her well for working with the delegation, but she was still concerned about getting everything correct. 

“I was initially nervous about translating for the delegation because it's really important to get things right in a situation like this - one odd translation could really change what you're trying to communicate, so I didn't want to make a mistake,” she said.

Caroline and fellow UK student translator, Fariba Kanga, accompanied the delegation during the visit to the UK campus, including stops at the Buell Armory and the W.T. Young library. Caroline was most impressed by the generosity and sincerity of the delegation. 

“Throughout the visit they offered gifts to the university that they had brought specially from Djibouti, such as traditional shoes that had been handmade in Djibouti. I was touched by how giving and kind they were,” Caroline said.   

Caroline currently teaches French 101 and is considering a career in teaching French at the high school or college level.

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