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Viral Post Gives Inspiring Insight on General Conference Interpretation Process

Viral Post Gives Inspiring Insight on General Conference Interpretation

Dustin Dibble, a media operations center manager for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared a viral post over the weekend about how General Conference is interpreted into over 90 languages.

“I’ve been involved with the production of General Conference for a few years, and I am still amazed at the army needed to man the tech that it takes to send this broadcast all over the world, on all sorts of platforms,” he wrote.

“I’ll always remember walking around the product floor at NAB in Las Vegas (huge broadcasting convention) with my team lead, talking to equipment manufacturers. They were very proud that their equipment would do 16 or 32 channels of audio. We’d tell them: ‘Well, we need something that can handle 96 languages’ Their eyes would bug out of their head, and they would have a ‘1.21 giggawats!’ moment. They would sputter: ‘Who does 96 languages? The United Nations only does 33! It can’t be done!

I was reminded of this just now, as I listened to the interpreter for Sinhala, spoken on Sri Lanka. He’s interpreting from there, where it’s 5 AM. I could actually hear the crickets chirping in the background as he interpreted. My heart swelled. These messages are important.”

According to the official fact sheet, “portions of general conference are interpreted into 93 different languages. Forty-three languages are interpreted in the Conference Center and broadcast via satellite.” Another 31 languages are interpreted from locations around the world, transmitted back to the Conference Center, combined with audio, and broadcast back out. Twelve more are interpreted locally and seven are released on DVD after Conference is over.

Justus Ernst interprets in the Tabernacle basement in 1967.

Here are some more fun facts:

  • Approximately 800 people work to interpret and translate General Conference
  • The Conference Center holds 58 interpretation booths
  • Interpreters work in groups of four
  • Interpreters attend up to 10 trainings a year
  • General Conference was first interpreted into Dutch, German, Samoan, and Spanish in 1961


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