Melbourne turns it on for Boao, with a Tour de Force in Simultaneous Mandarin Interpreting

The Boao Forum has been running since 2001 and it came to Melbourne for the first time in 2016. As the pre-eminent international forum in the Asia Pacific (the equivalent of Davos in Europe), this was a major coup for Melbourne and a sell-out of 400 participants joined the Forum and Gala Dinner.

Interweaving the worlds of politics, business and academia, the Forum which is headquartered in China, has supported growing economic relationships in the region and discussed the big topics of the era. The list of presenters was a who’s who in China engagement and the audience was keen to hear their views post Trump and Brexit, among many other key topics, such as FDI, commodities Free Trade Agreements and e-commerce. The Future of Globalisation opening address underlined the important role China plays and how the Belt and Road initiative can continue the path of development for the region.

China has an important role in keeping the world ‘open for business’, continuing investment and combating protectionism will be crucial, experts agreed. The message was upbeat and the numbers extraordinary – as they always are with China.

Chin’s Super Interpreters – Accessible to All

The unsung heroes of the day, working behind the scenes as panellists and presenters came and went, was the team of Mandarin Interpreters. It is probably hard for any of us to imagine the power of concentration required to deliver fluent, expressive interpreting over ten hours or more without any script. Listening through headphones to panellists from all around the world in different languages and accents on complex topics with intense discussions and focus; seamlessly ‘converting’ this to the other language – swapping between Mandarin and English – keeping the audience and speakers engaged in the conversation – really is a brain-frying skill.

Thank you to Charles Qin and John Zhou, for the tour de force demonstration of what good interpreting should be. You made it inclusive and enjoyable for all of us who attended.

Headset Postscript

Yes the interpreters were amazing and we all listened to the beautiful translations and melodic voices via those receivers and head sets. But these devices won’t work at home! Always please return them to the organiser – they are very expensive to replace.


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