Century Convention Center. Where the G2 Summit conference was convening.
Chairman: “The convening of this conference marks the formal establishment between our two countries in a strategic cooperative partnership …...”
In every large international conference, simultaneous translators are always needed. This is one of the highest paid professions in the world. It is also one of the most difficult and challenging profession. It requires the translator to translate speech into another language simultaneously while the speaker is speaking. It challenges their reaction time, foundations of each language, and quick thinking. The pay from a job like this is difficult for regular people to achieve. The salary of a first-rate simultaneous translator is $750 per hour. For a conference of this importance, they can be paid more than $3,000 a day. This is also a battlefield without any smoking guns. There was a simultaneous translator who had mistranslated the word “regret” to “apology” once. It caused the mutual relationship of two countries to fall into a tense situation. It caused the Memorandum of Understanding to be postponed for one month. The translator resigned in frustration and became depressed. It was said that he later fell ill and passed away.
Is there a translator who isn’t always treading on thin ice with a high degree of stress? Isn’t the brain of the convention’s host full of tensed nerves, taut like a tight string that would not be relieved until the convention is over? This is because a job like this is full of uncertainty. In addition, because the translators use their human brain, not computer, they can still make mistakes. Experienced translators can quickly recover from their mistakes. When the mistake was an unrecoverable error, then the result could be disastrous.
But, this city’s large international conference hosting organization was relieved, because they hired a “treasured” translator, who other translators called “God Solomon”, a genius of simultaneous translations.
“……partner relationship……”Tang Shuoran quickly translated the Chairman’s words. The Chairman’s script had already been sent to the translator team a day earlier. Translating with a script available was like an appetizer dish to him. So his voice sounded a little lazy. You know, the biggest challenge were the unexpected tricky questions from the audience. At this time, if a word was very difficult to translate directly, most translators would use a technique: translation by meaning. But it would never happen to Tang Shuoran, because he had memorized 100,000 English words and idioms. He could very arrogantly announce to anyone, that the words he translated were the most accurate.
After the script had been received, the staff carefully asked Tang Shuoran: “Should somebody read and record it, then you could go home to study it?
Tang Shuoran waved his hand: “Just the usual way.”
The staff dared not speak any more on the matter. They had the young girl in the team who had the most unaccented Mandarin to read each word and sentence aloud at a middling pace.
Tang Shuoran looked at the distant blankly. It seemed like he was listening, but he also seemed to be in deep thought.
This young girl had been hired by Tang Shuoran after he had interviewed her. He said if there was no good reader available in the team, then he would not accept the job offer. The conference organizer was terrified. Though this request was very unreasonable (the hiring of organizer’s staff was decided by a translator who was an employee of the organizer), they agreed regardless. The conference organizer was lucky to have agreed to his request. Hiring a good translator was easy, but it was very rare to find a genius translator. Keep in mind that simultaneous translation consume a large amount of brain power, physical strength, and energy. For a large conference, an organizer must hire at least more than 3 simultaneous translators in order to be able to handle it. Since intensive stress on the brain would easily exhaust the translator, a translator would have to take turns every 20 minutes. In other words, a regular translator was effective for a translation time period of 20 minutes at the longest. The translator took about a 40 minute break until the other 2 translators finished their turns. Then the translator could quickly rejoin the intense rhythm again. But Tang Shuoran could perform a whole translation by himself without a break.
When the general manager had interviewed this melancholic and aloof man, he looked at him for a while and said with difficulty: “Mr Tang, we hold international conferences of a very high level. I am afraid that we need to have somebody to take care of you…. You know, therefore….”
Tang Shuoran stood up silently. He tapped his cane on the floor and turned around toward the door.
Coincidently, one International Conference Bureau official was visiting. This official had a close friendship with the Convention Center general manager, so it was a private visit. After the door opened, he originally was looking at the general manager with smiles. When he suddenly saw Tang Shuoran, he immediately became distracted.
“HI，Solomon，so excited to see you here! very very very glad~~I am ……”
He spoke incoherently. He walked up and hugged Tang Shuoran for a quite while. He then turned to the general manager and said: “You really have a good taste. This is the best Chinese translator in our Translation Division. In the same conference, China only needs to send him over. But at the same time, we need to send 5 English translators…..”
The general manager understood his great value by now – he could accomplish the translation which would normally require at least 3 translators. Though he asked for very high pay, but the ratio of his ability compared to his pay was very high.
They had happily worked together ever since then. The general manager also quickly agreed to hire the young reading girl that was selected by Tang Shuoran. His interview process was very interesting. The applicants had only to sing an English song. Even if her Mandarin had no accent, she would fail if she could not sing an English song.
The current reading girl had been hired by singing the song “My Heart Will Go On.”
Today, after she finally finished reading the last paragraph, she quietly closed the script and looked at the handsome man before her. He looked as if he had just awoken from a dream and blinked his eyes. He took a glass of water and drank. “Thank you. I have it all remembered. Remember to drink some Chrysanthemum tea after you go home. It’s good for your throat.”
“Thanks. Mr. Tang.” She mumbled.
He dusted his clothes, though there was no dust on his clothes. But he was used the manners of a gentleman, he did not miss a single step – so, he dusted his clothes, smoothed the collar, took out the sunglasses from the inner pocket of his suit, and wore it. He then took out a small tool from his right pocket, which looks like a small flashlight. He unfolded it and it transformed into a stick for the blind. The height of the stick rose up to his waist. He held the top of the stick and stood up: “See you tomorrow.”
Her voice was still tender and beautiful as befitting a young girl, but her figure was not as agile as before – she was 9 months pregnant and was going to deliver soon.
She was so sorry: “Mr. Tang ….. I’m sorry that I cannot come to work tomorrow.”
He was startled and said: “Oh, Okay. You should take a break. There are many conferences in these couple months. Don’t get sick.”
She pursed up her lips and said with difficulty: “Mr. Tang, I am going to be a mom.”
His face showed surprise, but changed to a kind-hearted smile quickly: “Congratulations. You need to take care of yourself.”
Her voice was very light: “Mr. Tang, I---I will be taking my maternity leave tomorrow. Tomorrow is my expected delivery date…...”
He put on sunglasses, but had his head lowered. It seemed like he was trying to see her bulging belly, then he said after a while: “Thank you. You have been working for me until now. I am so careless…..”
Tang Shuoran suddenly remembered that this young mother had gone to the restroom very often in recent months. He also noticed that she walked slower and slower in the last two weeks – Of course these were not good scenarios to guess, but regular people would have known that she was pregnant without those details.
He straightened up his back and posed in a ‘Please’ gesture as usual. Another reason that the young mother did not want to leave this job was that she admired his talent. She also felt sorry that he had to act as if he was normal. She knew that he was very picky on the voice of the reading girl. She also knew his eccentricity —— that he needed somebody to read to him first, and then he could translate without any mistake the next day. Though she was reluctant, she no longer had influence on what happened afterwards. She could only wish that he could find a “New Voice Power” quickly.
The young mother’s heavy footsteps finally disappeared behind the door. But Tang Shuoran did not follow her out as usual. He leisurely sat down and held the top of his white cane tightly. Nobody knew what he was thinking.
At that moment his phone range. He touched the cell phone and pushed a key. He asked impatiently: “What?”
“Mr Tang told me to ask you when can you come home?”
“Wait until I am in a better shape.” He replied coldly.
The other end spoke nervously: “Mr. Xiao Tang, Mr Tang told me to ask you whether your —— depression has been cured? It’s been 2 years already?”
“Sure.” He replied and hung up the phone.
The call had made him somewhat distressed. He raised his hand that held the cell phone. He really wanted to smash it to the ground, but suddenly tightly gripped the phone and stopped the impulse. He placed the cell phone into his pocket and walked out.
The only reason that he only accepted the work for international conferences at the International Convention Center was because he could easily go back home: walk out of the door, turn right, walk 123 steps, turn left, walk 337 steps; without crossing any streets or up and down any slopes. Large buildings line the side of the path. He could walk home along the buildings easily without the need of his white cane tapping the ground to find his way home.
On this day, he ran into a person right after he turned left at the intersection. The situation was out of control afterwards. He felt his face was now covered by a large sheet of paper and he heard the hissing sound of more papers flying about.
It was a very impatient young girl. She had fallen down, but she was still on the phone: “Right, I fell down! Crap! You have no sympathy for other’s misfortune! Never mind, see you at Keys Bar! Bye bye~~”
She hung up the phone. She saw that the man had also fallen and sat at the ground with the same humiliating position like her, as if staring at a mirror. He did not seem apologetic. His eyes behind the sunglasses made it impossible to see his expression. His tilted nose showed that he seemed angry.
She was unhappy: “Hey, is it funny to run into people during the day? You probably did that on purpose!”
He managed to stand up. His black pants were covered with dust. The man seemed to really care about his appearance as he began furiously dusting his clothes.
She found the sight somewhat humorous. She could see that he really wanted to dust his clothes clean from all the patting. But why did he only pat the clean area of his clothes? When he felt down, he was sitting on a stack of her scattered papers and no dust was there. But the white powder from a newly painted white wall had rubbed onto one side of his pants. She couldn’t stand it and couldn’t stop herself from helping dust off the white powder off the left side of his pants.
“Are you a child, stupid! I am not going to be the one to fuss over you~~”. She then disappeared like a gust of wind.
Tang Shuoran’s body had tensed up when she touched him.