Ms. Barazzone started out interpreting for French-speaking West African delegations in Washington, DC, remarking that she learned a great deal from them about West African cultures.
Most importantly, Barazzone emphasizes that “interpreters should be heard and not seen.” Ideally, the interpreter becomes a direct conduit for the participants, allowing them to maintain eye contact with one another, forgetting the presence of the interpreter. “When you’re in the zone, and you’re doing a good job, your brain is snapping very fast and moving forward; it’s a challenge.
Consecutive interpreting provides her with more latitude to take on a variety of cultural, theatrical, and artistic assignments. She has interpreted backstage for opera singers, ballet dancers, actors, and acrobats.
One of the most exhilarating assignments she had was interpreting for an aerial circus. The artists performed high wire acts. “I had never worked with trapeze artists,” she says, “I felt like I was flying with them.”
Constantly learning, she prepares in advance for each assignment by familiarizing herself with the subject matter, saying that “interpreters have to be agile.” The interpreting must reflect the exact meaning of the speaker, without any additional input.
Good interpreters are aware of protocol. Barazzone considers diplomacy and discretion to be an interpreter’s finest skills. “Interpreting requires a perceptive and observant person,” she says.
She advocates language learning in the USA and would enjoy being active as a motivational speaker. “You have to fall in love with a language,” she says. “You learn about the people and their culture. For me, that’s the key. There is no doubt about it—language is empowering.”