Language barrier on way out at council meetings
SCMP, 29 April 1972
Both the Chinese and English speaking public will soon attend Legislative Council and Urban Council meetings without any language barrier.
The date, next August, was set yesterday by Government's newly-appointed Chief Interpreter, Mr Y. P. Cheng, who arrived from England last Friday.
Mr Cheng, a former translator and broadcaster with the BBC in London, and his three-man team will provide simultaneous interpretations at Legco and Urbco meetings.
In an interview yesterday at the Colonial Secretariat, Mr Cheng admitted the job was a “new challenge for me.” He said he had no past experience in this field.
His first task, he said, would be to compile a standard glossary of official terms comprising mainly names and titles in both languages.
He will also train the other interpreters. They were selected on the advice of Mr A. T. Pilley during his visit last year. He will undergo an extensive familiarisation programme of various Government departments and will work closely with the Commissioner for Chinese Language, Mr Christopher Wong.
“In future, the Legislative Council and Urban Council can speak in either Chinese or English, We will do the translation, he explained. Mr Cheng said Cantonese would be used in Chinese interpretations. But we are not ruling out Mandarin, “ he added.
He estimated that the translation speed would be approximately three-quarters of a sentence behind the speakers.
Mr Cheng said the sound equipment was expected to arrive some time in July. Mr Cheng was born in Hongkong and educated in Shanghai and Canton, He has more than 10 years of experience with Radio Hongkong, All India Radio and the BBC.