Valtaybou

Biography

Valerie Barnes

Valerie Taylor was born in England but lived most of her life in Switzerland, working for the United Nations in Geneva under her new married name of Valerie Bouladon. She started work there in October 1948 as a trilingual reporter, became a translator (English, French, Spanish and Russian) and then a simultaneous interpreter (English, French and Spanish). She interpreted at UN conferences in India, most of the countries of Africa and Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, China, Korea, Japan, Iran, Kuwait and now Australia, Kuala Lumpur, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, Rarotonga, New Caledonia and others. She has led an exciting life, kidnapped in Cairo and proposed to by an African potentate who invited her to accept the honour of becoming his fourteenth wife. Tired of airports, luxury hotels, lavish cocktail parties, formal dinners and speeches and living out of suitcases, married an Australian in 1981 and settled in Canberra, interpreting at Parliament House for the Prime Minister when non-English-speaking statesmen came to visit, as well as organizing interpretation and translation teams at international conferences held in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1987 she came to live on the windswept coast of New South Wales where she has embarked on a new career as a writer. She has published three books and contributed to two others.

She interpreted at the first Heart Transplant round table with Prof. Barnard and other world experts at the World Health Organization, Geneva, in 1967, the first World Conference on Space Communications, UN conferences on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the first Arab/Israeli discussions after the Yom Kippur war, for Valéry Giscard d'Estaing at the Tokyo Round GATT Trade Negotiations, translated from Russian the first colour television standards documents and interpreted at the subsequent international conference on that subject. She interpreted at numerous Cancer Research Expert Panels in Lyon, France, for French television and the Non-Aligned Movement in Africa and former Yugoslavia where she was Marshal Tito's and Fidel Castro's personal interpreter. Also at the annual International Labour Conferences held in June each year in Geneva. Since coming to live in Australia she has interpreted on many occasions in Parliament House, Canberra, for the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs during visits of Heads of State from non-English-speaking countries including the President of Argentina and the Prime Minister of France. She was also Prince Sihanouk's personal interpreter over a period of two years at the Peace in Cambodia talks in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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A Foreign Affair

A Foreign Affair

Walking along the drab, grey streets past bomb craters and piles of rubble, I daydreamed about a more romantic world where people spoke exotic languages, played music, sang and danced with passion." 'Trapped in the austerity of post-war London, 20-year-old Valerie Barnes yearned for the good times promised by the wartime songs. Then two chance meetings catapulted her into a high-flying career at the newly-formed United Nations in Geneva and the arms of a glamorous Frenchman ... Joining an elite breed of independent women who travelled the world in the 1950s and 1960s, Valerie lived a jet-setting life as an interpreter, working in exotic locales and rubbing shoulders with prime ministers and presidents. At the same time she was juggling a Swiss chalet home, three children and a love rat of a husband back in Geneva. But whatever Valerie did, she threw herself into it with zest. From dancing flamenco to being kidnapped in Cairo, being wooed by an African president or falling for a passionate Pole, Valerie's gift for storytelling makes A Foreign Affair a lively, funny, utterly delightful memoir.'

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Valerie Barnes

United Nations Simultaneous Interpreter

Working as a United Nations simultaneous interpreter, Valerie travelled to India, Iran, Nigeria, Zambia and Zaire. She also met and fell in love with an Australian delegate who decided to sail single-handed in a 22ft. yacht from England to Australia to separate his past from his future. While crossing the Atlantic he was hit on the head by the boom, lost the rudder off the coast of Venezuela and was attacked by sharks in the Pacific. He said he would write a book about it but when he celebrated his 87th birthday she realized that would never happen, so decided to write the story herself with his help, using his log-book and describing their experiences together during the five months she spent with him in England, France, Spain, the Canaries, Barbados, Bequia and Rarotonga. Their story is often hilarious, sometimes heart-breaking.

For music and pictures go to www.antipodeanaffair.com

An Antipodean Affair

An Antipodean Affair

This is the story of a single-handed sailing trip from England to Australia in 1975/6 in a 22ft. Westerly Cyrrus yacht before the days of computers and GPS, i.e. with only the sun, the stars, the moon, a sextant and a compass as a guide. It is also rather a desperate love story between a middle-aged divorced United Nations simultaneous interpreter (me) and an Australian delegate (Peter) at international telecommunication conferences in Geneva, who had been listening to my voice in his headphones for years. We met one day in 1974 when he plucked up courage to tell me at the coffee bar that he had been to the theatre the previous evening and seen a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta where one of the singers had looked rather like me, only a bit taller and slimmer. I let him go on for a while before confessing that it was me. After that we often chatted over coffee, gradually got to know one another and fell in love. In 1975 he decided to sail single-handed from England to Australia to separate his old Melbourne public servant life from his new life with me. The story is told in first person. It starts in Geneva when we met and then moves to London and Chichester, on to France and the canals, then Spain, Ibiza, the Canary Isles, Barbados, Bequia, various islands in the Caribbean including Tobago Cays and Grenada, then the Marquesas, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Rarotonga and finally Australia. All these places are described as well as my experiences on board - I had never been ocean sailing before and couldn't swim. There are extracts from the yacht's log and some letters describing Peter's experiences when I was not there. While crossing the Atlantic he was hit on the head by the boom, he lost the rudder off the coast of Venezuela and was attacked by sharks in the Pacific. The trip took eighteen months, of which I spent a total of five with him in various places in between UN conferences. In the course of our travels we met many colourful characters, especially in the Canaries where we were befriended by a famous local poet who was also a Count and by the owner of a fish restaurant who wanted to marry me and make me the multilingual queen of his supermarket. We came from very different backgrounds - he was (and is) very Anglo-Saxon and I was (and am) very European so our reactions were always very different but I was so much in love that I hardly noticed the discomforts and rigours of sailing on rough seas, wearing damp, creased clothes and showering by means of a bucket of seawater poured over one another. Our rosy plans for the future were shattered when his 24-year-old daughter, hitchhiking in Sri Lanka, caught hepatitis and died. In his grief he switched off his radio and thus became untraceable. I flew to Tahiti to look for him but he had already left. So I took another plane to Bora Bora but found he had already left there too. The waiter at my hotel, Henri, said: 'I doubt if he is still alive. His sail was torn and he left in the middle of a violent storm but didn't seem to care.' However, just as I was about to catch the plane back to Geneva, a yacht appeared on the horizon. As it neared the wharf I could smell frying bacon and eggs. No Frenchman has bacon and eggs for breakfast: I knew it must be an Englishman or an Australian. It was. Standing on deck, unwashed, unshaven, desperately grief-stricken, was Peter.

For music and pictures go to www.antipodeanaffair.com

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Conference Interpreting, Principles & Practice

Conference Interpreting, Principles & Practice

Published under her professional name of Valerie Taylor-Bouladon, Conference interpreting is a comprehensive overview with something to offer all interpreters - experienced, beginner or would-be. It begins with the history of interpreting in Europe and Australia, then looks at how it is done today, and what lies ahead. The interpreting profession is fairly unknown in Australia today and even government departments, faced with organising an international conference, are often unfamiliar with simultaneous interpretation, how it works, how it should be organised and where to find interpreters. The different modes of interpretation and the problems with using relay are explained. There is advice for language students, telling them where and how to train and tips for beginners, such as how to overcome stagefright, what to do if you miss something, and booth behaviour and microphone manners. You will learn how to become a graceful scapegoat, how to economise your voice, how to make delegates laugh when necessary and how to deal with Australianisms.

There is information for conference organisers, explaining the necessity of having competent professional interpreters, and for Australian government ministers relying on interpreters from other countries when travelling overseas. An entire chapter is devoted to protocol and etiquette for interpreters working with government ministers when they are visiting or receiving overseas colleagues. The author also discusses interpreting for after-dinner speeches and press conferences, and at the dining-table, as well as etiquette, table manners and appropriate gifts in various countries.

Interpreters' duties, responsibilities and ethics are dealt with, how to improve one's performance and maintain one's health, and whether or not you should be working into your B language. Interpreting for television and radio is covered, and there is a special and very important section on court interpreting, which discusses the gravity, complexity, special requirements and great rewards of this kind of work. This chapter was requested by court interpreters and also by Australian judges with whom the author was in constant contact throughout the writing of this book.

Christopher Columbus yellow parrot

There is a chapter about the bodies that make up the UN and EU, the languages they use and how to approach them for work. Details are given about the various national and international professional organisations for interpreters. Finally, the author discusses the future of language, including the impact of television and computers. Special committees have been set up a UNESCO in Paris and also at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg (which piloted a new European Language Portfolio in honour of 2001, the Year of European Languages), studying the future of languages such as Italian, German and Dutch which it is felt are likely to be the first to gradually fade into a sort of dialect unless something is done to prevent this happening. The governments of the countries concerned are investing considerable sums in research on this subject. There is also a comprehensive bibliography, with suggestions for further reading.

Conference Interpreting is not intended to take the place of a training course, but rather to be an adjunct to assist the beginner interpreter who has just completed a course and knows all the theory, but is lacking in experience. It will also serve to inform experienced interpreters, community interpreters and conference interpreters about this vital, exciting profession.

Those who have read the book say it is a 'good read'; the author has tried to make it entertaining as well as informative and has included many anecdotes.

  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • 1.Introduction
  • A Little World History
  • 3. Meanwhile, back in Australia
  • 4. Sine qua nons: Prerequisites for conference interpreters
  • 5. What conference interpreters do
  • 6. Modus operandi: How it is done
  • 7. Modus vivendi: Working arrangements
  • 8. Spit and polish: Booth behaviour and microphone manners
  • 9. Thou shalt, thou shalt not: Deontology, ethics and honour, duties and responsibilities
  • 10. Tips for beginners
  • 11. A word in the ear of the conference organiser: Is interpreting necessary?
  • 12. Health, stress and hearing problems
  • 13. How to become a conference interpreter
  • 14. Other areas where simultaneous interpretation is used
  • 15. The U.N., its specialised agencies, international organisations and the European Union
  • 16. NAATI, AIIC, TAALS and AUSIT
  • 17. Protocol and etiquette
  • 18. Champagne
  • 19. The last word
  • Appendix A: The United Nations System
  • Appendix B: How to irritate your delegates without really trying
  • Reference
  • Biography

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Take Me With You

Take Me With You

(ISBN 1 86325 556 7), published by Random House Australia in December 2005, is an anthology of tales of long distance love featuring 'In Praise of Coffee' by Valerie Barnes which tells how she fell in love with an Australian and came to live in the antipodes.

Part of the proceeds of this book support Oxfam Australia's work to reduce poverty and injustice in more than 22 countries around the world including Indigenous Australia.

Public Speaking

Valerie Barnes

Valerie has given talks all over Australia: she was keynote speaker in Darwin at the 9th National Languages Conference of the Australian Language Teachers' Associations (AFMLTA) and has been asked to speak at various venues in Canberra regarding the importance of Australian government officials learning languages when handling matters of trade, especially when travel is involved. Valerie has also given talks at Wollongong & Ulladulla Friends of the Library (future talks are planned for Nowra and Kiama), and at various Literary Festivals and Writers' Festivals in Sydney, Canberra and at Newington College Literature Festival, Shearers bookshop in Leichardt, Sydney, and the South Coast Writers' Centre.

Interviews

Valerie has been interviewed by Margaret Throsby on ABC Classic FM and twice by Julie McCrossin on ABC National Life Matters, as well as for a third Life Matters broadcast about events concerning the Governor of Tasmania, Richard Butler, where she was called upon to speak as an expert on Protocol in view of her UN experience. Valerie was also interviewed by Caroline Baum (who also writes for the Sydney Morning Herald) (formerly SBS television Book Show) at Dymocks bookshop, George St., and Lindfield bookshop, Sydney. She has given talks in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney when 'A Foreign Affair' was launched, and been interviewed many times on radio. She was also interviewed on television for Sky News' Book Show about languages and United Nations.

2004 -"Interpretation in Australia" for 'Forum'

"Interpretation in Australia" was commissioned by La Sorbonne University in Paris and KSCI, Seoul and published by them in April 2004.

To contact Valerie Barnes: email valerie@valtaybou.com