Spanish Language Interpreting for Presidential Candidate Rally

We dropped everything after that call...

The phone rang late that afternoon. A campaign staffer, frazzled and exhausted from weeks on the road, explained their unique opportunity. The presidential candidate would be arriving the next morning for a rally in the agricultural hub of Salinas, California. An undocumented farm worker was willing to take the stage to give voice to the concerns facing her, her family, and thousands like her that have come to find work in the US. The problem: The worker's voice is Spanish. In order for her message to have maximum meaning for the hundreds gathered, her voice needed to be heard in English as well. The campaign needed an interpreter.
We sprang into action, motivated by this courageous person, not by the politics.

It would be difficult. We explained the challenge of finding a qualified linguist at this late hour. The staffer said, "It's fine. Worst-case we’ll get someone who is bilingual."

We agreed. Using someone who isn't a trained interpreter for a situation like this is a worst-case scenario. We weren't going to let that happen. 

Late into the night, after hours on the phone, we were able to find a Spanish interpreter who could take leave from her assignment in court the next morning to be at the rally. The interpreter would make it possible for this undocumented worker's voice to reach the ears of the English audience with the same meaning and emotion in the worker's native Spanish...the same meaning and emotion in her heart.

As the worker told her story and her hope for a brighter future, the Spanish speakers in the audience cheered. As the interpreter translated, the English speakers understood, joined-in, and together their cheering shook the auditorium.