Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Interpreting for the Court of Justice


Marina Pascual Olaguibel (MACI '99) interprets for the Court of Justice in Luxembourg

September 12, 2012

As an interpeter for the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg, Marina Pascual Olaguibel (MACI '99) has a professionally challenging job. She works with judges, lawyers and legal experts, interpreting oral submissions simultaneously that contain complex legal reasonings.

"I must do justice to the arguments of the parties, no matter how nuanced or ambiguous they may be," Marina says. "My job is to convey in Spanish the oral submissions of the parties and to do so naturally and fluently, reflecting the delivery, tone and emphasis of the speaker."

Marina is one member of a "tailor-made" team of interpreters that make communication possible during these multilingual hearings.

"For someone who enjoys communication as much as I do, working in a multilingual and international environment like the Court of Justice is ideal," she says.

Since the Court of Justice is the highest court in the European Union on matters of European Union law, Marina deals with high-level cases.  To get ready, she spends hours looking up the relevant legislation and case law, preparing terminology and getting a grasp of the legal issues at stake.

"The hearing is just the tip of the iceberg," she says. "Interpreting what may be a relatively short oral hearing is the culmination of lengthy and meticulous preparation in our offices."

Marina says that many of the tools she uses at the Court of Justice, she learned during her time in the Conference Interpretation program at the Monterey Institute.

"The materials used in the classroom were extremely relevant and reflected what a real interpreting assignment looks like in the professional world," says Marina, who was a Fulbright scholar. "MIIS taught me how to work with texts in the booth that are given to the interpreter at the very last minute, a skill that is essential for my work at the Court of Justice."

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