News Release

Gifted Tongues

Talented Volunteers Interpret April General Conference Messages into Hindi

While thousands of people gathered in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday morning to listen to the first session of the two-day General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, teams of interpreters across the globe were gearing up to deliver the messages of prophets and apostles to millions more in 94 different languages.

In New Delhi, it was amost 9:00 p.m. and Arpit Pandey, Indic Language Coordinator for the Publishing Services Department of the Church, had assembled his team to interpret the Saturday morning session.  Pandey is in charge of the translation of Conference into Hindi, Telagu and Tamil as well as interpretation teams for Hindi and Telagu.  Tonight he is working with a group of interpreters and technicians who coordinate with teams in Salt Lake City to produce a Hindi version of the proceedings.

"This is a big deal," he explains, "to give voice to the prophet, the twelve apostles and other general authorities.  For members of the Church, these talks are on par with sacred scripture.  It's important that we get it right."

To that end, preparation for the night's work began several weeks ago when the Hindi translation team in Delhi led by Ravinder Dangwal, received the talks from headquarters in Salt Lake City.  Translating the material from English into Hindi, they produced a text for each talk dividing it into segments to make it easier to follow.

Saturday and Sunday night, volunteer interpreters simultaneously read the Hindi translations while listening to the talks as they were delivered in English and interpreted them into Hindi, being careful to pick up any deviations from the translations.  Using special Tieline technology, interpretations are tranasmitted back to the Conference Center where the audio is combined with video and made available online.

The work was stressful, and the team was at it until 3:30 a.m. Sunday and Monday morning, but the atmosphere was festive.

This was 21-year-old Sam Massey's first time to interpret for General conference, and he was nervious.  "I think of it as a sacred thing that I have to do perfectly," he said.  "I was shaking."

"I did two talks on Saturday night.  The first one went perfectly, but I got ahead of the speaker during the second talk.  Overall, I did fine, but not excellent."

"Sam did an awesome job," Pandey says reassuringly, "its nerve-wracking work.  No one speaks slowly.  It's all very fast."

One of the most experienced interpreters is Pushp Narayan Mishra who has been volunteering since Octobr 2012 when the program first started in New Delhi.  He has studied Sanskrit as well as Hindi and English and because of his fluency is usually assigned to interpret for the fastest speakers.  This weekend he was the voice of Russell M. Nelson, Prophet and President of the Church.  Last April, as the voice for President Nelson, Mishra announced the temple in India.

Mishra explains why he loves interpreting for Conference.  "I feel close to the Church leaders, becuase I give voice to them and because their talks are released to us first.  We know what they are going to say before anyone else."  He continues, "I also like to hear myslef speak and hear how I need to imporve.  People know who I am and give me feedback, which is great.  It's all about getting better."

Renu Singh, the only woman interpreting for this Conference, has also been with the Hindi team since its inception.  She continues to volunteer becasue, she explains, she loves how it makes her feel.

"There is something special I feel when I interpret, like, 'This is right, this is good.'  Even when I have to read, listen, and speak all at the same time--when I am working very hard mentally, I still feel the Spirit."

Renu feels very fortunate to have met some of the women for whom she has interpreted.  "It makes it extra special," she says, "when I am the voice for someone I have acutally met.  There is a real connection."

Twenty two-year old Vishal Vikar, a law student, joined the team five years ago.  "It has been a good experience so far," he says.  "Often the talks assigned to me relate to me and what I am going through."

"Last April, I met with an accident right before Conference.  I crashed on my bike and was pretty banged up.  I still came and interpreted and was glad I did.  This is good, I have a wonderful time."

When asked if he will volunteer again next year, he answers, "I wouldn't miss it!"

April General Conference has also been interpreted in Telagu and Tamil.  These, along with the Hindi version can be found at  Choose your language by clicking on the icon of the globe in the upper right corner of the page.

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