Professional interpreters have always played an important part in international relations. They have been around since time immemorial the history of the profession has been chronicled in a range of articles.

The History of Interpreting

Experienced conference interpreter and interpreter trainer Christine Adams is writing a series of articles on the history of interpreting. Entitled “Looking for Interpreter Zero”, it outlines the history of the profession by tracing individual interpreters who found their way onto the pages of history.

We would like to thank Christine Adams for allowing us to publish these articles about some of the earliest interpreters in Asia-Pacific:

The complete series of “Looking for Interpreter Zero” can be found here.

Sekretärin Elly Kupfer erklärt die Handhabung der Dolmetschanlage
Photo credit: National Archives, College Park, MD and

One Trial – Four Languages

Simultaneous interpreting as we know it today was first used at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals in 1945-46. To allow these legal proceedings to take place in four languages – English, French, German and Russian –a ground-breaking approach was adopted involving the virtually unknown technique of simultaneous interpreting.

You will find a wealth of information about the birth of a profession at Nuremberg and the pioneers of simultaneous interpreting at the One Trial – Four Languages website. This extensive project by the non-profit association “Conference Interpreting – Past, Present, Future” is promoted by AIIC and includes an exhibition and historical research.

History of AIIC

Learn more about the history of the conference interpreting profession and of AIIC!