Dec 31 2004

Thirty Languages, One Phrase: ‘Let’s Help’

Published by at December 31, 2004 4:40 pm under Interpretation

German, Thai, English, French, – you name the language, there’s likely to be a volunteer on the Thai vacation island of Phuket speaking it.

[Interpreters] are key aid workers in tsunami-stricken southern Thailand, where people of some 40 nationalities were on vacation when the waves hit.

Many of the multilingual helpers advertise their linguistic skills by writing the languages they speak on their T-shirt for all to read.

“We have just about every imaginable language, from English to this Russian dialect from Kazakhstan,” said Tony Carney, of Louisville, Kentucky, who has been coordinating the Phuket Relief Center’s volunteers.

Carney, an actor and television producer who has been living in Thailand for 13 years, speaks English, Thai, French and Spanish.

Other [interpreters] are tourists, volunteers who flew here to help, and multilingual Thais keen to contribute to the relief effort any way they can.

“Even though I hear a hundred different languages a day, it’s all the same thing, “Let’s help each other,” said Carney.

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