How did you become a translator in the European Parliament?
I trained first as a translator in Italy and then studied political science as a part-time job. When I moved back to Germany in 2010, I did a master's course on interpreting conferences and then applying to the EU. I've always seen politics exciting, and the EU is one of the biggest employers in the industry. This is a great organization for translators and interpreters. Since 2015, I have been working in the EU Parliament, translating plenary, committee, factions and delegation.
At that time you were already a member of the Greens, now you're even a candidate. Is political commitment compatible with your work?
I see no ethical contradiction here, and since I have been working on my own for the EU and am not a licensed translator, I am also a little more free. However, there is a strong duty to maintain confidentiality and the retention of social media – the overall aim is not to misrepresent the organization. There is more of a time problem, especially when I was still doing politics in Bonn and I had to be there more often.
How do colleagues see your political commitment?
Before my candidacy, that wasn't a bit of a matter, because most colleagues stopped political statements. In the election campaign, of course, my political commitment became known, and then it was talked about. Most have welcomed this and supported me. They believe it is great that a representative of the profession could move to the Senate. As far as I know, I am also the first Parliamentary interpreter to go on that route.
Is it difficult for you to translate views that contradict your opinion?
That 's happening, but part of the job. After New Year's Eve Cologne 2016 Marine Le Pen wanted to give a press conference on this topic, I was divided. In this situation, I prayed that the appointment will be canceled. Shortly before the start, it was pulled out of the program, because I was very grateful.
What did you learn from your job and would help you as a Member?
Personal relationships are very important, particularly in the EU Parliament, where there is no clear division between the government and opposition parties. And I have received great respect for the complexity of the institutions. In the criticism that the EU is too complex and too far from the citizens, there is a truth of truth. But overall, the EU is a huge compromise machine that finds solutions to controversial issues that led to war at one time.
How big is the language barrier in the European Parliament?
It's difficult for people who don't speak English, but that's not often. On formal occasions interpreted, there are few language barriers as the language service is very good. But interpersonal relationships are harder to maintain and understand the situation in the countries of origin of colleagues.
How would working in the European Parliament change if every Member had to speak the same language?
It would be very superficial in terms of language and content, because you can express yourself best in your mother tongue. However, when everyone speaks English at a meeting, not everyone understands, because everyone with their language skills interprets what they say differently. And there is a social element: good English is spoken primarily by people from privileged backgrounds. People who, for example, cannot afford to stay abroad during school time would then be disadvantaged in political competition.
Recent surveys suggest that this could be enough for you to move into the European Parliament. How do you see your chances?
I'm confident, but if we didn't work, we'll continue to work as a translator. At the back, we will certainly lose the work behind the glass but also a little.