Interpreters and translations at the Sanremo Festival: the professionals who lend their voices to top VIPs

The stage of the Ariston Theater in Sanremo hosts world-famous VIPs every year during the Italian Song Festival. Here is who is behind the "Italian voices" of the Stars!

Year after year, the Sanremo Italian Song Festival confirms itself as a media event of the highest importance, where music definitely remains the main theme, flanked by a 360° show full of sketches and interventions by the various personalities invited by the artistic director.

Separate space is reserved for the most important VIPs, usually Hollywood "stars" or world-famous international singers. Rarely do any of these personalities know the Italian language in such a way as to be able to interject on stage with the presenters. Here, then, comes the figure of the interpreter, in this case a professional who offers simultaneous interpreting services to voice the VIP's responses.

Still, it sounds a bit strange in 2024 to find a presenter on the stage of the Ariston Theater needing an English-speaking interpreter to have a chat with an international guest in front of the audience of such a high-profile event with such a large following.

One obviously always expects the best from the most important program on Rai's schedule. Yet, although the host-in this case Amadeus-welcomes guests on stage with a few words in English, there is always the voice of an interpreter from backstage translating the dialogue between host and guest.

In fact, the presence of a professional interpreter is always essential, especially at these levels, even if the host (or co-host) demonstrates that they can speak the same language as the guest and can translate their dialogue.

It is not their job, they are there to present and host the program, it is only right that the role of interpreter is given to a professional in the field, who can guarantee the fidelity of the translation, while also taking responsibility for what is translated live worldwide.

Yet, exactly 20 years ago, a host acted as an interpreter on stage during the speaking of a guest. It was 2004, the Sanremo Festival was hosted by Simona Ventura, Gene Gnocchi, Maurizio Crozza and Paola Cortellesi. That year's guest: Dustin Hoffman, who read (in English) "If," the famous poem by Rudyard Kipling. In this case, Gnocchi translated "in his own way" the poem recited by the American actor, inserting (jokingly) in the translation references to Berlusconi, Del Noce and Moratti.

Congressi Internazionali, a leading agency in the field of interpreting for meetings, congresses, press conferences and many other events, provides its clients with a network of professional interpreters of the highest level, figures who have nothing to envy to those who have already worked in RAI and who maybe, one day, will be able to lend their voice by one of the VIP guests of the Sanremo Festival.

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