Listen like a foreign language interpreter - Learn the secrets stories of how deep listening and interpretation help with World War II in Poland from Christina Rostworowski da Costa


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Christina Rostworowski da Costa is a professional interpreter and translator from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Christina translates Portuguese, English, French, and Italian. She has worked in boardrooms, meeting rooms, and a variety of venues as she helps translate meetings, deals, high-stakes negotiations, and even arbitration.

Today, Christina shares tips, tricks, and hacks on how to listen deeply and be empathetic without letting that cloud her interpretation of the words. She talks about breathing technique and being completely available to the conversation. The goal is to stay focused on the content and the person speaking. She also shares a story of poise and heroism about her grandmother who was a secret agent and translator in Poland during World War II.

Today’s Topics:

  • The difference between an interpreter and a translator.
  • How Christina was raised in a bilingual environment and switching languages was common.
  • Christina shares how her grandmother was a key interpreter helping the Allies in World War II Poland.
  • How Christina prepares and handles the pressure of interpreting for high-stakes corporate meetings.
  • Christina meditates every morning where she sits down and focuses and pictures the day ahead of her.
  • Examples of vocal exercises that Christina uses to warm up her voice.
  • Deep listening and synchronizing your breath with the speaker.
  • The silence of the interpretation booth and connecting to the speaker.
  • The challenge of dealing with jokes and curse words.
  • How it is key to establish initial contact with the speaker.
  • Taking on different tones and intonations for each speaker.
  • The differences between listening, understanding, and remembering.
  • Interpreters can’t be distracted and can’t waste their focus.
  • The four listening types: the lost listener, the shrewd listener, the interrupting listener, and the dramatic listener.

Links and Resources:


“In theory, interpretation should be unbiased, yet it is a challenge.” Christina Rostworowski da Costa

“Part of what I do is engage with the person and connect in one way or another.” Christina Rostworowski da Costa

“Breathing is absolutely essential. I go through the classic meditation and breathing routine.” Christina Rostworowski da Costa

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