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Vol.9, Issue 2, 2023, pp. 147-168 Full text

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Web of Science: 001131896300002

Boris Naimushin

Affiliation: New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria 002qhr126

This text launches a series of articles under the image-based project 'With the Aid of an Unidentified Interpreter: Putting Names to Faces on Historical Photos' dedicated to the history of high-level interpreting. Here, the quest is to identify the interpreter at the two encounters between Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro at Harlem's Hotel Theresa and at the Soviet Mission in New York on 20 and 23 September 1960 based on a photo from the personal archive of Khrushchev's assistant Vladimir Lebedev. This interpreter turned out to be Menia Martínez, a historic figure in Cuban ballet. Educated at the Vaganova School in St. Petersburg (Leningrad), she was proficient in Russian. The text looks at other professional and unprofessional interpreters who worked with the two leaders before, on, and after this trip to New York and whose work contributed to the development of Cuban-Soviet and East-West relations. The discussion draws on available visuals, memoirs, newspaper sources, and unclassified documents placing the discussion in the wider context of international relations at the time. The author is grateful to Menia Martínez, who, in a telephone conversation, has helped in clarifying some of the aspects of the matter under investigation.

Keywords: consecutive interpreting, history of conference interpreting, high-level meeting, translation studies, image-based research, autobiographical subjectivity

Article history:
Submitted: 15 October 2023
Reviewed: 4 November 2023
Accepted: 30 November 2023
Published: 20 December 2023

Citation (APA):
Naimushin, B. (2023). It Takes Three to Tango: How a Cuban Ballerina Interpreted for Castro and Khrushchev. English Studies at NBU, 9(2), 147-168.

Copyright © 2023 Boris Naimushin

This open access article is published and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0), which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. If you want to use the work commercially, you must first get the authors' permission.

1 An earlier and partial version of this paper was presented at the Applied Linguistics: Current Trends and Prospects Conference, 18-19 November 2023, St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia.

2 The author and publisher may have not traced properly the copyright holders for the photographs before publication and apologize for this apparent negligence. If notified, the publisher will be pleased to rectify any errors or omissions at the earliest opportunity.

Acknowledgments: I thank Dida Stadler, Germanic & Slavic Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, USA, for her expertise and assistance throughout this quest.



1. Reviewer's name: Name undisclosed, Independent Researcher, UK
Review Content: Undisclosed
Review Verified on Publons

2. Reviewer's name: Rick Broadaway, Prof., Kanazawa Seiryo University, Japan
Review Content: Undisclosed
Review Verified on Publons

Handling Editor: Stan Bogdanov, New Bulgarian University
Verified Editor Record on Publons

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