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Aldrin’s July 20 article, “40 years on, time to boldly homestead Mars,” was very impressive because 1969 was the year I started work. I was all ears to the moon-landing scene on television, but would hardly have been able to understand it without the simultaneous interpretation skill of Sen Nishiyama.

Born of Japanese parents in Utah, Nishiyama studied electronics at graduate school. Without that scientific background, he could not have done such a good job as an interpreter. He had become a Japanese citizen in 1935 and worked for the GHQ after the war. He was an interpreter for the late Edwin O. Reischauer, the historian at Harvard.

Nishiyama once said: “A good interpreter must be bicultural. Being bilingual is not enough.”

Following his interpretation of the Apollo 11 event, the benefits of “simultaneous interpretation” became known to the general public. We lost that great interpreter in July 2007.

masayuki aihara

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