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Lost in translation, saved by smile

Countless volunteers from different universities of China have enrolled themselves in the volunteer programme for the Games, reports Indraneel Das.

world Updated: Aug 06, 2008 00:54 IST
Indraneel Das

Smiles! It cuts across language and all other barriers, perceived or real. They know how to smile and swoon on you offering help if they see you standing idle anywhere in Beijing. Even if you were thinking which foot to put forward, they come and ask you with a smile ‘need help’.

Countless volunteers from different universities of China have enrolled themselves in the volunteer programme for the Games. And they come in not just different shapes and sizes but also in different colours. The ones in red are the ones who are interning with the BOCOG (the organising committee). And the ones in blues are short-term volunteers utilising their vacations.

“We have been working for long hours, sometimes even till 10pm,” says one volunteer. “All for a good Games.” Some statements though are lost in translation. At times, English too seems Chinese, to foreigners certainly and perhaps to the volunteers too. So if we ask till what time you work, the answer might be ‘BOCOG, as volunteers.’

At such quadrennial showpieces though, it isn’t easy to be a volunteer. “We had to pass certain test for this,” said Zhai Yuan, a volunteer in blue at the Media Press Centre (accreditation division).

MPC, the lifeline

It will be our lifeline for the next 20 days. All our energy and all our blood will flow through this.

The building that can accommodate 5,600 media persons including photo journalists is as intimidating as the policemen who stand at attention from dawn to dusk without moving their heads.

The MPC, opened on July 25, will run 24x7 till the end of the Games (Paralympic Games which follow this), has a floor space of 62,000 square metres. The 1000-seater food court has a variety of dishes and drinks to choose from. More than 10,000 square metres of space have been let out to 144 press organisations, national Olympic committees and future Olympic organising committees.