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To Have or Not To Have an Interpreter for Beauty Pageants


“Is it fair to have an interpreter in a beauty pageant?”

With the most beautiful day in the universe coming once again this November 9, this long standing debate lives once again.

Throughout the years, more than 60 countries have been competing in the most awaited pageant of the year. There is no doubt that the Miss Universe pageant is among the rare opportunities for every race and culture to mingle and communicate to the rest of the world. This also serves as the avenue to find the most beautiful girl in the world – beautiful not just physically but also intellectually in her ability to represent not just her country but any nation in the world.

The pros and cons of translation in pageants

There are those contestants who have undergone rigorous training in the art of beauty pageant. And to us spectators, we often say or ask: Isn’t speaking and understanding English part of their training?

People have remarked that representatives from English-speaking countries are lucky that one challenge has been conquered and that is addressing the world in the language that everyone can understand. While those who have adopted the language as their second language are given much praise for the effort they have given to find ways to communicate with the rest of the world.

On the other hand, by having the contestant speak in her native language and have an interpreter translate the question and answer for her, she is able to do her goal in the pageant – to promote her country and boost the morale of her people. This act of pride in using her own language shows how much she values her culture.

To have or not to have an Interpreter

Yes, having an interpreter gives the contestant much confidence and even a few seconds to collect her thoughts. There have also been instances where viewers would say that it’s actually the interpreter who’s answering for her. These are a few reasons why fairness in having a translator present has been much debated.

In answer to those accusations, as long as professionals who offer their translation services are up on that stage, they would not compromise their work ethics on live television just to have their country representative win the pageant.

In last year’s pageant, Miss Philippines was asked:  “As an international ambassador, do you think that speaking English should be a prerequisite for Miss Universe? Why or why not?” which she answered with “For me, Miss Universe is not about being able to speak a particular language, it’s about being able to influence and inspire other people. No matter what language you have as long as you have the heart, you can inspire other people.”

So, let me ask you again: Is it fair to have an interpreter in a beauty pageant? Let’s all tune up to our televisions and watch how the next Miss Universe would face this debate.

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