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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The June 2003 entrée: Ted Lesley » » Extreme Language Diversity » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Portland, Oregon, USA
941 Posts

Profile of cfrye
Dear Ted,

As a typical American who speaks only one language well enough to address an audience, I fear the day when I am on a cruise ship and an equal number of representatives from each EU country come to my show.

Aside from speaking English, which I guess is the "international standard", what can one do to remove the language barriers?
Ted Lesley
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Berlin / Germany
421 Posts

Profile of Ted Lesley
Dear Curt,
Not every magician or mentalist is also a genius in languages. In Europe I know two only: The pickpocket Borra (who passed on two years ago) and Paul Potassy. Both spoke resp. speak 6 to 8 languages fluently. My teacher and friend the late Dany Ray, who spoke a few languages too learned the patter for his act in a new language by heart. So he could even address Japanese people. The trouble was, he could not answer in that particulaer language.

As I was still working in the "New Eden" nightclub here in Berlin, we had the "nightrclub Tour" coming in every night. That was a bus full of tourists from England; USA, Spain, Norway; Finland; Italy and so on. The tourist´s guide had a translator for the particular language on board and I asked him to sit on a chair onstage to translate the patter of my act simultaneously. These tranlators could be very funny on stage and we enjoyed ourselfes every time.

Maybe it gives you an idea, what can be done with a little bit of thinking. I agree, it isn`t easy, because with a bad translator your loose your whole timing, but make sure, that the audience can at least guess what you`re talking about. Maybe this gives you a couple of ideas, what to do or not.


TED Smile
Ted Lesley

( The "Victor Borge" of Mentalism )
Richard Osterlind
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2214 Posts

Profile of Richard Osterlind

You are so right about having a good translator. A couple of years ago I appeared in Bejing for 600 Chinese businessmen who didn't speak English. I had a brilliant young girl acting as my translator and it was wonderful. Not only did she translate my words, but expressed extreme amazement whenever it was appropriate. I think that is the key. Not to just get someone to translate your words, but to act totally delighted and bewildered whenever something happens. That becomes infectious and enhances the show tremendously.
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