With just hours left for the start of the Second World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Yao Chunyan, 23, is on tenterhooks. Her nervousness is understandable as she is one of the volunteers providing interpretation services to high-profile guests at the summit.
"I am honored to get the chance and cannot wait to showcase my abilities," said Yao, who works as an English teacher at a middle school in Tongxiang, Zhejiang province. She said the last few months have been a buzz of activity as she was honing her language capabilities ahead of the summit.
"I always have a notebook with me so that I can jot down and memorize the phrases, accents and vocabulary that I could encounter during interpretation. I have never been this obsessed with English," she said.
Yao is one of the 259 volunteers who will be providing one-to-one interpretation services at the summit. In addition to English, the volunteers can provide interpretation services in 10 other languages.
Chen Xiaolei, who is in charge of the volunteers, said their training has been stepped up this year due to the presence of several high-profile delegates.
"Language proficiency alone is not enough to be a qualified volunteer. They need to have thorough knowledge about the cultural and economic development of Wuzhen and about the Internet industry," he said.
Chen said that out of the nearly 7,000 applicants for volunteer positions this year, only 994 were selected.
"However, the number of volunteers is almost doubled that of last year, which was 590," he said. "Most of them are from the 15 universities in Zhejiang province."
The volunteers, divided into different groups like interpreters and security professionals, gathered for three rounds of training from Nov 21.
Luo Qinyu, a 19-year old with the security group, said he is ready to take on more responsibilities. A sophomore at the Zhejiang Police Vocational Academy, Luo said he receives daily training on several aspects including one-on-one combat.
While the volunteers are well-prepared for the big event, high-tech equipment is also making the job on the ground more easier.
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