DONALD Trump is set to sit down for top-level talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin as the pair meet in Helsinki.
But how will the pair communicate? We explain.
Where is Donald meeting Vladimir?
The two world leaders are getting ready to meet in the Finnish capital today.
The capital played host to major Cold War summits between leaders such as Leonid Breznhev and Gerald Ford in 1975 and Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush Snr in 1990 before going on to host a meeting between Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton in 1997.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in a statement that Russia and the US had only been in touch with him about the summit last week, adding that he hoped Putin and Trump would discuss arms control and pay heed to his own concerns about tensions in the Baltic Sea region.
Do they both speak English?
The two leaders will meet one-on-one for around 90 minutes and will only be joined by their interpreters.
Vladimir Putin is said to speak English rather well, so his use of translators has often been under scrutiny.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained: “In free discourse, at the sidelines of summits, he often speaks in English by himself.
“But during negotiations and when he is conducting an official meeting, of course he communicates through a translator.
“However, he practically understands English completely and sometimes even corrects the translators.”
It has been suggested that Putin is not completely comfortable communicating in English in public, but is happy to speak in German during official meetings.
Will they have interpreters?
Interpreters are often government staffers who have been in the company of politicians and world leaders for a significant length of time.
In any meeting with a foreign leader, the anonymous figures who facilitate communication aren’t just there to transfer words between languages.
They can also function as failsafes, fact-checkers, and even as confidants—especially for inexperienced presidents like Trump.
Like anyone else in a sensitive meeting, an interpreter must have high security clearance.
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He or she will also have received all the same briefing books as the president, which is essential for the interpreter to understand the nuances of the information discussed as well as the vocabulary.
It also means that the interpreter can catch minor factual errors or slips of the tongue, acting as a crutch to the world leader.
While it is unknown where today’s interpreters will be sourced from, White House interpreters are provided by the Office of Language Services, which tests them on general knowledge before they land a translation gig.
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