|Andrey Kutuzov’s facility with languages and his background in agriculture and human and economic geography made him a natural choice for Expo’s pool of translators.
His official job title is interpreter. But as Andrey Kutuzov sees it, there’s a lot more to the work he does during World Dairy Expo than simply translating words from one language into another.
“This job is about helping people,” says Kutuzov, who has been working as an interpreter at Expo for more than 10 years. “We’re here to create an inviting atmosphere that makes people feel welcome.”
“People come to this show from all over the world. One of the things they’ll remember about their trip is how friendly their hosts were. Having someone here who can talk to them in their own language sends the message that they are very special guests.”
Kutuzov, who speaks Russian and has a working knowledge of several other languages, is part of a pool of translators working at Expo each year. Their primary duties are to welcome international visitors, help them check in at the International Registration desk, answer questions about World Dairy Expo and provide directions around the Expo grounds. They can also be called upon to provide interpretation between commercial exhibitors and international visitors.
“We have an experienced group that understands the dairy industry and the jargon associated with it,” says Expo Communications Manager Liz Matzke. “They know how to assist in running a business meeting or explain new technologies. They’re invaluable to anyone involved with commerce at World Dairy Expo.”
Expo staffers work with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to recruit and supervise interpreters. Notices are sent to the University of Wisconsin, locally based international trade associations and a variety of international contacts in the area to build a team of qualified interpreters. “Along with the language skills, we look for people who are outgoing and personable,” says Lisa Stout, an agricultural marketing specialist with DATCP who coordinates international registration activities at Expo.
In 2009, more than 2,500 international guests from 91 countries attended Expo. “We’re not able to have an interpreter for every language,” Stout says, “but we try to cover the languages spoken most by visitors.”
The interpreters come from a variety of backgrounds. Kutuzov is a native of Moscow who moved to the U.S. 15 years ago. After a stint at a university in Texas, he worked several years as a business/technical interpreter for a San Francisco–based organization that hosts educational tours for Russian businesspeople. He has also worked at the University of Wisconsin and now runs his own consulting firm in Madison.
Working as an interpreter at Expo gives him an opportunity to put a variety of training and experiences to work in a setting he enjoys. “I have a background in agriculture and my doctorate is in human and economic geography,” Kutuzov says. “For someone like me, there’s no better place to be than World Dairy Expo. There are so many interesting issues involving agriculture here, and I get the chance to meet and communicate with people from all over. I love coming to this show.”