At the gate of Liljana Arsovska’s yard, there hang a pair of red Chinese couplets.
“Every year my Chinese friends send me couplets, which is a bond between me and China,” said the renowned China expert from Mexico, who has served for times as the chief Chinese-Mexican interpreter for Mexican Presidents.
Arsovska was a simultaneous interpreter for the Mexican side when then Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping paid a visit to Mexico in February 2009.
“It was my first time doing simultaneous interpretation for such high-level officials. I was nervous but proud,” Arsovska said in a recent interview with People’s Daily.
“The confidence and humility of the Chinese leader have left a deep impression on the Mexicans,” she said.
Four years later, Xi, as the President of China, paid a state visit to Mexico, and Arsovska once again served as an interpreter.
She told People’s Daily that in a speech President Xi delivered to the Senate of Mexico, the Chinese President said he was a soccer fan and it brought himself much closer to the Mexican people.
She said she was sitting in an interpretation booth less than 50 meters away from Xi, and her excitement made her subconsciously raise the pitch of her speech. The loud voice of her coming out of the speakers even startled herself, she recalled.
Later, Arsovska went for accompanying interpretation for then Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Xi asked her with a smile whether it was her speaking in the interpretation booth, and praised her Chinese after learning that both Spanish and Chinese were not the mother tongue of the woman who was born in former Yugoslavia.
Arsovska never thought that a state leader would have a direct conversation with her to learn her stories. “I was too nervous to answer him. It was after President Nieto reminded me that I told President Xi that I had studied in China,” she said.
She noted that President Xi was very amiable and always kept a smile when listening to her. “He respected my job, which touched me so much. What he said and did demonstrated to me the unique charm of a Chinese leader,” Arsovska said.
During the Eighth G20 Leaders’ Summit held in Sept. 2013 and Nieto’s visit to China in 2014, Arsovska met Xi again as an simultaneous interpreter.
It was out of her expectation that Xi recognized her and warmly greeted her. “My palms were sweating and my heart was warmed,” she recalled.
“This was an acknowledgement from President Xi, and it encouraged me so much,” Arsovska said.
Arsovska has been paying close attention to China’s development over the years, and witnessed the constantly improving livelihood of the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
“China is expanding opening up and pursuing common progress, and has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, which benefited the Chinese people,” Arsovska told People’s Daily.
She said China’s development has set an example for Mexico, such as the construction of rural public infrastructure and integrating rural population into economic and social development.
Today, Arsovska’s youngest son Ivan has finished his study in China and settled in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen.
“He told me that he would not go back to Mexico because the 21st century is a century for China,” she told People’s Daily.
Arsovska has always been committed to the study of Chinese culture and translation. She has translated and published a number of contemporary Chinese literature works. Besides, she compiled Latin America’s first Chinese grammar textbook for Spanish readers. In 2014, she was awarded the eighth Special Book Award of China.
“I hope I can make more Spanish readers feel the development of China in literature and nurture more professionals for the future development of Mexico-China exchanges,” she said.
She hopes that China and Latin American countries, including Mexico, could further enhance their communication and cooperation and share with each other development experiences, so as to promote common development of more developing countries.
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