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News Brief

December 23, 1928
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Among the figures at the Pan-American Arbitration Conference in session here, trying to avert war between Bolivia and Paraguay, is Benjamin Cohen. Mr. Cohen is the chief of the Bureau of Translators and Interpreters for the Conference and in this capacity has been daily interpreting the sessions of the conference from Spanish into English and vice versa. Mr. Cohen’s linguistic ability has attracted notice in the press. The “Evening Star” carried a feature story about Mr. Cohen, who was born in Chili. His parents came from Russia to settle in the new country.

Mr. Cohen is former secretary of the Chilean legation. From a lengthy experience with South American affairs he is able to keep abreast of the latest developments in Latin America. This is his second important post at an international conference. He served in a similar capacity at the Pan-American conference at Havana last year.

For this service he was given a vote of thanks by the conference, on motion of Charles Evans Hughes, former Secretary of State. He is a member of the faculty of the Georgetown Foreign Service School and bears the title of chief of the bureau of translators and interpreters.

Through Mr. Cohen by a special arrangement of earphones and a portable telephone, delegates and newspaper men are kept in immediate touch with developments, no matter what language may be used. The man behind the telephone or microphone is the all-important link in the chain of communication.

On the tables at which the delegates sit are small car telephone receivers, which they may clamp to their heads. As the delegates or secretaries speak or read, Mr. Cohen whispers into the phone a translation of the subject in Spanish or English. So quickly does he translate that when the speaker has finished, his translation usually is only three or four words behind the speaker.

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