Best Spanish-English Interpreter

Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle

Critics' Picks

If you attended any of the dozens of recent school-closing hearings, you know all about Ginsberg-Jaeckle. He's the fellow at the front doing the heavy-duty English-Spanish translation. "I was at one school-closing hearing every night for a full month at one stretch." A graduate of the University of Chicago, Ginsberg-Jaeckle, 30, learned to speak Spanish during the years he lived in Honduras. In addition to the school-closing hearings, he interprets for local hospitals. "The key to interpreting is to keep a sharp focus," he says. "I sort of enter a zone. I pick a space to stare off to and let things come into my ear. I try not to intrude. I'll use natural pauses that people have in speaking so I take up as little time as possible." When it comes to politics, he's left-of-center. But he doesn't let that influence his interpreting. "Obviously, we have our own perspectives. But you have to tune that out. You have to respect the autonomy of the speakers—reflecting their tone of voice and volume level—even if you don't agree with what they're saying."