Foreign interpreters reportedly taking over the role of local guides in Angkor

The demand for interpreters, particularly Korean interpreters, have become so high that official guides at Angkor have reported being relegated to the role of porters as foreign interpreters take up the role of guiding over what is supposed to be a local role.

Angkor guides turn into porters [Link no longer active]
TR Weekly, 03 Sep 2012

Authorities are worried that tour guides are being treated badly by Korean interpreters who fill in when there are no Korean speaking tour guides available.

Provincial tourism authorities claim registered tour guides are being relegated to the role of porters. They admit there is a shortage of guides who can speak Korean, but they reiterated the law clearly stipulates the job of guiding must be carried out by Cambodians and not by foreigners.

Local guides blame the so-called Korean interpreters who they claim treat Cambodian guides badly and ask them to carry water and umbrellas for tourists. The interpreters explain the significance of the temples directly to Korean tourists rather than just translating on behalf of the guide.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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