Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Totem profiles: Maggie LiuWei

Maggie LiuWei is the Chinese interpreter on Totem. She is 30 years old and from Beijing.  An only child, Maggie grew up in a small town, and attended boarding school.  (She settled in Beijing as an adult).  She studied English at school, and later at college, but found herself, after graduating, unsure of what she wanted to do next.

Maggie held a variety of jobs in her early 20s - she worked for a paralegal, and then for a radio station, writing English news stories.  But then she saw an ad - CPAA, an agency that provides interpreters for Cirque du Soleil, was seeking an interpreter for Zed in Japan.  Maggie applied, got the job, and spent the next year in Japan, assisting the Chinese lasso act in the show.  Fortunately, she speaks Japanese as well.

Zed closed after a year, and Maggie was transferred to Quidam, to work with the diabolo act during the arena tour.  She accompanied the 4 girls in the act for almost a year, and then, when that act changed, she was sent to Montreal, and began working with our new group of Chinese unicyclists in January 2013.  They all arrived at Totem shortly thereafter.

One of the challenges of being an interpreter is that Maggie needs to take care of her charges at work and at home - she is essentially available to them 24/7.  Most of our unicyclists cannot communicate in English on their own.  They tend to stay close together, a tightly-knit group, and Maggie is their liaison to the rest of the world.

Maggie says the best part of the job is the travel, being able to see so many different parts of the world.  It's fun, dynamic, and very different from a regular office job!

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