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IIB Helps Old Friends Reconnect

By June 21, 2023No Comments


Letters Translated by IIB's Interpretation and Translation Department

The International Institute of Buffalo recently played a petit part in a special friendship nearly six decades in the making! Our Interpreting & Translation Department assisted Buffalonian Willie Roberson by sight translating letters written in French from an old friend he met while serving in the military in the 1960s.

Mr. Roberson first met his friend, Françoise, while on active duty in the U.S. Air Force in France during the Vietnam War in 1965 . As a civil engineering squadron member, Willie ensured his military base’s plumbing, heating, and maintenance needs were up to snuff.

Françoise, a local girl, was introduced to Willie by one of the American military couples she babysat for. The two formed a strong friendship that included dinners at Françoise’s house and her father’s gripping stories of French resistance to German occupation during World War II. That bond was prematurely cut short when Willie was reassigned to Spain in 1966, following French President Charles de Gaulle’s decisions to downgrade France’s membership in NATO and close American military bases. While Françoise wanted to join Willie in Spain, she could not.

Fast forward some 55 years, Willie started receiving international mail from his long-lost friend. Françoise first contacted a couple of local folks with the same name before she could finally pin down and reconnect with her friend. These days, Willie and Françoise stay connected as pen pals, with Françoise’s letters written in French and translated to English for him by the International Institute of Buffalo.

The International Institute of Buffalo provides reliable, quality foreign language interpreting and translation in more than 100 languages. These services may be requested at any time, 24 hours per day, seven days a week, and by multiple delivery methods: onsite, video remote, and telephone.

You can click here to learn more or request interpreting or translation services.