A. Listen to the first part of an interview with Dagmara and answer questions.

 Who do you think the man and the woman are?

 Where do you think they are?

 What film do you think was being made?

 What do you think is happening?

B. Listen again and answers these questions.

1   Where does Dagmara live?

2   What was she doing before the shooting of the film started?

3   Was that her real job?

4   Where did she meet Spielberg?

5   What did she have to do there? Why?

6   How well did she do it?

7   What happened afterwards?



 The man is Steven Spielberg and the woman is Dagmara, a Polish student.

 They are on a film set.

 The film is Schindler’s List.

 They are talking to the Polish ‘extras’. Dagmara is interpreting for Spielberg, i.e. he is speaking in English and Dagmara will then give his instruction in Polish.


1   In Krakow in Poland.

2   She was working in the film company’s office, translating documents and parts of the script.

3   No, she was a student at the time.

4   At a party, just before the shooting started.

5   She had to translate Spielberg’s speech because the girl who was going to do it didn’t come.

6   She was very nervous and she made some mistakes but she got to the end.

7   Spielberg thanked her and asked her to be his interpreter for the film.


I = Interviewer, D = Dagmara

I    So how did you get involved in the film, Dagmara?

D   Well, as you probably know, a lot of the film Schindler’s List was shot in Krakow, in Poland, which is where I live. And before the actual shooting of the film started, the film company had an office in Krakow and I got a job there translating documents and parts of the script – things like that – I was a university student at the time.

I    But how did you get the job as Spielberg’s interpreter in the film?

D   It’s a funny story. I didn’t think I would ever get to meet Spielberg or any of the actors. But then, just before the shooting started, there was a big party in one of the hotels in Krakow and I was invited. At first, I wasn’t going to go – I was tired after working all day, and I didn’t think I had anything suitable to wear. But in the end, I borrowed a jacket from a friend and I went. But when I arrived at the party, the producer – who was Polish – came up to me and said, ‘Dagmara, you’re going to interpret for Steven Spielberg. You have to translate his opening speech, because the girl who was going to do it couldn’t come.’

I    How did you feel about that?

D   I couldn’t believe it! I was just a student – I had no experience of interpreting – and now I was going to have to speak in front of hundreds of people. I was nervous so I drank a couple glasses of champagne to give myself courage. But when I started speaking, I was so nervous that I confused the dates of the Second World War – but luckily I managed to get to the end without making any more mistakes.

And afterwards, during the party, Spielberg came up to speak to me to say thank you – he was really nice to me and said he was impressed by the way I had interpreted. And then he said, ‘I’d like you to be my interpreter for the whole film.’ I couldn’t believe it. I had to pinch myself to believe that this was happening to me.

C. Now listen to the second part of the interview and then make notes under the headings below.

What she had to do during the film

      go to the film set every day, translate

The most difficult thing about the job

The worst moment

What is was like to work with Spielberg

Her opinion of the film

How she feels when she watches the film.


The most difficult thing about the job

When they had to shoot a scene many times. She thought it was her fault – maybe she hadn’t translated correctly.

The worst moment

Once when they repeated a scene many times Spielberg got angry and shouted at her. Later he apologized.

What is was like to work with Spielberg

He was demanding but he treated her well – like a daughter, e.g. he made sure she was warm enough. It was hard work but she enjoyed it.

Her opinion of the film

She thinks it’s great, a masterpiece. The actors were brilliant. She likes the way it was mainly shot in black and white.

How she feels when she watches the film.

She can’t be objective. She remembers where she was in each scene, perhaps hiding under the bed.


I    So what exactly did you have to do?

D   I had to go to the film set every day. A car came every day to pick me up from my house – I felt really important! And then what I had to do was to translate Spielberg’s instructions to the Polish actors, as well as the extras. I had to make them understand what he wanted. It was really exciting – sometimes I felt as if I was a director myself.

I    Was it a difficult job?

D   Sometimes it was really difficult. The worst thing was when we kept having to shoot a scene again and again because Spielberg thought it wasn’t exactly right. Some scenes were repeated as many as 16 times – and then sometimes I would think that maybe it was my fault – that I hadn’t translated properly what he wanted, so I’d get really nervous. I remember one scene where we just couldn’t get it right and Spielberg started shouting at me because he was stressed. But in the end we got in right and then he apologized, and I cried a little, because I was also very stressed – and after that, it was right again.

I    So, was Spielberg difficult to work with?

D   Not at all. I mean he was very demanding – I had to do my best every day – but he was really nice to me. I felt he treated me like a daughter. For instance, he was always making sure that I wasn’t cold – it was freezing on the set most of the time – and he would make sure I had a warm coat and gloves and things. It was hard work but it was fascinating – an amazing experience.

I    What did you think of the finished film?

D   I believe that Schindler’s List is truly a great movie, a masterpiece. I think the actors were brilliant, especially Liam Neeson and Ben Kingsley – and I love the way it was shot in black and white, with colour in just one scene.

But, as you can imagine, I can’t be very objective about it – I mean, I lived through nearly every scene. And when I watch it – and I’ve seen it a lot of times – I always remember exactly where I was at that moment. I can’t help thinking, ‘Oh there I am, hiding under the bed, or standing behind that door.’

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This