These are the translator booths for the plenary sessions of General Conference. There are also translator booths in each of the committee meeting rooms.
The work of translating the work of General Conference for delegates is a daunting task. Not only are there translators at the plenary sessions, but in every committee and sub committee. Translators assist non-English speakers by translating what they hear and what they want to say. I have had the opportunity to speak in a committee. I spoke carefully, pausing between each phrase. Since every word must be translated, proceedings can be slow going. In addition, often translators or non-English speakers are asking English speakers to slow down. It makes for some confusion and frustration for all.
But there is another kind of "confusion" that is delightful and Spirit-filled happening here in Tampa. Whenever we are led to pray the Lord's Prayer, we are asked to pray in our native language. The sound of prayer, the same prayer, offered with so many voices in so many languages is like a refreshing wind.
Prayer connects us to God. The Lord's Prayer, when we pray together, is connecting United Methodists here in Tampa and around the world.