LDS Church spokesman Dale Jones announced Monday that general conference speakers “whose primary language is not English now have the choice to deliver their talks in their native tongue.” If speakers elect to do so, English subtitles will be shown in the Conference Center with live English interpretation provided for all English-language broadcasts.
Exactly who will speak in this October’s conference is still a mystery, but at least 12 general authorities and general auxiliary officers speak languages other than English as their first language. Here are 12 languages you might hear in this or future general conferences.
Besides English, Spanish is the most commonly spoken first language among the general authorities and general officers of the Church. Thirteen members of the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy speak Spanish, though no current members of other quorums of general auxiliary presidencies do.
Though less common, Portuguese is the second-most common foreign language spoken among potential General Conference speakers. If Elder Ulisses Soares (from Brazil), Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis (Brazil), Elder Claudio R. M. Costa (Brazil), Elder Carlos A. Godoy (Brazil), Elder José A. Teixeira (Portugal) or Elder Jairo Mazzagardi (Brazil) speak in October, they may choose to do so in Portuguese.
Perhaps the most anticipated address will be from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, whose first language is German. If this General Conference follows tradition, President Uchtdorf may speak as many as four times during October’s general conference (including the General Women’s Meeting) and he will have the option to speak in either English or German. Elder Jörg Klebingat (Germany) and Elder Erich W. Kopischke (Germany) may also choose to deliver addresses in German.
Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Elder Koichi Aoyagi of the Second were both born in Japan and, if they are assigned to speak in general conference, may do so in Japanese.
Elder Yoon Hwan Choi of the First Quorum of the Seventy was born in Seoul, Republic of Korea. He spoke in a recent general conference and so is unlikely to speak in October, but if he does, he may deliver his address in Korean.
Elder Edward Dube of the First Quorum of the Seventy also spoke in a recent general conference, but in the future he will have the option to speak his native language — likely Shona, the native language of Zimbabwe — in future general conference addresses.
Elder Joseph W. Sitati who, along with Elder Dube, is one of two black Africans among the general authorities, may choose to deliver general conference addresses in his native tongue. This is likely Swahili, the commonly spoken native language of Kenya.
Elder Michael John U. Teh spoke in last April’s conference, but in the future may choose to speak in his native language. This is likely Cebuano, the commonly spoken dialect in the region of the Philippines where he grew up.
Elder Per G. Malm of the Second Quorum of the Seventy is from Jönköping, Sweden, and may give his addresses Swedish.
Bishop Gérald Caussé, who is from Bordeaux, France, may be assigned to speak and will have the option to do so in French.
Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong of the First Quorum of the Seventy was born in Hong Kong and may choose to give an address in either English or Cantonese. As a newly called member of the quorum, he is likely to be assigned to speak in October’s conference.
Elder Christoffel Golden of the First Quorum of the Seventy hails from South Africa and speaks both English and Afrikaans.