Tricky Interpretation of Family Court Phrases
1. Survivors Benefit- Subsidio de contencion familiar (in the U.S. payed by Social Security Administration)
2. She put the boy to bed- Ella acostó al niño/Ella lo llevo al niño a la cama
3. He didn't want to stay with the child- No quería quedarse con el niño/cuidar al niño
4. The address for her- La dirección de ella
5. The patient must be walking well before discharge- El-la paciente debe poder caminar bien antes de ser dado-dada de alta/ El-la paciente debe estar caminando mucho antes de ser dado-dada de alta
6. He wanted Josie to keep the baby- El quería que Yosi tuviera el bebe (a pregnancy issue) /El queria que Yosi se quedara con el bebe (a custody issue)
7. Parenting classes- Clases para padres/clases de crianza
8. CPR- Reanimación Cardiopulmonar
9. Empowerment Classes:
Being comfortable with our interpreting is a great accomplishment which is obtained from hard work and many years of study and experience. But sometimes we can become too comfortable. What if suddenly we hear a phrase and we cannot interpret it immediately? This may happen because we're tired, but it can also occur because we interpret a certain phrase exclusively in one direction (always English to Spanish, for example.) This happened to me recently. Hundreds of times I've interpreted from English to Spanish "Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" Most witnesses respond simply "Yes," or "Yes, I swear," or something similar. One late afternoon I interpreted the oath to a witness. The witness responded: "Si, lo juro ante Dios." Suddenly, I was stumped. I had actually just used those exact words in Spanish, yet for a few seconds, I was baffled. I was so used to reciting the entire oath from English to Spanish that when I actually had to interpret a phrase of the oath from Spanish to English I had to stop, think, and finally produce the closest meaning I could find: "Yes, I swear on the holy Bible." This is why we should always memorize our mostly used phrases but ALSO break them down and practice interpreting them in BOTH directions.
Teibolera: table dancer
Shitroquero: dry-wall installer
Tlapaleria: hardware store
Cortar la yarda: to mow the lawn
El seguro: social security card/number
La social: the probation officer/the social worker
Embolado: bored (Argentina)
"Interpreting is interpreting"...
Is it really
all the same?
As an interpreter I provided services in many places and had the opportunity to work and chat with dozens of spoken-language professionals. Some loved court interpreting's criminal matters, others preferred working with medical material or in hospitals, and some would never change conference interpreting for any other type of interpreting no matter how daring or prestigious. My first interpreting work was in the medical field. I loved it. I had grown up reading about diseases, studying anatomy, and watching Quincy; I loved everything from physiology to forensics... in any language. One day in court, a colleague was preparing for a lecture on medical interpreting. "Why? I asked. You're a court interpreter and don't even like medical work." "Interpreting is interpreting," the court interpreter responded. I was quiet, thinking: Hmm...The code of ethics extends to all types of interpreters. Canons such as confidentiality and accuracy must be upheld, as well as professional demeanor. “I guess you’re right,” I responded.
Now that I have somewhat more experience i think that i would respond differently to that comment. Obviously, there are differences in terminology and procedure, but the spirit of the interpretation is not exactly the same in the medical and court interpreting fields. The difference is ]much more than Medical interpreters allowing themselves to act as cultural brokers or convey a need for clarification if they perceive the message isn't understood; misunderstandings in the medical field could affect a patients' health and well-being. When interpreting in court, it is the LEP's duty to request a lower register if he or she does not understand. The LEP, in court, must be diligent, aware, and ensure his or her own understanding. I was aware of these similarities and distinctions but hadn't really questioned if they were merely distinctions in the practice of the professions, while the essence of the remained one, the same. The mind set in court and medical interpreting are not the same and the interpreter must prepare before a session to ensure he or she does not violate the code of ethics of each profession. Working and training strictly in one field and expecting to organically merge or expand into another with minimal training would be unwise. Observation and shadowing are helpful in understanding the role of the interpreter in each field of work, as well as learning to recognize stress and secondary trauma sometimes suffered by interpreters involved in cases of abuse and violence.
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