When it comes to defining professionalism I'm a bit old school; to me, it is a two-way street. I mean that the true determinant of a professional is neither being paid or the rate of the pay itself - ideally that merely reflects success in the market place - but the degree of accountability given by the profession. That may well sound like a somewhat meaningless truism but when applied to the current state of court interpreting in the United States, at least based on my own observations and experiences in Nevada and California, I'm not so sure we can collectively truly claim that we own that gold standard. What guarantee can we really offer an objectively observing layperson that we truly do a good job as qualified and professional state … [Read more...] about In favor of recording court interpreter performance
http://vimeo.com/66943923 For the latest, check here. … [Read more...] about What is happening to the court interpreter profession in California?
For quite a while now, I am seeing Samsung advertisements aired here in Reno - and I trust elsewhere, too - hawking some phone, purportedly of the smart type. It points out that even the included pen is so smart that it has its own brain! Unfortunately however its makers are less so gifted, considering the curious errors displayed fairly prominently, starting at the 42nd second of this ad: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN9LCARJyfw] Did you see that? Here is the screen shot: … [Read more...] about Annoying spelling errors in Samsung TV ads aired in the US
It's not so much unusual for neologisms that are adopted from another language to have a very concrete meaning, which is far more specific than the word as used in the original language. A more or less random example is the term factoring as used in business Dutch, with that very particular meaning explained in the Wikipedia article. Yet in English that term can also be used in reference to an algebraic operation. I just came upon an interesting and quite visual example in a much more common word: sombrero, the word for "hat" which in Spanish is just as its English equivalent quite generic. … [Read more...] about An interesting illustration of semantic specificity and cultural dominance
During an appeal hearing for a non-English-speaker who had been convicted, sentenced and incarcerated for many years, I served as Court Interpreter. In the course of the appeal proceeding, both the Prosecutor and Judge referred to the translated transcript of statements made during interrogation by police as irrefutable evidence that the petitioner had confessed to the crime. The appellant consistently and vehemently denied that he had ever made such a confession and that the statement attributed to him in the English transcript was "a lie." Being keenly aware of the potential for error existing in translated transcripts, particularly when both functions are performed by a single individual without benefit of review by another having … [Read more...] about The Devil is in the Details
Transcription to translation & beyond Imagine you are an attorney, let's say practicing criminal law. It doesn't matter here whether you are counsel for the defense or the prosecution. You are working on a criminal case where the defendant faces serious consequences in the event of a conviction. Let's also assume that the statements made by a witness during police investigation are crucial for the outcome of the case. Last but not least, to complete our trial scenario: unlike everyone else present in the courtroom, the witness does not speak English very well, so an accredited court interpreter will assist with the testimony. That key witness is now on the stand during trial and it is your turn to question earlier statements, … [Read more...] about Courting Disaster: The Perils of Imprecision