We interpreters have to know when to intervene or even when Mr. Administrative Law Judge wants us to begin. Just today counsel warned “Mrs. López speaks perfect English and I believe it would be better if she does so and when she doesn’t understand, you can step in.”
I set my ego aside and waited patiently. Without fail there came a time when Mrs. López struggled to understand a convoluted string of clauses and clumsy adjectives. The Interpreter Guy to the rescue. I repeated the entire mass of words and she reduced the question to five simple words. Then, she answered the question.
Afterward I thanked Mr. Law Judge. He allowed as he doesn’t understand why lawyers sometimes insist that people speak in a second language. To him the LEP spoke freely and without hesitation in her native tongue.
What did I learn? I’d better take notes throughout as I may need to interpret at any second. Don’t force myself into a situation of power, but to wait politely for the cue. Legible scribble and nerves of steel prevent me from a fall on the interpreter tightrope.
Good words to you today.