15 Jul

Each interpreter learns fundamental ethics to follow and then is encouraged to develop her own. Again, we teeter on our own tightrope.

Adriana Fonseca, Lead Interpreter at the Franklin County Municipal Court, reminds us that transparency is the key. We convey register, syntax, grammar and intonations so the attorney and others in the courtroom can hear and then remove the language barrier. The interpreter can calmly stay in her role, not guess and inquire when something isn’t heard or understood (accuracy). The rope quivers less.

When the interpreter’s inner voice takes command as in “I’d really like to let Mr. Samakab know that he has other options rather than what his lawyer advised him”, this is no mere pratfall but a full-fledged crash. Solution? Use those twenty-one plus neurological functions (equivalent to a surgeon’s brain activity) to attend to Mr. Samakab’s word choice instead of what you might believe he needs to hear. You gain his trust as well as others present. And your own. Climb back up and try again.

Good words to you.


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