18 Jul

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” So says Cyril Northcote Parkinson, British historian and writer. Just this morning a ten minute hearing was preceded by many minutes waiting to appear before Hizzoner. I used that time to prepare for a brief gig in open court.


My dear friend Natasha Curtis taught me to prepare, prepare, prepare. First I researched the defendant online for charges and reviewed the docket. Then I listed possible terms that might come up: pre-trial, drug trafficking, possession and suppression. Then the trusty I-pad and the US District Court, Southern District of New York glossary solved terminology questions http://www.sdnyinerpreters.org/glossary.php.


A professor from Kent University http://www.appling,kent.edu suggests to read a half hour daily in each language. “El inglés jurídico norteamericano” filled the space nicely. My mentor Rudy Heller suggested this purchase back at the ATA convention in Atlanta. Varó, Pardillos and Miguélez provide a brilliant study of English used in law and courts. I kill two birds with one stone because the text is bilingual: “…Un delito (crime/offense) es la comisión de un acto prohibido por la ley (the commission of an act enjoined by law…”* Purchase a copy from Freek Lankhof of Intrans Book Service www.intransbooks.com. Well worth the price and each time a new word appears.

Want to laugh? I still think I’m invisible in the courtroom. Before the hearing while interpreting with family members a cousin said “Yeah, I saw you with that book and I know you help people.” Caught in the act.

Please let me know how you spend your down time while waiting to take the stage.

Good words to you.

*Alcaraz Varó, Enrique, Miguel Ángel Campos Pardillos, and Cynthia Miguélez. El ingles jurídico norteamericano. Barcelona: Editorial Ariel, 2001 ISBN 84-344-3212-9.

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