Tag Archives: spanish


26 Aug

2015 CCIO


CCIO will host “Uniting to Strengthen the Profession: Fostering Connections, Empowering Interpreters, Celebrating the Profession”, a day of training and networking for language professionals on Saturday, September 19 in Uniontown, Ohio. Join us for legal and medical seminars with instructors in Arabic, ASL, Serbian/Croation/Bosnian and others. The preliminary agenda appears soon at http://www.ccio.org. We invite interpreters, translators, language agencies and all who support our profession. Click on the link below for more information. See you there.

CCIO Conference 2015 Flyer



27 Apr

Three simple words from a straightforward request: “What’s your address?” Ask mine and you’ll hear “611 West Maple Street, North Canton Ohio 44720.” A typical LEP amplifies a simple question into “Oh, I am living with my brothers not too far from here and I get up real early and my shift doesn’t end sometimes till four or five.” Where does this chap live? Next our friend slowly reaches for his wallet, pulls out a tattered scrap of paper with an address written in pencil, hands it to the interpreter and waits. I think to myself “Why doesn’t he know his address?” Where did I develop the notion that EVERYONE knows her address, social security and phone number? I memorized my social back in the 70’s on Miami University’s campus where — — —- was a pre-requisite along with Applied Linguistics 401.

photo address

A kind-hearted magistrate posed the same question after he recorded a not guilty plea for a non-responsive traffic offender. “Mr. Rivera, what is your address?” Mr. Rivera rambles on with “Pues apenas estamos en el departamento con mi esposa con las niñas y pronto llega mi hermano con su mujer y dos niños y …” No address, no zip code and certainly no state. Ethics require court interpreters to render everything in open court. “Well we just got the apartment with my wife and the girls and my brother will arrive soon with his two kids and…” Your Honor peers with suspicion at a long answer to a short question.

photo guatemalabags

Interpreters anticipate in order to facilitate communication, or, at least I do. The first time I expected a quick response from a Spanish speaker and encountered the scrap of paper response was at the women’s clinic registration window. “What’s your address?” inquired the lady behind the counter. A Guatemalan woman, bursting with pregnant child, fumbled through her bag, shifted her bulk in a cramped chair and emerged with an electric bill, unopened envelopes and a tattered scrap of notebook paper. No address yet but a smile for the interpreter. Ms. Receptionist-at-the-window-of-Doctor-forty-plus-patients a day casts me a disapproving look. Am I the only uncomfortable one in the room? Seconds tick by and no address yet.

I find these moments touching. Mrs. Ixcoy knew where her address was and gladly handed the information over. Mr. Rivera probably breathed easy with the notion that he would go free, continue to work and support his family here and abroad once he answered all the judge’s questions. I snap back to reality and remember my role is to interpret. Period. Honestly, though, does anyone out there ever tire of lengthy answers to simple questions? Please let me know.


25 Feb


I’m no John Ciardi, but fondly remember his sign off on NPR broadcasts: Good words to you. Here’s a few legal terms that cropped up this past week while I interpreted on the phones. I can recommend Thomas L. West III’s Spanish-English Dictionary of Law and Business as a reliable source for verification. Enjoy.


Child Support Enforcement Agency: Autoridad de Manutención de Menores

creditworthy: con capacidad de pago, solvente

Depreciation: amortización, depreciación

Domestic support obligation: responsabilidad de manutención familiar

Don’t cry over spilt milk (it’s no use): Lo hecho, hecho está; Una vez muerto el burro, la cebada al rabo.

Financial solvency, credit rating, credit standing: solvencia ecónomica

FMLA Family Medical Leave Act: Ley de Ausencia Familiar y Médica

Fringe benefit: incentivo,complemento/extra

Having weapons while under disability: posesión/portar/tenencia de armas bajo acusación formal

Health care (Esp): atención sanitaria

Intake (agency, medical facility): admisión

Intake screening: investigación de admisión

Mesh screen: redecilla

Negligence, inertia (slacker, lazy): desidia su – había empezado a afectar a los demás empleados his lax or slack attitude had begun to affect the rest of the staff; la – que lo invadió; the feeling of total apathy or not caring at all which took a hold of him; se echó con – en el sofá she flopped lethargically on the sofa

notario público: civil-law notary

notary public: funcionario certificador, certificador

Ravine: barranco

Run away from home, runaway: abandonar el hogar, escaparse de la casa

Runaway n.: fugitivo/a

Screen (window, door): tela metalíca

screening (for admission to a facility, program): investigación

Slovenly (habitually untidy or unclean; not neat in appearance; unkempt): desaliñado n. slovenliness: desaseo

Turn to, turn to drugs: inclinarse al vicio

Whereas: considerando que