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who is responsible?

February 17, 2010

A friend of mine has decided to that she wants to do some work in the community as an interpreter. Her skills in her second language are apparently pretty good and she has taken the next step by enrolling in a course so that she can be certified to translate.

While we were discussing the course, the step up in skills required and the challenges that came with that (over 50% apparently do not receive certification) she made a comment that damn near whacked me over the head:

I am really feeling the level of responsibility that will come with being a translator. You are responsible for accurately communicating what one person is saying to another person and you are often doing that in pretty charged situations.

I wonder if we all consciously felt the same level of responsibility when communicating the thoughts that are in our own heads if we might have a lot less misunderstanding and conflict in the world?

I know that often times when I get into charged situations that the words just fall out and I fail to correctly communicate what I am thinking and feeling.  I think my friend would say that is the time when we all should behave like translators for our own minds – listen to the thoughts as they form in our heads, carefully select the words we will speak so as to accurately convey what we want to say, speak them and then listen. Listen as if we were going to have to translate the response into a different language.

I think she is on to something.

We went on to discuss the particular challenges that arise in trying to translate the spatial aspects of the language into English and it got me thinking. How do you put into words the relationships in space that are part and parcel of Australian Sign Language? The speed of the movement and the force used to bring the hands together to emphasise a point? More on that next time…

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sara F permalink
    February 25, 2010 12:42 am

    Interesting… sorry to use a cliche` but the phrase that comes to mind after reading this is ‘food for thought.’

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