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And here we get to my point. Languages evolve. Language contact happens. We interpret for a population that on the whole has had a good deal of exposure to English.


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Yes, the fine print in our interpreting manuals does every now and then give credence to this thought, allowing that if a litigant should use the English word first then the interpreter is not in the wrong to use it later. And I am not suggesting that interpreters be lazy in their research and use English simply because they do not know the target language equivalent.

But I am willing to submit that the use of certain English words is not actually an exception but a norm. As such, it warrants more than just a passing nod as we discuss interpreter technique and ethics. By now I am used to, and ready for, the usage of many of the terms mentioned above.

Useful Phrases to Describe People

I do have a quandary though; occasionally I will go along and use the English word, but habit and professional indoctrination motivate me toward the Spanish. The situation becomes even more challenging when the word is not clear-cut. People come to this country and they are no longer exposed only to people from their place of origin; they are also interacting with a plethora of individuals including those many other countries and from the U.

I believe that this has caused an intermingling of dialects and languages, and as interpreters we should be prepared to interpret the resulting medley. Like it or not, that is what many of our clients are speaking. How can we maintain our ethical and professional guidelines while recognizing the evolution of the languages we interpret? Plus, the words in English pronounced in Spanish are, like you say, very difficult to understand and sometimes have a mangled pronunciation, ha ha.

This avoids that problem too. Finally, I think we need more organizations to start to use proper Spanish terms. This starts with directors to secretaries, for instance in homeless shelters. I remember when working for a homeless shelter, I translated maybe 50 documents for them from English to Spanish.

Maybe It's Time to Make Friends With Spanglish - NAJIT

Before this, the Spanish-speakers were using something like la shelta shelter. I suppose this means it has to happen not just in the courts, but outside, in shelters, welfare offices, child services etc. This helps avoid problems later! Great blog!

#27 // Describing​ people in Spanish

Many times my client will pick up on this, and starts reacting to the standard term, but not always. Though I have no empirical proof, I believe that non-professional translations of newspaper articles and informative materials for public consumption are slowly being improved by various sources, such as easy to access online dictionaries and language professionals who insist on using correct terminology coupled, in court settings, with the slang or non-standard term, when necessary for comprehension.

Do you agree? What has been your experience? Ah, NJ state courts! We asked her why, and she said and I will never forget this! I had to do her emergency stay hearing, and her whole paradigm of language was nouns in Spanish, other words in English. I think the judge thought I was the most incompetent interpreter ever, because it always took me several tries to understand what she was saying. Loved this story! Tempers can get very heated.

The litigants, who often both need the interpreter, simply stand before the bench, with the interpreter between them. They are usually self-represented. One often gets the feeling that you are being hired to act as a physical buffer, not just to interpret, otherwise, a fistfight may ensue!

Changing the Terms

There is a sheriff present, but things are much more relaxed than in criminal court. Under the gun, only hearing the spoken version hurriedly said, is a supreme challenge of our abilities. So many thoughtful and interesting comments! This truly is a universal issue. I thought so when I wrote the blog but I am even more convinced now upon reading your responses. Keep up the stories and the trouble-shooting. Very useful thoughts, I totally agree! Language is a living entity and immigrants make it even livelier, they like to play with it, to make it easier in their adaption to the new country, make it their own.

Native Romanians are no exception. I am a daily observer in my work of their pragmatic way of choosing American words for this vital appropriation. They decline them, conjugate them, pronounce them using Romanian rules. And they are very positive in using them. A linguist like me could not do this without blushing, prudishly and, sometimes, foolishly. In doing this, they are funny and even ridiculous but never without a cause.

As an interpreter, I always find it useful when I see that clients know what they mean, they sure make my job easier. To have an average education, as they do, does not mean no to able to be logical or intelligent. The second time he does it at zero cost because, again, I am a button short — the spare one that I thought was in my bag has seemingly disappeared. So it looks like I will definitely be returning, either after turning out all my drawers and discovering the spare, or with a full set of new ones.

Either way, I will be getting him to sew them on because, as I told him as I stepped out of the door the first time, he does a much better job of it than I would. His reply to this? Blogger and English teacher, who writes about the experience of learning Spanish. Also works proofreading texts and translating Spanish texts into English. So thankful Spain has so many costureras where you can have things fixed.

Though I may have to admit that my favourite jeans are now unsalvageable after numerous repairs. Hi Felicity — I agree, I love the costurera tradition — certainly beats having to run round looking for the right coloured thread and my sewing skills are also terrible! Aww, what I lovely story! Reminds me that I need to get a rip in my coat repaired. Your email address will not be published. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Spanish in Real Life.

Mother would never allow it — definitely not the same dressmakers Sociologists, apparently, break down social interactions into 5 different types — the simplest being a social exchange, such as you might find in a shop. Shopping in Spain In Spain, with the exception of a few supermarkets and high-street stores, the exchange of goods or services for reward seems to have little bearing on the social interaction that unfolds. Entrepreneurship in Spain Speaking of start-ups, I have long had the sense that entrepreneurship is a growing trend in Spain , and that at least some of this has been due to the high rate of unemployment amongst young people.

So, where to go when you need to fix a button? Reply Hi Felicity — I agree, I love the costurera tradition — certainly beats having to run round looking for the right coloured thread and my sewing skills are also terrible! I hope these shopping experiences never die out. Reply Aww, what I lovely story! Here are the most popular phrases with "impatient. We've combined the most accurate English to Spanish translations, dictionary, verb conjugations, and Spanish to English translators into one very powerful search box.

Try Fluencia, the new Spanish learning program from SpanishDict. The page is Inaccurate Unclear Missing translations Missing conjugations Other. SpanishDict is the world's most popular Spanish-English dictionary, translation, and learning website. SpanishDict is devoted to improving our site based on user feedback and introducing new and innovative features that will continue to help people learn and love the Spanish language. Have a suggestion, idea, or comment?