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Education: Interpretation, Translation and Parent/Guardian Inclusion

Many families want what’s best for their children, which includes a quality education. However, what happens when your child is in one of many schools where the primary language is a language you do not know well?  Or if you are deaf or hard of hearing?

The American Translators Association Code of Ethics states that interpreters and translators are “to convey meaning between people and cultures faithfully, accurately, and impartially (1).” This should be applied everywhere an interpreter and/or translator is needed. In November 2016, the United States Department of Education updated their English Learner Toolkit. Chapter 10 of that toolkit stresses the importance of having competent interpreters and translators for “limited english proficient” (LEP) parents (2). Local school officials need to purposely ensure that families understand information regarding their children’s education.They, “must provide accurate information about any service, program or activity that was also provided to a non-LEP (2).”

This can be applied to deaf and hard of hearing parents/guardians of hearing children.  Jenny L. Singleton and Matthew D. Tittle states in “A Guide for Professionals Serving Hearing Children with Deaf Parents” that, “service providers should be aware of the necessity to take responsibility for making their services accessible without burdening the client, deaf or hearing, with the full responsibility for reducing communication barriers (3).” For example, a school learns that a student may need special education services. However, this student’s parents/guardians are deaf or hard of hearing. The school must understand and be willing to assist with the family’s needs. According to Singleton and Tittle, the parents/guardians of the child would not only need to collaborate with the school to create an Individualized Education Plan but also consult with social, medical and legal services. This would require an ASL interpreter who understands confidentiality and the families’ need to support the child.

Mandated interpretation and translation promotes compliance with ensuring that schools properly service parents/guardians who have language or hearing barriers.  Schools must take initiative to identify the families that need such assistance while also finding trained interpreters and translators who are skilled in “specialized terms or concepts (2)” and ensure confidentiality.

 

 

  1. American Translators Association. “American Translators Association Code of Ethics and Professional Practice.” (Oct 2010) https://www.atanet.org/governance/code_of_ethics.php

  1. Department of Education United States of America. “Chapter 10 Tools and Resources for Ensuring Meaning Communication with Limited English Proficient Parents.” (Nov 2016) https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oela/english-learner-toolkit/chap10.pdf

  2. Singleton, Jenny L. and Matthew D. Tittle. “Technical Report #6 A Guide for Professional Serving Hearing Children with Deaf Parents.” (2001) http://clas.uiuc.edu/techreport/tech6.html

Honing Skills in Changing Times

When it comes to the world of interpretation and translation, skill does not stop at knowing more than one language. It is understanding that “it is a decision-making process involving a judgement regarding every single word translated, and the best way to translate it (1).” This means not only applying critical thinking but also understanding the evolution of language and culture.

In “The Translator’s Handbook”, author Morry Sofer describes an incident that occurred when former United States President James (Jimmy) Carter, Jr. visited Poland. President Carter attempted to tell his audience, “I love you”, however, his interpreter translated it to, “I lust after you.” This caused the audience burst into loud laughter. The translator had not been to his homeland in the past 20 years and, as the author explains it, during that “time some basic Polish expressions had changed (1).” If the interpreter had observed the transformation of the Polish language, the mishaps would have been avoided. For one to become a successful interpreter and/or translator one must understand that language can evolve.

To this point, in 1971, Georgi Lozanov wrote in “Suggestology and Outlines of Suggestopedy” that “the present-day rapid development of science and technology, as well as the continuous growth of cultural, economic, and political relations between nations, have confronted humanity with exceptional difficulties in the assimilation of useful and necessary information (2).” This is true even in 2017. Industries are rapidly growing and changing, therefore, interpreters and translators are challenged to stay up to speed with such changes. Although the challenge can be great, these interpreters and translators play a vital role in ensuring understanding in multiple parties within an ever changing world.

Interpreters and translators never stop learning.  They must constantly develop their skill by understanding the changes that can occur over time with technology and especially expressions in languages. They must know that  interpretation and translation is more than the act of replacing words (1) but a skill that requires an understanding of changes in the languages being translated.

  1. Sofer, Morry. The Translator’s Handbook 7th rev.ed. (2009)

  2. Robinson, Douglas. Becoming a Translator. (1997)

 

Written: Kou Nyan

Healthcare: Interpretation and Translation

Interpretation and translation are pathways to a wealth of knowledge critical to those who are receiving such services. This is especially true in healthcare, where protecting and saving the lives of patients is central to the field. A trained interpreter in health care saves money, time but most importantly, lives.

In Found in Translation by Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche we are reminded that not all words translate between languages. For example, Kelly and Zetzsche wrote about the 71 million dollar word, “intoxicado”.

In 1980 a young man named Willie Ramirez was admitted to a Florida hospital. His family did not get to speak to a professional interpreter but a bilingual hospital employee. His family told the employee that they believed their relative was, “intoxicado”.

Without context, the authors explain, this word is difficult to render because it does not have an exact equivalent in English. The family believed he had food poisoning, however, the word was not translated in that way. Ramirez was diagnosed with a drug overdose although later it was discovered he had an intracerebral hemorrhage. He received a $71 million settlement for the mistake(1).

Annals of Emergency Medicine 57, no. 3 (March 2011) revealed a 2010 study showing that professional interpreters and translators increased efficiency in emergency rooms. Their work helped decrease patients’ stay and helped hospitals avoid the additional cost of ordering expensive diagnostic exams

(1a). Professional interpreters and translators assist healthcare providers with properly diagnosing patients with limited English proficiency which also leads to more satisfaction from the patients

(2). The Center for Immigration Studies reported that in 2015, 64.7 million residents in the United States spoke a language other than English at home. About forty percent said they spoke “English less than very well”

(3). This growing number shows that it is critical to have professional interpreters and translators in the healthcare field to avoid possible life-threatening mistakes. Professional interpreters and translators also allow patients to know their life is in the good hands of people that deeply care about them.

 

(1) Kelly, Nataly and Jost Zetzche. Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transform World. (2012)
(1a) Bagchi, Ann D., PhD; Stacy Dale, MPA; Natalya Verbitsky-Savitz, PhD; Sky Andrecheck, MS; Kathleen Zavotsky, MS, RN; Robert Eisenstein, MD. “Examining Effectiveness of Medical Interpreters in Emergency Departments for Spanish-Speaking Patients With Limited English Proficiency: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial” (2011). Retrieved from Found in Translation.

Written by: Kou Nyan

The Relevant Interpreter

As technology becomes more advanced and the world learns to depend more on electronics than on human skill how do interpreters stay relevant?  I read an article recently that stated that the United States has spent millions of dollars on technological advances in the interpreting field because they hope that it will produce long term savings. So, how do we (interpreters/translators) stay on the cutting edge of those investments in order to keep our livelihoods?

I believe there are some key behaviors and decisions that you must make as an interpreter to avoid being squeezed out of your business.

  1. SPECIALIZE!!! I was in a meeting recently where a gentleman shared how he helped his wife with her interpreting business. He further described how she spoke a rare language and specialized in microbiology and other sciences.  He was astonished at what I was making per hour because he said she made $300-500 per hour.  Because her language is so rare and her specialty is so defined she was able to travel the world and get paid incredibly well to interpret.  Furthermore, she interpreted legal matters because she obtained her legal certification. She has become the go-to person for that language and specialty internationally.
  2. Register with local, national and international firms. Everyone should know that you are out there. Nowadays we have an incredible opportunity to tap into several different firms because of technology.  You can literally google interpreting firms in your area and then register with them.  Google phone interpreting and video conferencing to offer those services from your home at any time.  When things get slow and you don’t have any in-person appointments you can work from home using your languages and continuing to develop your experience.   We, Be Moore Interpreting, recently interviewed a gentleman who works as an interpreter from a third world country for many international organizations.  He converted a bedroom in his house into an office and has professional headphones and a microphone to use during assignments.  He applied to be one of our translators.  It was fascinating to learn from him.
  3. Provide exceptional service. Believe it or not this has to be said.  One of the reasons Be Moore Interpreting is successful is because we are highly client focused.  We regularly hear from clients that they could not continue to work with other firms because their interpreters lacked skill, professionalism and respect.  We pride ourselves on focusing strictly on the client we want both English speaker and limited English speakers to understand that they matter.  We interpret side conversations, explain the interpreting process and are always asking for feedback as to how we can grow.  At Be Moore, we believe that we only get one try.  So, we cannot stress this enough.  YOU MUST DO YOUR BEST!!!  You want that customer to choose you as their next interpreter.  You want them to refer and request you all the time.  Just like NIKE doesn’t want you to wear a pair of Adidas make sure that your client doesn’t use another interpreter.

Lastly, no amount of technology could ever replace human skill.  A good interpreter will interpret context, content, emotion, behavior, and so much more.   Make sure that you are an interpreter that provides direct language connection.  And, make sure that you ARE the kind of interpreter that “creatively bridges communication” and leaves the client feeling like you were never there.  We have a unique opportunity to transform the world, so let’s do it with pride!

Benefits & Challenges of Freelance Work

Given the global reach of businesses in the 21st century, translators and interpreters are employed in almost every conceivable business sector, from banking to museums to health care to high-tech. Being bilingual does not make you capable of being an interpreter or translator, just as having two hands does not make you a concert pianist. There’s a lot of hard work and study that goes into the perfect translation.

Most translators and interpreters work on a freelance basis. The beauty of being a freelancer is you work with people, not for them. Freelance translators can work with the flexibility of making their schedule and being able to choose the assignments they would like to take.

However, self-employment is not suitable for everyone, and you have to expect a long road with multiple obstacles until you reach stability, happiness, and a sense of achievement. Freelancing requires a lot of discipline. There is no guarantee you will always have enough work to keep the money flowing. As an independent contractor, with all the benefits of being a freelancer, your money is assured.

As a freelance Translator or Interpreter, there are typically two ways of working your assignments: translation agencies and direct clients. The firm handles the project management end of things, interacts directly with the client. In the uncertain world of freelancing, translation firms provide some measure of security.

Freelancers usually juggle multiple clients at a time; and when not doing client work, they may be marketing themselves and networking, trying to find new work. The freelance advantage with the benefit of having a contract as a translator: you get to work on your current assignments on a per diem basis, with one company at a time for an extended and specified period (the “contract”).

You have to think outside the box. Freelance interpreters and translators working with language service companies have the opportunity to work with all kinds of businesses and organizations from all over the world. Business is now being conducted in more diverse languages than previously possible thanks to independent contractors.

Freelancers can have a full, flexible workload, can choose their projects, and may contract with more than one company at a time. Language companies can offer more language availability and higher levels of service, therefore benefiting their clients. Clients can communicate with their customers or patients in their native tongues, providing essential care and services where language may have previously been a barrier.

Interpreters help Immigrants and Refugees

Interpreters and translators help to successfully integrate immigrants into city and community life. To function, this process requires education and a supporting framework of community outreach to teach the immigrants and refugees about city services and civic responsibilities.

Successful integration depends on the communication and outreach with the established community or organization which helps to input cultural understanding and build support. The aim of these cultural aspects is to ensure that all immigrants and refugees work together in building the community, identifying the value of diversity and the significance of integration initiatives.

These outreach programs ranges from various services. For example, interpreting, translations, training and seminars from professional organizations and specialists which aid immigrants and refugees in acclimating into the new culture. Be Moore Interpreting has an unparalleled wealth of knowledge and experience to support, educate and assist immigrants and refugees into their new culture. In creatively bridging communication, Be Moore Interpreting enables effective communication between people who otherwise couldn’t communicate.

There are many benefits of using an interpreter. A non-English speaker indicates that an interpreter is needed, when the person cannot communicate fluently in English. Using a professional interpreter or translator has the following benefits.

• Quality is ensured
• It’s culturally compulsory
• There’s consistency
• Specialization is obtained
• Helps connect to success
• Helps in business expansion

Interpreters and translators can also help individuals by providing high quality interpreting and translation services to both English speakers and non-English speakers all around the world. Their services should be made comprehensive for immigrants or refugees to understand and to feel like their voice is being heard in the new land.

Interpreting and translating organizations such as Be Moore Interpreting provides a top notch services and translates documents in any language in any desired format.

  • Are you an immigrant?
  • Are you a refugee?
  • Do you need help to integrate into your new culture or community?
  • Do you need help with interpreting or translating any document?

Be Moore Interpreting has helped a lot and offers the most professional services to help you integrate into your new culture.

Ethical Principles of Interpretation

A code of professional conduct is an important factor to any profession, which is responsible for maintaining standards for the individuals within profession. It entrusts accountability, responsibility and trust to the individuals within that professional circle.

These conducts or principles are to be adhered to strictly and should serve as a guideline while in professional practice.

So therefore, in order for interpretation to be considered an effective medium of communication, it should be polished to follow certain standard ethical principles.

Each principle is considered a strategy that enables effective communication while interpretation is in progress.

An effective interpretation should:

  1. Relate to the target audience or listener
  2. Fully explain information about the topic
  3. Spark interest in the mind of the listener. about the topic being discussed.

Further Notes:

  1. An interpretation that does not tally or relate with the topic being discussed will be sterile to the visitor. It is important to find out what your audience are interested in and common questions that they might ask.
  2. The sole purpose of interpretation is to spark interest in the mind of your listener. He/she will be so eager to listen to you. Catchy words, paragraphs and headings that capture the attention and help in communication flow is recommended.
  3. A good interpretation aims at re-casting or re-presenting a whole idea, rather than a part or bit of it. A good interpretation should flow with easy grammatical constructions and sentences should link to each other meaningfully.

In the voice of Freeman Tildan, “Interpreting Our Heritage” 1957, the following are the fundamentals of Interpretation:

  • Interpretation is an art, which combines many arts, whether the materials presented are scientific, historical or architectural
  • Interpretation addressed to children (up to age of twelve) should not be a dilution of the presentation to adults, but should follow a fundamentally different approach. To be at its best it will require a separate program.

By: Laura Martinez, Pixel Writers

Becoming An Interpreter; Facts You Must Know

Before venturing into this career line, you should know the meaning of Interpretation. Most people confuse translation with Interpretation, thus misaligning their distinct meanings.

To the ordinary person, the only disparity between interpretation and translation lies only in the medium: an interpreter interprets orally, while a translator translates written text.

However, the differences lie in the type of training & skills which are needed for each job. The major characteristic of a good translator is the ability to write well & to express him/herself clearly in the target language. The main skill an average translator has is the ability to understand the language and the culture of the ‘source country’ and transform it into the language of the target country.

While on the other hand, an interpreter must be able to translate in both ways (as against that of the translator), without using any dictionary.

 

What is Interpretation?

Interpretation is simply the process where spoken language is transferred/ changed into different languages.

 

Getting Started

A professional interpreter interprets between two languages in a unique manner, thus ensuring that effective communication takes place between the speakers of the two languages.

An interpreter has the excellent command of the spoken/signed languages in which he/she interprets.  It is his/her sole responsibility to reflect accurately, the information, cultural context and intention of the speaker.  While he/she interprets spoken or signed language, he may also support the interpreting by producing a written translation.

Another quality of an interpreter is impartiality.  While he/she ensures effective communication and clarifies language/cultural misunderstandings where appropriate, he does not act as an advocate for clients.  An interpreter treats information exchanged during an interpreted session as confidential. It is required of an Interpreter to adhere to the common code of conduct, as stated by the organization with which he/she is registered/affiliated to.

 

Qualities of a good interpreter

As a good interpreter, you should possess some of the under listed skills:

  • General knowledge of the document/idea to be interpreted.
  • Intimate familiarity with both languages and cultures.
  • Extensive use of vocabulary in both languages (source and target)
  • Ability to express thoughts concisely in both languages (source and target)

 

The Difference Between An Interpreter & A Translator?

Interpreters and translators execute similar tasks but in totally different ways.  While an interpreter transforms spoken material from one language (source language) into an entirely different language (target language), a translator simply converts written material in the same manner (by using translators, etc.).

Interpreting occurs in different places, such as discussions, conferences, meetings, etc. and can take the form of either simultaneous (interpreting while the speaker delivers a speech) or consecutive (listening to portions of a speech at a time, then interpreting the segments while the original speaker remains silent).

Translation is mainly done in written format (not orally), such as translating books, newspapers, blogs, etc.

Written by: Laura Martinez
July 28, 2016