Monday, 7 April 2014

Simultaneous and Consecutive Interpreting II

In the same way that a person has their own lawyers, they could have their own interpreters/linguists to defend the possibility that their discourse imply more or fewer things than those that seem to be implied, so that the interpreters could actually have more allowance and function than what they currently have in the courts.

We could also introduce a human rights watch function in the interpreters’ ethical code, so that those can stop violence from happening whenever the chance arises, or at least try.

The situation of the interpreter is a rich situation in terms of possibilities and is definitely a very critical one.

We guess none of us would like to be in our last minutes, wish for telling something very important to people, and get that misinterpreted, say the location of our belongings or our will regarding our corpses.

Interpreters, therefore, are equivalent to life saviors: Just like the medical doctors, they make all difference on earth and the way they perform their professional functions may ruin or build all.

It is absurd to conceive a modern world that does not praise interpreters and translators to highest degree.

It is also absurd to conceive modernity without all luxury and comfort being given to these professionals.

Even more absurd is treating any of them as an inferior employee, of lower importance than operators from call centers, for instance.

Translators and interpreters would have to enjoy much better treatment, in professional terms, than call center operators, that is, full time and fixed employment, with rights to sick leave, leave of absence, superannuation, and everything else, just for starters.

These professions are not only neglected: They are outrageously disrespected.

Trivially, companies that demand that telephonic interpreters have no surrounding sound whilst answering a call should be providing the device/headset that cancels surrounding sound for free to those interpreters, as a minimum thing. 

Nobody can charge this level of duty from a casual employee who may not get a call  from that specific company for an entire useful day, and sometimes even for an entire week.

They should also provide them with all the telephonic equipment, so that they choose brand, model, and everything else (in order to best satisfy their demands).

Modern times demand modern thinking, so that this telephonic equipment should be at least a satellite telephonic equipment, mobile. This way, the interpreter can be reached anywhere (we should also have the best sound quality as possible with this sort of equipment).

That all will finally allow telephonic interpreters to enjoy the normal prerogatives of a casual employee, an on-call one: They can live their lives and take their calls at any hour of the day, and anywhere they may be, with no problems.

On-site interpreters would have to be given the equipment that is recommended by those who teach interpreting as a minimum thing: A boot, handset with microphone and sound transmission, and full connection to the needed parties. 

In case they need to attend court, or a similar environment, say a police station, and help the accused communicate, they have to be perfectly instructed by the governmental psychologists that belong to the organization that judges in order to act as expected (of course, this only in case the party paying for their services is the government). 

They need to know, for instance, if it is necessary that the client trust them. 

They probably need to know something about each side of the story and where they stand.

In a case about accusations on terrorism, for instance, there might be a need for the truth to be revealed, need that may easily overcome that of complying with the ethical code.

In such a case, agreements are signed, documents are created, the interpreter keeps copies of those in order to be ethically excused, and they are then instructed by the psychologist on what to do for that session to be the most effective as possible.

In a case in which the person is an alien and is being accused of drug smuggling by the border police, there might also be an interest of, for instance, unveiling the entire chain of manufacture and distribution of the drug.

Perhaps there are quite a few cases that could be considered to be cases of exception in what regards interpretation. 

Cases of exception in interpretation would then be those where there is an interest, of an entire nation, that the accused collaborate to highest degree. 

The presence and aid of medical doctors and psychiatrists could be a legal necessity in this sort of scenario. Perhaps even a researcher who works with human manipulation would be a necessity here so that the latest, what is not yet settled, can be tried.

The interpreter could then have ear plugs, for instance, and receive their commands during the session, if necessary.

In a few places of the world, such as Australia and Brazil, where the authorities for law and order violate human rights and the national laws with frequency when dealing with its citizens and legal visitors, we might need to protect the interpreters against the possibility of those having to watch and/or participate in sessions of violation. 

In this case, joint work with human rights organizations should be the best solution.

We could demand, through laws, that the human rights organizations, as a whole, be always represented in any formal/official session of questioning of individuals in both the medical and governmental sectors of the countries we take to be special countries

We could also demand that they be allowed to interfere with the actions of the linguists in real time, so that parts of the speech of the person be omitted, for instance, if it is obvious that those parts work against them and it is possible to say that they are saying those for obviously ignoring the cultural rules of the other Country.

Their presence (of the human rights organizations) could actually bring a wealth of benefits to all involved.

We once faced a situation that we thought was really odd (in terms of professional interpreting) in Australia: A Brazilian man was reporting to have had his (rented) property physically invaded by a group of people and to have felt threatened to the point of believing that they could kill him.

The Australian cop said that, according the Australian laws, he could not react unless the weapon the other party carried effectively touched him.

We have performed some research and found out that the laws of Australia have been amended in the year of 2000 (NSW) and 1997 (SA), for instance, to include a clause that allows for individuals to defend their own lives through what would normally be considered crime (see and 

The problem is that in SA, for instance, they say basically that the reaction has to be proportional to the action

We studied Security with ISTA, which must be one of the best institutes Australia has got in terms of teaching of the arts of the security guards. 

They definitely teach us that the reaction has to be proportional to the action or otherwise we are proceeding in an illegal manner, so that if the aggressor attacks us with a nail, for instance, we can only respond with another, or something along these lines.

What happens then is that the Australian cops can actually use their own reasoning and adapt, perhaps based on what they have learned from teachers like those from ISTA. 

We do not recall where this particular cop was from, but let's assume, for the sake of the argument, that he was from SA.

When the Brazilian man reported invasion of his property and threat to his life, the cop then asked for details. 

It then became clear that the Brazilian had used a weapon that was much more powerful than the weapon that the other party would be carrying. 

To make it all worse, the other party had not moved their weapon, this according to the own Brazilian, but he had swung his quite a lot.

The cop then felt supported to utter that that was not a case for self-defense and the Brazilian was then found violating the laws of Australia.

Self-defense, however, in cases like his, does entitle the person to kill the other (legal allowance) in Brazil (see 

In fact, invasion of property also does (see

Both countries are democratic and capitalist, and both sign for human rights, so that a (reasonable) person could easily infer that the laws that address this sort of situation are the same.

Notice that, in Brazil, the man could have killed to protect his property (if he said no to their entrance and they entered even so, then that would have been enough to get him legal allowance), but, in Australia, invasion of property is not really regarded as a crime (

The term Australia uses to legally designate invasion of property is trespass and people are frequently forgiven in Australia when they are accused of trespassing. 

Situations like this one are absolutely critical. 

We all know that a person in jail is more likely to commit suicide if they think the arrest is unfair, for instance.

Interpreters should, to the least, have ethical allowance to call embassies in this sort of situation (or to at least demand that a diplomat of the Country of the accused be present during the questioning). 

Diplomats usually speak the language of the Country and can then explain all that. Diplomats will also have more power and influence in the Country so that they will be able to defend the rights of the individual to best that one can in this sort of situation.

There is a blurred area in terms of procedures when the person is not yet a citizen of the Country where they live. 

Brazilian laws, for instance, state that Brazilian citizens should be protected by their constitution somehow also overseas.

The number of things that really matter and are not discussed or changed in what regards the professions of translator and interpreter is then extraordinary.

The ethical organs are really doing nothing for these professions if we consider their status so far. 

Even the language they use to refer to these professions, as we point out in our online course with Udemy,, is not consistent and disagrees with that presented in the courses that award people the titles of Translator and/or Interpreter. 

Just for starters, translator and interpreter are distinct professions and, therefore, should have distinct ethical codes and distinct ethical organs. 

To finalize this post, and we will have to really control ourselves in order to do that, since what is not missing is what to write about inside of this theme, we should prefer consecutive to simultaneous interpreting in what comes to courts for obvious reasons. 

As a class, we should try to convince the government to have boots included in their architectural planning when they are putting together a court, and to have modern computers with real-time Internet access,  along with headsets (reception and transmission of sound), always available inside of those . 

The more resources we offer our interpreters, the more chances we all have to have a small rate of mistake.

It is always advisable to invest in the professional and to provide them with comfort, luxury, and facilities that be compatible with the amount of resources and effort they had to put into acquiring or keeping their profession. 

Even if a particular group of professionals of a certain class did not put the expected amount of resources and effort into the task of acquiring and keeping their profession, we cannot neglect the group of professionals that actually did things the way they should when dealing with an entire professional class, therefore the argument this person only asked to be an interpreter, never had any course in the area, and got it has to be forgotten. 

If doubts arise, then we must remind those who raised them that we have academics that never did an undergraduate course employed in our most important universities as professors, for instance. 

We also have politicians that have never studied politics, or human rights, or law, or sociology, or local problems, and almost all of them have not studied not even one of those, becoming presidents and prime ministers.

Actually, we get even queens and kings of this type.

That does not make our society treat those with less respect than they would treat a leader who has actually done courses in all those areas, so that we cannot really talk about this sort of thing when trying to discredit the discourse of people like us

Please help the SPTIA help our professional class by doing one of its courses:

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