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Working with an Interpreter 101

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The Chinese Language 101


Resources for how to benefit from custom linguistic services...

I am an attorney looking at my client's deposition transcript.  My client was driving a car and there was contact with a pedestrian. According to the deposition transcript, after the crash, the driver then got out of the vehicle and said to the pedestrian "I'm sorry".  But my client told me she never apologized and never admitted fault.  How could this be?  Did the deposition interpreter misinterpret? 


Source to Target has handled a number of cases involving the issue of fault in association with the word "Sorry".

Chinese and English often do not have direct translations.  One Chinese term may well have multiple English translations.  The translaltion chosen depends on the speaker's intent, the context, the way it was said.  Even without these variations, there could still be more than one translation for the same term.

In this case, the Chinese client said in Chinese "Bu Hao Yi Si", which was interpreted by another Chinese interpreter as "Sorry".  Source to Target pointed out that close English equivalence of "Bu Hao Yi Si" are

 • I am sorry / my apologies
 • excuse me
 • pardon me / I get your pardon
 • I am embarrassed / I feel embarrassed
 • your kindness is too much

The driver had gotten out of the car, and said "Bu Hao Yi Si".  There was no context, and it was not certain to what degree of "Bu Hao Yi Si" she meant and said.  The interpretation of "I'm sorry" could be challenged.

I want to develop a questionnaire for the Chinese community.  Should the questions be asked in a different way than for an English speaking audience?

There is already an interpreter at a deposition.  Is there a need to hire a check interpreter (to monitor the accuracy) of the main interpreter?

How can I judge the quality of the interpretation if I don't understand the language?

I am preparing for trial in a case involving foreign language documents. What can a linguistic expert witness do for me?

I work with interpreters and translators but never asked them their background. What type of training or credentials do translators and interpreters generally have?

For more information on how you can benefit from Source to Target's "Custom Linguistic Services", please contact us.

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