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Thread poster: Mila Bilenka
3rd person singular versus 1st person singular
Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 13:16
English to Russian
+ ...
A bit late, but here is my permission Apr 13, 2010

macripiper wrote:

Hey colleagues! I am a sign language interpreter, from Brazil, and my doctoral thesis is about this topic: 3rd person singular versus 1st person singular, so...I would like to ask your permission to reproduce your comments in this forum (with nicknames), translated into Brazilian Portuguese. Your comments will reinforce the idea that this is not only a dilema of sign language interpreters, but from ALL interpreters, it doesn`t matter if their work languages are vocal (spoken) ou signed.
Please, anyone who wants to give authorization for that mail me in private.
Thank you very much!

Hi, Cristina

It might be a good idea to contact every person who posted to this forum individually, as many might simply not have seen your post.

There's also a similar thread in the forums, called something like "How to make doctors talk in second person" - not these precise words, but something to this effect. I cannot find it now, but I know it's there.

Or you can start a new thread, tell colleagues about your study, and ask them to tell you stories about stubborn doctors refusing to talk to the patient, as opposed to talking about the patient ("So, how is he feeling today?") I'm sure a lot of people would like to contribute, and I'm one of them!

Good luck to you!

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Cedomir Pusica  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:16
Member (2009)
English to Serbian
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We translate what they say Apr 13, 2010

I find it irritating when people tell me: "Translate... blah blah blah..." It is just rude and I really hate it. This happens with the ordinary people.

How I react? Well, I address the other listener with: "He/she said/claims..." which to me has a slight dose of judgement (like - this LITTLE man over here says...)

When you think of the effects - interpreters are given personality if they speak in the third person. However, for me this is just too difficult to do. In addition to having to memorize long sentences or interpret in real time, I refuse to reword the speaker.

People asked me a few times why I speak in the first person and I told them it was easier for me and that I identified with the speaker which they accepted.

I grant the rights to the person who asked for it to use my post - if she believes there is some wisdom in it - in their doctoral thesis.


[Edited at 2010-04-13 19:03 GMT]

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Still thinking about person-reference in interpreting May 11, 2010

Thanks, I'll contact them individually, you're right.
And the idea to open a new forum is very very interesting.

Best wishes from Brazil (rainy and cold in the Southern...believe me!)!


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Adriana Johnston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:16
English to Spanish
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It isn't easy speaking in first person! May 27, 2010

Hi, Alexandra,

Yes, I think for many Doctors, the interpreter's role is unknown and could be confusing because they are not used to having a third pary in the room. I think is hard interpreting in the first person specially in setting like physical therapy sessions since both the provider and the patient don't stay in the same spot throughout the encounter, so you can't really have the eye to eye contact.

I find that both the provider and an lep look at the interpreter instead of at each other, even after you have explain to them your role, when in reality the interpreter should be invisible(literally).

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Local time: 22:16
English to Latvian
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Reminds me of funny situations Sep 24, 2010

Mila Bilenka wrote:
What happens when both parties are “ordinary” people in the process of negotiations, and when you start your first phrase by saying “I”, they look at you bewildered and say “YOU?!”

I've had people screaming at me in a business setting, just because I used the 1st person. I wonder if they were really thinking that I was conducting the negotiations and speaking on my own behalf. But then, I was hired by just one of parties. So they were probably thinking that I was indeed involved in all of this, even though I explained my role to them before the meeting. To make things even more confusing, the person who hired me, had told me explicitely that I shouldn't forget who is paying my fee. I was speechless. The whole situation was so absurd!!! I had the feeling that I had failed even though I had done my best. Thankfully, I now have the luxury to only work for people who have a clue about interpreting. So, I can perfectly understand Mila's situation and reasoning.

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Local time: 22:16
English to Latvian
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An idea? Sep 24, 2010

Alexandra Goldburt wrote:

But doctors are a completely different story. It is very typical for a doctor to walk into an exam room and start asking: "Did he suffer a work accident? Where does he have pain? Are his symptoms getting better, worse, or staying the same?"

I do understand that liaison interpreting is very much a different story than simultaneous, for one. So I can hardly picture how to act in a such situation. What would happen if you'd say "Did he suffer a work accident?" in the target language? Chances are, you'll get the answer "Tell him, I fell off the stairs". Then you'd put the answer into English without reformulating what was said, and the doctor would perhaps realize the whole situation. It could work without explaining or not. Like I said, I have next to none experience in liaison, so maybe this is a stupid idea.

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