Interpreter always greeted?
Thread poster: xxxwonita
xxxwonita
China
Local time: 23:01
Sep 28, 2007

In my experience as an interpreter for German-Chinese, the Chinese party, especially government delegations from China, greet only their German counterparts; they do not greet me, an interpreter hired by the Germans. Is this practice normal?

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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:01
Dutch to English
+ ...
I've always been formally introduced and greeted Sep 28, 2007

I would find it strange if I was not.

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:01
English to Dutch
+ ...
Good manners - cultural difference? Sep 28, 2007

I think in Western culture it's just good manners to greet everyone present.
Maybe this is different in Chinese culture?


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alexandratheres  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:01
English to Norwegian
+ ...
I would have found it strange not to be formally introduced Sep 28, 2007

During all of my assignments as an interpreter I have always been greeted by everybody who have taken part in the conversation, and I have had the impression that that is the custom in my language pair Norwegian - English.

I know that the customs can be different from country to country, so maybe that can be the reason why they do not greet you.


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Julia Glasmann
Germany
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Sometimes yes - sometimes no Sep 28, 2007

I almost exclusively work with Germans and Americans, so I can not say to what extent differences in the Chinese culture might play a role here.

It has, however, happened to me, that I was not greeted, but fortunately that is an exception rather than a rule. As a tendency I would say, that Germans don't always greet, whilst the Americans I worked with were always extremely nice and polite.

Of course I think not greeting someone is rude, but I am afraid that we simply have to get over it.


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:01
English to Polish
+ ...
Protocol? Sep 28, 2007

I am unable to research this now, but perhaps this has something to do with diplomatic protocol.

In my experience (although I have not interpreted for government as such - only for government agencies with members of government attending), I have always been introduced and (mostly) thanked at the end of the meeting.

Pawel Skalinski


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Beatriz Galiano
Argentina
Local time: 00:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Cultural Differences Sep 28, 2007

In the western-christian world there are more chances of been greeted, I would not mind though, it's only business.

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John Farebrother  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
French to English
+ ...
varies Sep 28, 2007

It varies for me, I think depending largely on the experience of the parties in working with interpreters. However I always make a point of introducing myself to the relevant parties if someone else doesn't do it, to establish a rapport and get a grip on the way they speak. This also makes it easier later if I need to ask people to change position, speak louder etc.

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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 05:01
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Carefull about that... Sep 28, 2007

because what is normal for one side, might not be normal for another.

Many things are regulated by international diplomatic protocol, but many are culture dependent.
My experience from interpreting between British and Polish is that both parties of the meeting will first make a round of shake hands - the visiting party being first in the room, the host entering it and exchanging handshakes first with the most senior guest, then with all the rest of the party, his/her party following it. Sometimes they introduce each other themselves, sometimes they are introduced by somebody. Generally it would be considered impolite to avoid the hand shake with someone in the room, that's generally accepted culture on both sides. When, however, the interpreter from the first second interprets the greetings and introductions, it's rather uncommon to shake hand or greet anybody - you just interpret and do not exchange greetings. When it comes to official greetings (in the speeches), interpreters are never mentioned at all.

There are relatively few cultural differences between Polish and British and they are mostly generally known, but things are very different when you interpret between much more distant cultures. I remember many difficult situations from the times when I used to interpret between Korean and Polish (I did it for several years, I don't do it anymore) - all because greetings and introductions are so deeply rooted in culture. Just by the way of example: traditionally in Poland men kiss women hand when greeting. More then once my Korean clients felt almost insulted that the interpreter (hand kissed!) got so much attention! When, if fact, it was just a polite greeting...

HTH,
Magda


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ntext  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:01
German to English
+ ...
Not unheard of Sep 28, 2007

I work as an interpreter in the US, and I've been on assignments where I wasn't necessarily greeted by everybody. I wouldn't say it's normal but it's not unheard of either. I don't see it as a big deal.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:01
Flemish to English
+ ...
Japanese. Sep 28, 2007

Most Chinese I know shake hands. Japanese on the other hand...?

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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:01
English to Polish
+ ...
My 2 cents Sep 28, 2007

I never did interpreting at the governmental level, rather at "working" level, and I was accustomed to being generally introduced to everybody present, who would acknowledge my presence with polite nods, with or without personal greetings (depending on the general situation).
Presentation of the interpreter was done within the preliminary "scene setting" done by the host / moderator.
Something like "Ladies and gentlemen, we are happy to have representatives of ... among us, and the lady assisting us from the booth is ... , who will also be available during workgroup sessions."
As I usually prepared conference materials as well, my most valuable customers put me in direct touch with some conference participants before the conference if necessary, so those participants would greet me whenever they had a chance.


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Kurt Porter  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:01
Russian to English
+ ...
Introduced Sep 29, 2007

I've interpreted in the U.S., Germany, Russia, pretty much all over Europe. It's varied. I don't care, either way. I used to, then I realized that some clients will introduce me, others won't ,and I just let it go. During a break, those that want to know who I am and more about me will find me. Then I introduce myself. This is in both the commercial and the governmental worlds.

[Edited at 2007-09-29 11:51]


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 08:31
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Introduced and greeted Sep 30, 2007

I have worked with government organisations (including Ministry of External Affairs) in India and many other business organisations and NGOs. I was always introduced and greeted.

Most of the visitors were from France or other francophone coutries.

But I have never worked with Chinese so maybe they have different protocol.


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lingomania
Local time: 13:01
Italian to English
Protocol Oct 4, 2007

IF there is an international protocol to adopt, then it MUST be adopted by all countries NO matter what their "manners" and "customs" are....it is SO logical.

Robert


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