I understand, up to a point (Decoding a Euro-diplomat takes more than a dictionary)
Thread poster: Aurora Humarán
Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 5, 2004

I understand, up to a point

Sep 2nd 2004
From The Economist print edition

Decoding a Euro-diplomat takes more than a dictionary

One of the (many many many many many) reasons why I will NEVER EVER be an interpreter.


IF THERE is one thing interpreters working for the European Union dread, it is attempts at humour. It is not just that jokes are hard to translate; because of the time needed for interpretation, they can prompt laughter at the wrong moment. A speaker once began with an anecdote, and then mourned a dead colleague—to be met by a gale of giggles, as listeners got his joke.

The rest of the article...


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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Diplospeak Sep 6, 2004


One of the (many many many many many) reasons why I will NEVER EVER be an interpreter.

I hear what you say.

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:54
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Up to a point, I agree with the article Sep 6, 2004

But really I think there are the same diplomatic phrases in every language, its just not true that there are plain-speaking diplomats somewhere outside France or Britain. Anyone to translate Finnish explanations about why Finland remains formally a non-member of NATO into plain language?
Perhaps someone could/should build a device for decoding diplomatese A into plain language A, which could be interpreted into plain language B and from that automatically into diplomatese B.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
Flemish to English
+ ...
Yes, minister Sep 6, 2004

The old BBC-comedy series "Yes, minister" is one my favorites, because it is
“A shining example of bureaucratic and diplomatic lingo”.
If you can, try to interpret the elocutions of Sir Humphrey.
It is a good exercise and you will pick up a lot of lingo

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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
with the greatest respect Sep 6, 2004

In German "Hochachtungsvoll," (with the greatest respect) is used as a neutral greeting to finish a letter to a public authority - or as an ice-cold greeting to one of your worst enemies, when you have to stay polite, nevertheless.

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Paulette Pagani  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
how jokes are handled by an interpreter in Venezuela Sep 12, 2004

This is in reference to translating jokes: A colleague of mine in Venezuela uses the following workmode: as soon as she hears that the speaker is telling a joke, she tells the audience "this is a joke, so it would be nice if you laughed at the appropriate time". Usually the work in this country is aimed at blue-collar workers and they love this interpreter a lot because of her wit and humor, so it goes down well. I wouldn't dare to do what she does, but maybe it might give you an alternative idea?...

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I understand, up to a point (Decoding a Euro-diplomat takes more than a dictionary)

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