End users vs. users (terminology distinction)
Thread poster: R. DePalma

R. DePalma
United States
Local time: 05:32
Japanese to English
+ ...
May 24, 2013

My colleague read something that defines the two terms as below (paraphrased).


"Users of interpreting services are people who benefit from said services. For example, in a courtroom situation, the judge, jury, stenographer, prosecutor, etc. are users.

End users of interpreting services are the people who need those services to communicate with each other. Examples include a doctor and a patient, a law enforcement officer and a suspect, and a conference speaker and the people attending the conference."


The first two examples of end users are very clear, but neither of us really understands the distinction between the courtroom and conference scenarios. In both situations, everybody (even the people who are not actively involved in the dialogue) needs the interpreter in order to communicate and thereby accomplish their goals.

Looking at the definition of "people who need" vs. "people who benefit," isn't getting something you need a benefit?

I'd really appreciate it if anyone could clarify what the difference is. Thanks in advance!


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Random pronouncement May 24, 2013

The description seems pretty arbitrary to me. Plucked from the author's Weltanschauung seemingly at random. I wouldn't worry about it.

 

R. DePalma
United States
Local time: 05:32
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, but... May 24, 2013

Thanks, neilmac. Those were my thoughts too, but she needs to know the difference for a meeting, so I'd appreciate any other views.

 

Gül Kaya  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:32
Turkish to English
+ ...
Conference v courtroom May 24, 2013

This sounds like hair-splitting on a mega scale to me. I would never think to differentiate between user and end user and suspect that very few people would know, want to know. If pushed however, and going by the definitions and examples you have given, I believe that the conference situation should be placed along with the first group of examples you give: in my eyes, there is no difference between a courtroom and conference situation. Going by the same parameters, everyone in the conference room is benefiting from the interpreter's presence, not necessarily on a one-to-one basis. This distinction between benefit and need is also very unclear in the examples given. A jury in a courtroom both needs and benefits from an interpreter in exactly the same way as a conference attendee.

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:32
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Hair-splitting May 24, 2013

I agree that this is splitting hairs.

Is it that jurors just need the interpreter to be able to get on with the job in hand (deciding on whether or not the accused is guilty) whereas for the accused, they can benefit because the interpreter will put their case to the jury and help them avoid going to jail?


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:32
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
The question can be critical, though May 24, 2013

Maybe it IS hair-splitting, but I recall a recent EU seminar on the implementation of the new T&I Directive. Namely, a police representative (as client/service user) was underscoring the need for interpreters NOT to be identified with the police, or other authorities, during such assignments, for obvious reasons.

During the break I asked the speaker, "who's my client then, the one who pays (the State) or the beneficiary?" Pity the question didn't go on record, because there was no clear answer.

Technically, the job should remain the same. But the fact that the difference matters seems obvious.


 

Gül Kaya  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:32
Turkish to English
+ ...
Not advocacy May 24, 2013





Is it that jurors just need the interpreter to be able to get on with the job in hand (deciding on whether or not the accused is guilty) whereas for the accused, they can benefit because the interpreter will put their case to the jury and help them avoid going to jail?


I can't believe that there would be such a differentiation. The interpreter is not there to help the accused "avoid going to jail". That would be advocacy and certainly not allowed.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:32
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
beneficiaries May 24, 2013

Gül Kaya wrote:





Is it that jurors just need the interpreter to be able to get on with the job in hand (deciding on whether or not the accused is guilty) whereas for the accused, they can benefit because the interpreter will put their case to the jury and help them avoid going to jail?


I can't believe that there would be such a differentiation. The interpreter is not there to help the accused "avoid going to jail". That would be advocacy and certainly not allowed.


I'm not a legal translator, I perhaps didn't express myself clearly enough or couch my thoughts in enough legal jargon. So I'll try to spell out what I mean.

Without an interpreter, the accused would not be able to give his version of events or answer questions from the prosecution. This would put him at a disadvantage. I didn't say that the interpreter would lay it on thick or bias the facts, or back them up with legal references in the manner of a barrister. The interpreter is simply there to translate what the accused is saying into a language understood by the jurors. Simply fulfilling this role will help the accused in his bid to avoid jail.

Even if the verdict goes against him, he has still benefitted in that the interpreter will have translated everything everyone else has said into his language, thus helping him understand what was going on in the courtroom and why he was found guilty. He will understand whether or not he can appeal and can take an informed decision on appealing.

The interpreter is not there to defend the accused, just to make things work more intelligibly for him and in that sense the accused is definitely benefitting, whatever the outcome. He is drawing greater benefit from the service than anyone else present. And the outcome is more likely to be positive for him if he has an interpreter, however neutral the interpreter.

Thank you Parrot, for your input. If the accused perceives the interpreter as working for the state/police/legal system he will obviously feel that the interpreter is going to be biassed against him. The interpreter has to remain neutral despite the fact that it's the state that's footing the bill for the interpreter, and despite her own opinion of the accused.

(using him, her and them for the accused, interpreter and state respectively simply for clarity. I by no means infer that all accused are male or all interpreters are female)


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:32
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
A great deal depends on the system May 24, 2013

or at least, I'm now reflecting. (Or at least, it would seem).

Texte Style wrote:

Without an interpreter, the accused would not be able to give his version of events or answer questions from the prosecution. This would put him at a disadvantage. I didn't say that the interpreter would lay it on thick or bias the facts, or back them up with legal references in the manner of a barrister. The interpreter is simply there to translate what the accused is saying into a language understood by the jurors. Simply fulfilling this role will help the accused in his bid to avoid jail.


We're given the example of the Austrian system, where an interpreter is usually assigned an entire case (and also has to act as the translator for that case, being remunerated as per legal schedule). S/he works closely with the lawyer. In such an instance, it could be conceived that the interpreter acquires a certain bias for the lawyer's case, even presuming s/he's a free agent.

I will admit that many colleagues perceive such a scenario as ideal, in the sense that no one would be coming in from the cold, in a manner of speaking. Still, it gives food for thought as to how the system works (even if it does not perfectly split the hair).


 


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End users vs. users (terminology distinction)

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