Off topic: Interpreters' joke
Thread poster: Uldis Liepkalns

Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:00
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Apr 7, 2005

A New York judge is ready to go through the day's business and he is very rushed. The first case up involves an elderly Jewish gentleman with a long beard, payos, the works.

The judge, without asking a question, says to the clerk:
"Quick...get me a translator."

Translator shows up and the judge says: "Ask him what his name is, how old is he and where does he come from?"

The translator says: "Die judge vilt vissen, vos is dein namen, vie alt bist du, and fun vie kumst du?"

The old man smiles, looks at the judge and says in perfect English with a British accent: "Your Honour. My name is Sir Chaim Ginsbug. I shall be 82 next Thursday and I've come from England where I hold the chair of Hebrew Philosophy at
Oxford University."

The translator turns to the judge and says: "Ehr zukt, ehr is Sir Chaim Ginsburg, ehr is tzwei und achtzig yur alt, und ehr is, mit sach Yiddish philisoph, areingekummen fun Oxford."


Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:00
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
It is an easy thing to do Apr 7, 2005

Hi Uldis,
This was funny. But it is so easy to get confused. It happens to me once in awhile. First time it happened, it was when I was doing a consecutive interpretation in Albania. The English speaker decided to say a whole sentence in Albanian. Without even thinking twice, I interpreted it into English..., to the Albanian audience. Everyone began laughing, that is when I realized that I did something wrong, but I still did not realize what I did until a few seconds later. I had to laugh too and in my opinion, this is the best way to deal with this type of situation.

[Edited at 2005-04-07 11:31]


Kristine Sprula (Lielause)  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:00
English to Latvian
+ ...
:o)))) Apr 7, 2005

Once I asked my client whether I should translate the numbers in the table too.....


Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Bidirectional interference Apr 8, 2005

is what they call it. No choice in courts, but this is the reason that conferences only work one way. My worst (best? only if you're joking) was "el Presidente de los Estados Unidos Jorge Arbusto". And there I was wondering why all the jaws had dropped.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:00
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
My son used to do it... Apr 8, 2005

Our son was not entirely bilingual from birth - and before he really started speaking English independently, he used to interpret children's TV programmes quite fluently from English into Danish!

Not bad at the age of three...

At 26 he is as close as they get to bilingual, and can if required interpret from German to English or Danish. He is far better at German than I am.

And what does this linguist do for a career? He plays with magnets, computers, scanners and imaging. I gnash my teeth in envy! I can't interpret at all, though I make a decent living translating on paper.

Some people's brains are obviously built differently!


juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:00
English to Hungarian
+ ...
...of sons and translations... Apr 10, 2005

What you should know for this little story: squirrel is
"mokus(h)" in Hungarian.
My sons were standing at the window, watching the antics of a squirrel. The younger one, just beginning to speak, pointed to it, saying "mo-mo".
I said: "Mokus, say mokus."
3 yrs old brother looked at me: "Mum, we are too young to say squirrel, we can only say mo-mo."


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