Monday, March 22, 2010

interpreting tips: emotion

The ATA Chronicle had a good article in the December issue on the pitfalls of long consecutive mode in the courtroom by Janis Palma. Some useful reminders:

"You have to modulate your voice so it conveys sentiment, not drama. For example, when someone cries or laughs, you are not expected to laugh or cry, but you should modulate your voice accordingly such that the nonverbal elements of the source- language message are not completely lost to the target language listener. If someone is crying and you are using a cheerful voice to interpret what that person is saying, the target language listener cannot possibly get to remorse a source language speaker may be trying to convey, or the sense of loss and tragedy, just from the words alone. Your performance has to carry the emotional aspect across languages as well.

Also, part of your responsibility as an interpreter is to bring all that feeling across from the source language to the target language without laying it on too thick. When you do, the attention shifts from the witness and what the witness has to say, to you and how you are putting on a show for the jury and everyone else in the courtroom."

moral? not NO intonation or inflection, but also not too much.