October 9th, 2007



So I'm going to start this entry with the age-old, "I'm not sure if this is appropriate, so if it's not, feel free to delete it." However, it is related to languages, but more towards the process of interpreting and not so much interpreting from one language to another. Alright, enough procrastinating on what I want to say... ;)

As my language skills improve, I get more and more interested in the idea of interpreting and translating. Yet while I have plenty of questions about how you get into these sorts of fields and how it works, I have [possibly prematurely] agreed to a free-lance interpreting in a court room next Monday.

I've never had any formal interpreting experience--nothing more than translating between doctor and patient, and to be honest, a court room setting is a little more intimidating to me. So I have a few questions about the common practices of interpreters, especially in this setting.

What are suggestions for preparing for this, other than learning/reviewing phrases and words commonly used in this setting? I will not know the dialect of the person until I get to the courtroom, which could cause problems if it's one I am vastly unfamiliar with--what are the best ways to address this problem, let's say, if I need to ask him to repeat something? What about ways to address the officials (judge, etc.) to say that I am having difficulty translating a certain idea, or if he is having difficulty understanding? (As I read the "canons" for interpreters, and I am aware that explaining is, definitively not, my job.) I'm also told to translate everything to the client, whether or not it address him or not--so, when I'm sworn in, will I be repeating all of this in the target language for him, as well?

I hope this is appropriate. If not, I understand. And any other tips about interpreting/translating, in general, would be amazing. It's something that I am honestly interested in and, hey, you have to start somewhere.
  • necroad

Creating a language

Heh, hope this one's allowed.

Has anyone dabbled with creating their own languages? What languages did you use for a base? Did you use the latin alphabet, another existing one or did you create an entirely new writing system? What sort of punctuation did you apply? One of my friends and I are on a venture to make one. Obviously it's not practical, but it's rather fun. We're currently using the Latin alphabet but borrowing different things from other languages (whilst incorporating some things of our own) -- Japanese quotation marks for example, as well as their "style" of counting. We've created a wiki site for us to organise things with.

A bit of a silly post, but nonetheless...
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  • mavisol

expressions of respect?

In the opening paragraph of an official letter (actually, a complaint from a company's manager to a public official), written in Russian, the writer says, to put it literally, "The X company expresses to you its respect and, acting as an agent..." blah blah blah. What would be a good English phrase for "expressing respect"?

Gender selection in gendered languages by homosexual native speakers

Hi folks, this is my first post here. I posed this question on my friends page and it was suggested that this would be a great group to join. (And I'm sure I know a few of you from school, too - lick a banana slug! ;-) Here we go...

A friend of mine was recently abroad visiting his family in an Arab country. My friend is gay. He has a cousin who is also gay. They speak Arabic together. Arabic is a strongly gendered language. In speaking, he noted that the cousin often used feminine verb conjugations and adjective declensions when referring to other gay men. The cousin confirmed that this is common practice among the gay communities in Arabic speaking countries.

Question for the linguaphiles: does anybody know if this is typical among strongly gendered languages?

Another question that pops into my mind (and might be interesting to cross-post to a transgender community...) -- in Israel, to achieve gender neutrality, words often appear in the masculine followed by a slash and the feminine ending. For example, דרושים/ות.

Does, and to what degree, this present a problem for transgendered persons not fitting into a binary gender system?
  • muskry

(no subject)

Is there such a thing or how would one create a word for the equivalent of a terrarium/aquarium concept with ice or snow? Like a container that has an arctic theme; not a snow globe. Yes, poorly worded question, but I'm hoping somebody can understand the way my medicated mind phrases sentences. Sorry and thank you in advance for effort.