The Linguist

The Linguist 54,2

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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I recently stayed with an uncle who had just presided over a court case involving a witness and defendant who were both Deaf. The BSL interpreting by three experienced linguists was clearly essential, but it had slowed the proceedings, and the court's understanding of the process seemed limited, albeit sympathetic. It was clear that better preparation would have been helpful, so I was interested to find out more about the work being done in that area, as well as the particular challenges for BSL interpreters working in courts (p.14). Also in the legal realm, we look at the pitfalls of translating from Japanese (p.16). My resolution for 2015 is to study another language. Aside from a lack of time, one of the main reasons I had not done so earlier was indecisiveness over which language to choose. I plumped for German, and have since been pouncing on any opportunity to practise my fledgling skills. Facebook has been a surprisingly rich source. Indeed, a study has found that one of the reasons users switch languages on the site is to help with language learning (p.22). Elsewhere in this issue, we look at the emergence of a comprehensive language policy at NATO (p.8); the 5,000 supplementary schools teaching language skills to children in the UK (p.18); and the complex collaboration involved in translating questionnaires into multiple languages. As a fan of Tolkien, I was also fascinated to find out more about different approaches to translating his work (p.24). Miranda Moore 4 The Linguist Vol/54 No/2 2015 NEWS & EDITORIAL CHAIR'S NOTES As I write these notes I have just returned from a three-month 'mini-sabbatical' in Brazil, a country I have visited annually with my Brazilian partner for the last 25 years, but only for relatively short holidays. My aim was both to get to know the country more as a resident and less as a tourist, and to immerse myself in Brazilian Portuguese for a longer period, rather than having to leave just when I was getting in my stride – a feeling I am sure many of you will know well. Whether you are a teacher, translator, interpreter or other language professional, there is nothing to compare with a substantial spell in one of your foreign language countries to make a step change in your language competence. It's hard to beat, but often difficult to arrange, as a very enjoyable form of CPD (continuing professional development). One of the less welcome life events I had to navigate in Portuguese was the unexpected experience of receiving medical treatment for suspected dengue fever. It was a forceful reminder, if one was needed, that even advanced knowledge of a language is not enough in a situation where specialist vocabulary is used, particularly when medical staff are not used to dealing with a non-native speaker and making allowances. This underscored the need to train interpreters with the relevant specialist understanding of terminology and culture – issues that are at the heart of the work on interpreting in the health sector that the Institute is involved in with Middlesex University and other partners (see page 7). Sadly, I also came across the usual array of misleading or simply incorrect translations, including some appalling errors in professionally designed 'English' public signs, for example at São Paulo's domestic airport. This also served as a reminder of the importance not only of professional translation but also of proof-reading by a competent linguist at every stage of the production of signage, brochures and so on. I was repeatedly reminded of the importance for tourist economies of speaking another language and getting that language right in common situations where customer service is of the essence, such as in restaurants and hotels. Having said that, I was rather irritated when the receptionist at one São Paulo restaurant was intent, having detected a slight foreign accent, on speaking English – another frustrating situation we linguists come across all too often. Now that I have returned to the UK, I am quickly getting back into familiar Institute routines. I am pleased that the Chartered Linguist Admissions Committee has been appointed and is now active, and that it includes a representative from the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI). This provides an excellent springboard from which to increase our number of Chartered Linguists. The review of our Code of Professional Conduct has also started and the relevant Disciplinary Committees appointed. It was pleasing to see such a good response to the application process from Members. The newly-elected Council members were announced at the Institute's AGM on 21 March and are listed on our website (see I have no doubt that they will bring significant new views and experiences to Council as we continue to push forward our strategic plans at what is an exciting time for the Institute. Keith Moffitt EDITOR'S LETTER Apply to become a CIOL member at > Membership Subscribe at > Journal

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